Humayun at Isfahan

In Shah Tahmasp's hunting lodge
far safer than at palace
or on his own throne
Joined by his host
only on hunts
Fed on venison
Bored to death
with boys he preferred to girls
(being emperor)
whose likenesses ended up
on the pleasure palace's walls
along with his: at Chehel Souten --
40 columns: 20 standing and 20 reflected
where the chroniclers missed nothing:
Not the sad expression
Not the longing for a home
made away from home
Not the shame
brought on an illustrious forbear's name
Not the hope for a son yet unborn
Not scorn for one's host
who having stayed home
instead of roaming
appeared slightly barbarian
though sprung from one's own stock...
became a state of mind
so did the empire
and finally the emperorhood
So was friendship...
Not god, not man, not killed prey
not unborn son doted on him
Isfahan like the world was refuge
and prison
And life vanished like wine-bubbles
poured by a willing boy-slave....

Previous | Next | Contents

Home | Webmaster