Messer Marco Polo
The Sanang came over to Marco Polo.
"Give me the black tress that's over your heart."
And Marco Polo undid his coat and his undercoat and his fine sark and took out
the perfumed hair, and gave it to the Sanang.
"Let you sing a little song, Li Po," the magician said, "the way she'll be hearing
and come. I have part of her here, and let you put in the garden the atmosphere
she loved." And Li Po took his lute and plucked gently at the strings.
"The swish of your silken skirt is discontinued,"
"And the grass grows through the broken hearth stone,
And your room that was so warm and swept is cold and mouldy.
But he, the beloved of your heart, clings on,
A fallen leaf in the chink of a door,
In the chink of a closed door!"
And it was dusk in the garden, and the voice of Li Po broke, and his lute stilled,
and the old Emperor breathed his aged gentle breathing, and the Sanang said
his secret terrible formulae, and Marco Polo was tense as a hunting dog.
And suddenly at the end of the garden, in the perfumed Asian dusk, there was a
beam like moonlight, and into the soft ray of it trod little Golden Bells, with her
wee warm face, and her wee warm hands, and her hair dark as a cloud, and her
eyes pleading, pleading. . .
"Go now, Marco Polo, please go!" Her lips made the words, but no sound came
"Oh, Golden Bells, Golden Bells!" he rushed forward, but the moonlight of no
moon faded, and there was nothing, and he dropped on his knees sobbing in the
dusk by the Lake of Cranes. . .