Behold these jewelled, merchant Ancestors,
by Siegfried Sassoon
Foregathered in some chancellery of death;
Calm, provident, discreet, they stroke their beards
And move their faces slowly in the gloom,
And barter monstrous wealth with speech subdued,
Lustreless eyes and acquiescent lids.
And oft in pauses of their conference,
They listen to the measured breath of night’s
Hushed sweep of wind aloft the swaying trees
In dimly gesturing gardens; then a voice
Climbs with clear mortal song half-sad for heaven.
A silent-footed message flits and brings
The ghostly Sultan from his glimmering halls;
A shadow at the window, turbaned, vast,
He leans; and, pondering the sweet influence
That steals around him in remembered flowers,
Hears the frail music wind along the slopes,
Put forth, and fade across the whispering sea.