The Road of Make-Believe


She sits upon a rock along the stream
     That heard the whisper of her first Desire,
Washing the faded garment of her Dream,
     Which she had often carried to the Dyer—
     The Dream of her self-centred lyric fire.
And in the flowing, scarlet wounds of Twilight,
     Expiring on Aurora’s drooping wings
Beneath the secret scimitar of Night,
     She dyes again her garment, while she sings
     Of new-born love, though to self-love she clings.


He seeks the path of glory in the noon
     Of self-intoxication, dreaming still
Of power,—wondering why the sun and moon
     Are not yoked to the chariot of his will.
     His soul, a clinging vine, his mind, an ill,
He beats against the peaks of earth-bound dreams,
     Subsisting on the thistles of his heart,
But ever seeking, in the fitful gleams
     Of his own fire, self-admiration’s mart
     To mend his horn or whet his venomed dart.


They walk together in the golden vast
     Of vision-haunted, soul-alluring sands,
Beholding the illusions of the past
     Among the ruins of deserted lands:—
     Together, although neither understands
The groping purpose of the other; and yet,
     While in their hearts the gods of conflict nod,
They gloze and smile, dissembling their regret:
     Love, on the Road of Make-Believe, they prod, 
     He going to the dogs and she, to God. 

From A Chant of Mystics (James T. White & Co., 1921) by Ameen Rihani. This poem is in the public domain.