I have bitterly and resentfully watched the scufflings

of traders up and down the hill above the harbour.

The very Bosphorus is a cauldron. And now the scar

over my right eye resembles a grain-merchant’s scoop,

thankfully fading like a patch of stars. Behind their curtains

the Princesses are not lacking in advice and censure.


Spiked helmets arrive and nod over the white blocks.

The turrets dazzle as each elbow of sun

settles like a lizard. The scrolls are rolled up once more.

Crossed spears keep out the brazen carpet-mongers.

This time all the spirals descend to the tiled forecourt

where I receive supplicants, reports, ministers and perpetual tribute.