Hug the Bosporus, like a dragonfly on a floating twig,
like magical scarabs of ancient Egypt,
wait in god’s hand for whatever fate is in store.
Now your enemies are tapping, once again,
upon the chitinous surface of your imperious shell.
Barely conscious of this attack, or of its predecessors,
you still retain the haughtiness
of an undefeated general: an Alexander,
baring his teeth to the Asian resistance,
knowing that amongst one’s antagonists
there must be a dim but insistent awareness
that their passion, however real, is pitiful,
that in their position is an element of folly:
Their engines of siege will rust, be-turbaned soldiers
will grow gaunt and bitter,
become skeletal, like their aspirations,
before these walls are shattered,
before this city, which as you know is eternal, will be taken.
Armies, and autumn leaves will scatter.
Another millennium will mark its passage.