“Haghia Sophia” (Saint Sophia, Constantinople)

She smiles wisely
as befits her name.
Officially subservient
to her master
She bides her time.
Burned and broken
Transformed and terrorized,
She rests unfazed and unrequited
on a hill between Topkapi and the mosque

Floating in her chains.

Twain was drawn here
blasting her filth and decay,
dismayed like the enduring fatalists of the Orient.
Her aged fertility compressed by her conquerors
He saw a crone – marked and painted like a whore.
Minarets piercing her majesty
A lover torn between passion and fear.

The urchins flit about her
unrelentingly pecking at the visitors,
curious but troubled inquisitors.
The guides blabber insistently of her life
that lies dormant
a frozen wisdom like Phoenix awaiting her birth.

If you have a moment let me tell you of a city,
forgotten by most.
Let me tell you of a glory
once bathed in Light
once admired and beguiled
the Saint which transforms those who touch her.

E. Phufas