Today's poem is by Betsy Sholl


In Mongolian bars now Genghis Khan beer's
the rage, and in markets Genghis Khan soap,

pillow cases, gasoline conquer new worlds —
centuries after those horsemen first rode out

behind their commander's trumpets and flags,
eyeing dust devils up ahead. Their mission:

to level towns. Or so we've been told.
But history's written by those who can write,

by townsfolk left behind, who put down in ink
what first occurred in a blur of dust and blood.

Those riders didn't take long to saddle up
and move on. What good were towns to them,

their eyes full of sand's blinding drifts dervishing
on wind shears? What was history to those

who felt sand at their heels, erasing their tracks
as they rode in the name of the great Khan:

Genghis, meaning something like ocean
for its breadth and depth, for those waves

of warriors racing on, as wind whipped
their backs, on and on, toward land's end,

toward water as far as they could see —
endless blue undrinkable water.

Copyright © 2007 Betsy Sholl All rights reserved
from Green Mountains Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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