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Persian Miniature

Персидская миниатюра

When I’ve given up
playing at hide-and-seek with sour-faced
Death, the Creator will turn me
into a Persian miniature —

With a turquoise sky
and a prince just raising
his almond eyes
to the arc of a girl’s swing,

And a bloody-speared Shah
rushing down rocky paths,
across cinnabar heights,
after a flying deer,

And roses that no eyes,
no dreams have ever seen,
and vines bending into the grass
in the sweet twilight,

And on the other side,
clean as clouds in Tibet,
a great artist’s mark:
a sign and a joy.

Some fragrant old man
of business, of the court,
will see me, love me
at once, love me hard and sharp.

His dull-turning days
will wind around me.
Wine will vanish for him,
and women, and friends.

And finally — without ecstasy,
without pain — my old dream
will be satisfied,
and everyone, everywhere will adore me.

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