When my parched lips upon thy princely brow,
    Placid as tropic mead, as glacier cold,
Imprinted a last farewell, where wert thou­—
    Where didst thy soul its loveliness unfold?

Can’t be that in some undiscovered sphere
    The Muses sing their souls to thine in bliss?
Can’t be that when I kiss thy forehead here
    A thousand angels echo there my kiss?

What is this mask, where is the soul, O where,
    And from these eyes, O God, where went the light?
My silence cries within me in despair,
    My reason’s sinking in this sea of Night.

Esau, I am beside thee now alone,
    I dare not weep, I dare not even breathe;
But through the stillness something hither blown
    Makes of thine amber locks a golden wreath.

Life flutters in thy hair as in mine eyes;
    Death can not choke the breeze that whispers there
A word of hope; beneath my breath will rise
    A hair with God eternity to share

The noon and eve of Life thou didst not see,
    But in its Dawn thou didst anticipate
What jealous Night would not permit to be,
    What pain and suffering never could abate.

Shall I strew on thee faded blossoms, Brother,
    Or fiery buds consumed by their own flame,
Or myrrh and myrtle from our Mountain-mother,
    Or golden rods that whispered oft thy name?

Or, at the shrine of Liberty and Love,
    Where thou didst worship ardently and die,
Shall I now join the gods come from above
    With thy sweet songs this shrine to beautify?

Ye sapling-pines of star-kissed Lebanon,
    Ye cedars laden with a wealth of years,
Send with the mist of dawn and the rising sun
    Your garlands, and your incense, and your tears.

From Myrtle and Myrrh (The Gorham Press, 1905) by Ameen Rihani. This poem is in the public domain.