The rider

Part of the Registan in Samarkand

This is a short blog about my trip around the world on my motorcycle. I hope you enjoy it.

While it has now become something of a cliché, the poem “The Golden Journey to Samarkand” by James Elroy Flecker (1913) is still worth quoting. The poem is unusual in that it meant to be spoken by different characters – more like a short play than a poem. Hassan and Ishak are pilgrims leaving from Baghdad with a merchant caravan on a journey across the deserts of Central Asia to Samarkand. The following short exerpt is the most well-known.

HASSAN:
Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells,
 When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,
And softly through the silence beat the bells
 Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.
ISHAK:
We travel not for trafficking alone;
 By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known
 We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.
MASTER OF THE CARAVAN:
Open the gate, O watchman of the night!
THE WATCHMAN:
Ho, travellers, I open. For what land
Leave you the dim-moon city of delight?
MERCHANTS (with a shout):
 We take the Golden Road to Samarkand!
(The Caravan passes through the gate)
 THE WATCHMAN (consoling the women):
What would ye, ladies? It was ever thus.
 Men are unwise and curiously planned.
A WOMAN:
They have their dreams, and do not think of us.
VOICES OF THE CARAVAN (in the distance singing):
 We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

The full poem can be found here on the bottom half of the page.

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4 Comments

4 thoughts on “The rider

  1. Noel Foster

    G,Dai Mite, Kev tells me you have gone for a bike ride, did’nt know till today, you lucky !!!!!!!!!!!.
    Great reading, very Milligan, very funny, could be a book in it . Waiting for the next episode, be safe.
    noel 02/09/12

  2. Pingback: Horizons Unlimited Ireland Gathering 2013 - Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

  3. anitayusof00

    Hi Brian,
    I didnt see any email address here. If u dont mind, can I hv yr email add? I hv few questions to ask. FYI, I am going to do the same route as u did for Pamir Highway part (in June 2013). Thanks.
    anitayusof00@yahoo.com

  4. anitayusof00

    will email u….thanks

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