A Celebration 
of Women Writers

"In Ispahan" by Ethna Carbery [aka Mrs. Seumus MacManus, Anna Johnston] (1866-1902)
From: The Four Winds of Eirinn: Poems by Ethna Carbery. (Anna MacManus.), Complete Edition, Edited by Seumas MacManus. Dublin, Ireland: M. H. Gill and Son, Ltd. 1906. pp. 144-145.

Editor: Mary Mark 

[Page 144] 


One sunny day in Ispahan,
The Persian Yusuf sat and read
With eager eyes and bent white head
The World's great tale since Time began:
And turned his old lined face to me
Who gazed straight out unheedingly–
For now the passions of a man
Had grown, and Love held stronger sway
(Than aught that lived and passed away)
O'er me that day in Ispahan.

That sunny day in Ispahan,
The high-hung burning orb unrolled
O'er dreaming vales his sheet of gold,
Of red and amber raylets' span,
And each warm flow'ret dropped its head
Asleep upon its scented bed:
And through the happy hush there ran
The sudden crooning of a bird
That round the tree-tops flashed and whirred
That sunny day in Ispahan.

That sunny day in Ispahan,
I saw my slender maid go by,
Scarce lifting up the lids that lie
Black-fringed upon her cheeks so wan:
And then I mused:–"What books can hold
Such love as her heart bears untold,
Whose brow the perfumed breezes fan,
Whose curved red mouth controls my fate,
So that I grieve, so that elate
I count life Heaven in Ispahan."

[Page 145] 

That sunny day in Ispahan,
I weighed all science deep and rare,
Grand poet-songs beyond compare;
And turning to the love-worn man
I cried, "My love holds nature's grace
(Enough for me) within her face;
No tomes that ever yet were read
Shrine beauty such as that sweet head
Shows in its bendings to and fro;
I go to her; she is my star,
My shadow near; my moon afar,
To guide me through all glooms of woe."

I rose and left that wondering man,
Still vision-wrapped in Ispahan.


Editor: Mary 
Mark Ockerbloom