Touring Europe

by Maggie Dougher

Temptations , Boya Sun

Temptations, Boya Sun


The Turk is in the armory

Counting out his pay, 

The Saracen's a clever chap

That never wastes a day. 

His prayers drown out the chapel bells

(That's if they ring at all),

May his wives and daughters multiply

May his turrets never fall. 


Lepanto's sea lies peaceful 

'Neath the tanker's heavy keel 

(The minister from Istanbul recommends the eel),

Thank God, thank God - thank Allah, too - 

Those ancient wars are done. 

(Don John of Austria buried a bastard son).


Let the Serbs sing of their martyrs, 

Sad music pays for peace,

(It will mask the mothers crying 

For the milk we spilled in Greece). 


They say Roland was a hero -

They say this is where he died.

They say his horn still echoes . . . 

(Would you like your pita fried?) 


And here the relics of Holy Joan 

Were drowned by a Jacobin wave - 

Did you know the kings of St. Denis 

Were thrown in a common grave? 


Have you read the latest Dawkins - 

Such a very clever book. 

(Don't pass the Rue de St. Michel 

If you've got a Jewish look.) 


Here's a church we haven't visited 

(No, no -, it burned last year), 

So let's just order another round 

And drink a toast to fear. 


For our dust will bury altars 

And our fonts will turn to rust

(Though, granted, we may see a few 

Preserved in Public Trust).


And the dead of Tours and Malta 

Will come and watch the fun, 

As we lift our swords to a leering moon 

And salute the setting sun. 


For the Turk has passed the Rue-de-Francs,

And bought himself a knife,

The Saracen has cursed the day

He took himself a wife,

And between each day's Enlightenment, 

The nights grow thick and dark, 

Where they left Fatime's body

With her throat slit in the park.

This poem appears in Lodestone Issue 1. Get your copy here:

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