Upon his return to the Castle, the pilgrim
became melancholic, and then addicted
to the drink, and then overwhelmed by
family duties. Clearly he found life quite
unbearable. But wait, more about him later.
Now imagine skipping over the ocean across
many miles to a far-away land, to a steppe.
But first dip in waters in front of the Castle.
Right now, back then, a whole armada is
blockading the harbour. That’s the people
following Memetis, here from across the sea.
Friendly neighbours holding siege to the Castle.
That’s one of the armies assembled here
(there). The fleet belongs to the Sultan of
Beştepe, a commander and a hungry ghost.
Definitions of the latter abound, but let us
settle for “a person with control issues”.
Anyway, the Castle is now surrounded,
the trenches are filthy and deep, and the
horses are unstable (no pun intended).
It has been more than twenty years.
A poet called it “Troy’s rival”, as in
equally fantastical fiction. So that’s
at least double the trouble now, surely.
So leap in the ocean in front of Castle,
dodge the ships, past the sunshine,
skip the clouds, beat the storms – reach
the coast, up above perhaps, toward Ilium
(another myth dear to unravished brides,
and school-children on the West side).
So now: that’s a tale of East and West,
as you rightly have guessed, dear reader !
So then, in the steppe, a very barren
land, full of dull muds and no hope,
where no thing grows, close to a large
and shallow salt-lake, not close enough!
A traveller, a business-man has lost
his path. He was on his way to Xanadu,
or so he thought. Coming from a city
surrounded by water and lies, he knew
well next to naught. He was so young,
so eager. Find worthy love, hoard riches,
please his never-pleased ma and pa,
and so he journeyed to the steppe.
He lost his way though he had followed
the stars. Suddenly, a prisoner to a great
warrior-princess in a very hot place.
Before all that, there was a lot of travel.
Chiefly across endless heaps of mud,
and no grass. Nothing can be found in
the steppe of Kalmuks: not a living thing,
just miles and miles of unbroken clay.
So the prisoner captured by scouts
had time to reconsider his choices,
to beg for a little water, to ask politely
for an explanation. There came none.