The moon drips honey tonight.
there are apartments and nobody wants to live in them
there are apartments and they're learning completion
this is my father's breath, it smells of burnt seaweed
and I want to steal all their matchsticks
there are women who talk of orchids and runaway brides,
gold drooping from their ears. aurum.
The moon drips honey tonight
Young lovers, this city will never love you
it takes three years to finally see the smog and forever for
it to swallow you
Alleyways: old, wise, mossy
the royal boulevard: young, naive, dry
the last dynasty was meant to end in bloodshed
the palace stopped bleeding and we don't know how
the moon drips honey tonight
there used to be honey hunters to the south, now extinct
the valley is a cluster of stars, land that turns into
a mirror with dusk and hills that whisper amnesia
there used to be salt traders to the north, now obsolete
The kingdom forgot
so the honey hunters poured down honey
from the moon,
the salt traders sprinkled salt from the stars.
Simrik April 2014
I started my blog on Saturday morning and lost the whole thing before I could publish! I am not feeling wonderful, due to a nasty cold; probably the result of jet lag catching up with me. So today’s post, having been lost once, will be short. However, losing files on a computer, and then being able to recreate is one thing; lose an item, you can usually replace it; loss of ancient monuments is something we cannot ever regain.
I was writing about Kathmandu, and mourning both the human loss and the loss of the Nepalese ancient archeological sites that are now destroyed. I came across this little gem of a poem, written by Simrik, on Hellopoetry.com
Kathmandu is an ancient city full of mystery and stories dating back many millennia. Originally known as Kantipur, the city flourished during the Malla era, and the bulk of its superb temples, buildings and other monuments date from this time.
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/nepal/kathmandu/history#ixzz3Z5KLwQxp
The recent earthquake has destroyed many of the ancient artifacts and landmarks that attracted tourists from all over the world.
We cannot control Mother Nature’s wrath and destruction, yet, ironically, we have probably destroyed far more of our heritage through war, and man’s stupidity, than any natural disaster could, barring an apocalypse.
Here I have attempted to include just a few examples of wanton destruction of our Human history by man :-
- Heinrich Schliemann discovered Troy in 1871. There were nine cities stacked on top of each other, so the inventive archaeologist found a new way to dig to the legendary city at the bottom, using dynamite, which effectively destroyed the eight others ( University of Texas)
- The Buddhas of Bamiyan,two standing Buddha statues carved into a cliff in central Afghanistan, built in 507 and 554, were Destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban.
- The Ruins of ancient Babylon at the foot of Saddam Hussein's former Summer palace, were essentially destroyed by American troops in 2003.
According to Simon Jenkins, in the Guardian, June 2007:
"Hussaini confirmed a report by John Curtis, of the British Museum, on America's conversion of Nebuchadnezzar's great city of Babylon into the hanging gardens of Halliburton. This meant a 150-hectare camp for 2,000 troops. In the process the 2,500-year-old brick pavement to the Ishtar Gate was smashed by tanks and the gate itself damaged. The archaeology-rich subsoil was bulldozed to fill sandbags, and large areas covered in compacted gravel for helipads and car parks. Babylon is being rendered archaeologically barren.
Meanwhile the courtyard of the 10th-century caravanserai of Khan al-Raba was used by the Americans for exploding captured insurgent weapons. One blast demolished the ancient roofs and felled many of the walls. The place is now a ruin."
- One of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids, 100 feet tall from the 3rd century BC at the Nohmul complex, was destroyed by a construction company while digging for crushed rock for a road they were building in May 2013
- Ten ancient tombs from the Six Dynasties (220-589) were destroyed by excavation machines and bulldozers making way for an an IKEA store in Nanjing, China in 2007
- Apamea, the ancient “Treasure City,” sits on the bank of Syria’s Orontes River. It was once home to the kings of the Seleucid Empire, and it later housed the Romans, and a population of 500,000. More than a millennium later, it rose again, as a base during the Crusades. Its magnificent paved streets, beautiful mosaics, and bright white columns carved with intricate designs were incomparable. It was one of the Middle East’s most important archaeological sites.
During the current conflict in Syria, Apamea has been damaged to such an extent that many historians doubt that it can be restored. Not only has Apamea been devastated by bombing, but the ancient city has been ransacked, and its treasures looted. The site now lies ravaged, its columns broken and its mosaics smashed.
Ozymandias by Percy Shelly
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said – 'Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half-sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive (stamped on these lifeless things)
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.'
The Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced in March that ISIS had bulldozed Nimrud.
- Historic sites damaged by ISIS
"ISIS continues to defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity," the ministry said then in a statement. "They violated the ancient city of Nimrud and bulldozed its ancient ruins."
The raising of Nimrud came a week after a video showed ISIS militants using sledgehammers to obliterate stone sculptures and other centuries-old artifacts in the Mosul Museum.
- ISIS militants destroy antiquities with sledgehammer
Mosul Museum is Iraq's second-largest museum. Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, said the museum contained large statues from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hatra as well as artifacts from the archaeological sites of the governorate of Ninevah..
I find myself shaking my head in despair and disbelief at the wanton destruction of such invaluable heritage sites. But it has been going on for millennia.
One only has to look at the Dissolution and destruction of the monasteries in England during the reformation under Henry the Eighth in the 16th century, to include many churches , abbeys and castles.
World war 1 and 2 left many casualties.
Sir Christopher Wren built Christ Church Greyfriars in London to replace a medieval church lost during the Great Fire of London in1666. The church’s exterior was decorated with traditional neoclassical gables, while the interior boasted marble floors. Beautifully decorated Corinthian columns separated the nave from the aisles. Large, arched windows filled with clear glass allowed the church to be brightly lit.
During World War II, London was a major target for German bombing. The Blitz decimated large areas of the city, and the bombing destroyed many sites including Christ Church Greyfriars. In December 1940, a firebomb hit the church, tearing through the building and igniting the interior. The resulting fire caused the vaulted roof to collapse, destroying the building and its contents.
And the list goes on….
I found two other poems with which I shall end today's blog, one written about the ruins of Ancient Rome, by Sydney Dobell , and one written in Anglo Saxon times, so it probably dates back to around 1000 AD
Ruins of Ancient Rome
Sydney Dobell (1824–1874)
The hoar unconscious walls, bisson and bare,
Like an old man deaf, blind, and gray, in whom
The years of old stand in the sun and murmur
Of childhood and the dead. From parapets
Where the sky rests, from broken niches,—each
More than Olympus, for gods dwelt in them,--
Below from senatorial haunts and seats
Imperial, where the ever-passing Fates
Wore out the stone, strange hermit-birds croaked forth
Sorrowful sounds, like watchers on the height
Crying the hours of ruin. When the clouds
Dressed every myrtle on the walls in mourning,
With calm prerogative, the eternal pile
Impassive shone with the unearthly light
Of immortality. When conquering suns
Triumphed in jubilant earth, it stood out, dark
With thoughts of ages: like some mighty captive
Upon his death-bed in a Christian land,
And lying, through the chant of psalm and creed
Unshriven and stern, with peace upon his brow,
And on his lips strange gods.
Rank weeds and grasses,
Careless and nodding, grew, and asked no leave
Where Romans trembled. Where the wreck was saddest
Sweet, pensive herbs, that had been gay elsewhere,
With conscious mien of place, rose tall and still,
And bent with duty. Like some village children
Who found a dead king on a battle-field,
And with decorous care and reverent pity
Composed the lordly ruin, and sat down
Grave without tears. At length the giant lay,
And everywhere he was begirt with years,
And everywhere the torn and mouldering Past
Hung with ivy. For Time, smit with honor
Of what he slew, cast his own mantle on him,
That none should mock the dead.
From Hermits in literature
"Ruin": An Old English Poem (an excerpt)
"Ruin" is an Anglo-Saxon or Old English poem presenting a lament over worldly ambitions and the folly of social aspirations. The poem describes a ruined city and its collapsed state, imagining what and whom filled the city in its heyday and is now gone
Wondrous the stone of these ancient walls, shattered by fate.
The districts of the city have crumbled.
The work of giants of old lies decayed.
Roofs are long tumbled down,
The lofty towers are in ruins.
Frost covers the mortar,
Tiles weathered and fallen, undermined by age.
The original builders are long in the earth's cruel grip,
a hundred generations since have passed.
These broad walls, now reddened and lichen-aged, brown and gray:
once they withstood invading kingdoms.
Now, beneath countless seasons, they have fallen.
The rampart assembled by many, crumbles still,
Though hewn together with skill of sharpening and joining,
Strengthened ingeniously with chain and cabled rib-walls.
In the city, urbane buildings, bathhouses, lofty rooftops,
a glamorous multitude gathered.
Many a mead hall filled with human revelry --
until Fate inexorably changed everything.
All the inhabitants succumbed to pestilence.
Swept away are the great warriors.
Their towers and walls are deserted,
the desolate city crumbles away.
Who could repair any of it,
for they are long dead.
So the courtyards and gates have collapsed,
and the pavilion roofs of vaulted beams crumbled.
Here where once rich men in resplendent clothes, proud, wine-flushed,
gleaming in war trappings, gazed upon their gold and silver treasure,
their gems and precious stones,
upon their wealth, and property:
the bright city of a broad kingdom.