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To Sarah Cresse by Wendy Winter Garcia

White coral reefs and palm-edged strand

Warmed by translucent tropic sea

Enshrined in legend - Ophir's land

Lies Serendip - Taprobane.

Deep in her jungles, green and cool

Where lotus buds pink petals fold

And hyacinths, a forest pool

Web, with their deadly stranglehold.

Lost, ruined city, tendril-clad

Around whose stony pillar's seen

Sinuous coiled hamadryad

Quicksilver, darting, argentine.

On a branch, lazily draped

Emerald-eyed - in his stronghold

Invisibly hangs the leopard

With shadows merging, speckled gold.

Stately leisured step now paces

The peacock, with extended fan

For his drab mate, graceful traces,

Measures regal of a pavane.

Wavering in the hear haze glimmer

High in the purpling distance rise,

To vanish, in a blue shimmer

Crystal mountains, one with the skies.

In valleys lit by starlight pale

Mist swirls, a foaming water fall

Clings like a fragile bridal veil

To the high mountains; granite wall.

Copper-skinned, the lithe, tall peasant

Tills terraced fields and singing now,

In minor key, his timeless chant,

Buffalo yoked to wooden plough.

Sultry August, harvest season,

The grain, threshed underfoot, golden

Winnowed in fans closely woven

By slim, swaying village women.

With marigolds entwined in braids

Jasmine garlands, anklets on feet,

Dance dark-eyed lissom Tamil maids

In temples filled with incense sweet.

The river in the north-east dries

Its bed, a mosaic of cracked clay,

Like smoke, the grey-enshrouded skies

Light, opalescent pearls the day.

Rain, on tin roofs loudly drumming

To drip inside the gloomy hall

Down the leaking gutters gushing.

Mould - like verdigris covers all.

From Antarctica the breakers surge

Against Cape Comorin to dash

Frenziedly, on steep beaches rage

Whipped by the monsoon fury's lash.

By moon's cold silver damascened

Light as a windblow feather glides,

With russet sails, on seas satinned,

Catamaran, on swelling tides

At Point de Galle, moss-covered, grave

It's rampart windswept and savage

A Dutch fortress, withstanding brave

Cruel times merciless ravage.