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"Genghis Khan Bids Farewell
to the Empress of Xanadu

You let me in to see a gentle land
and took me on a splendid guided tour,
but I could not touch seashells with your hands,
or feel in my heart what you feel in yours.
Your world was private, and I would not try
to own this empire I had never seen,
to be at ease beneath your tranquil sky,
to feel at home where I have never been.
Your oaks and unicorns and reed-filled pools
are meant for kinder men, best left alone,
enjoyed, remembered, subject to no rules,
glimpsed for a moment, not claimed as one's own.
Your world is intimate; I was allowed
brief beauty that my presence cloaked with shrouds.

copyright November 1998
Jerry Jenkins

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