[For more of Michael Finch’s poetry, see his new collection: Finding Home.]
A brisk wind off the Bosphorus blows,
Off the Southern Sea, into this great city I sail.
Flags unfurled whipping in the sudden gale,
Sun bright on hilltop and dazzling dome glows.
From many of storm through our ships have sailed,
Into safe harbor flow, towers gleaming, citadels shine,
Of a blinding beauty, a whiteness rising, reaching
Arms out to the heaven soar, breath stolen away.
The great Hagia Sophia soaring in its might, the sun glinting bright
off the golden cross, again and beyond , over, all else,
comes the songs of angels and trumpets horn blow,
On wings from God, are brought tidings of Joy.
Of a city from the ancients, glory of Athens, Rome and Jerusalem,
All awoken in one, one soaring climbing great rise of faith,
All of the followers converge but for a sudden moment of time,
To the great White City, bequeathed by Constantine for our Lord.
Reverence rises above, heaven sent and singing of a pure
Faith before the fall, the endless and everlasting fall that draws around,
But not yet! For this moment, the White City preeminent, blinding in white
And monuments, of towers, of columns of a testament to God.
The world held back, the Mohammedan at bay, lost in desert vastness East
The cries of the many martyred now saved and the bells ring loud and sure….
Awoken! Constantinople, ascend from our dreams and take your place,
Take us home to the Lords embrace on this heavenly day.