‘GO, wash thyself in Jordan — go, wash thee and be clean!’
Nay, not for any Prophet will I plunge a toe therein!
For the banks of curious Jordan are parcelled into sites.
Commanded and embellished and patrolled by Israelites.
There rise her timeless capitals of Empires daily born.
Whose plinths are laid at midnight, and whose streets are packed at morn;
And here come hired youths and maids that feign to love or sin
In tones like rusty razor-blades to tunes like smitten tin.
And here be merry murtherings, and steeds with fiery hooves;
And furious hordes with guns and swords, and clamberings over rooves;
And horrid tumblings down from Heaven, and flights with wheels and wings;
And always one weak virgin who is chased through all these things.
And here is mock of faith and truth, for children to behold;
And every door of ancient dirt reopened to the old;
With every word that taints the speech, and show that weakens thought;
And Israel watcheth over each, and — doth not watch for nought . . .
But Pharphar — but Abana — which Hermon launcheth down —
They perish fighting desert-sands beyond Damascus-town.
But yet their pulse is of the snows — their strength is from on high.
And, if they cannot cure my woes, a leper will I die!
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:10