"His Own Country"

By George Sterling

Anuu, son of the land of Keef,
Grew in knowledge and years and grief.
On him, in token of grief to be,
There fell the mantle of prophecy.

In the city of Atthar Annu dwelt,
And long at the feet of wisdom knelt,
Till the Sign was shown and the Hour was come
When his lips might be no longer dumb.

Annu, heedless of priests or kings,
Prophesied undesirable things,
Giving forth to the winds of night
Words of augury and affright.

The priesthood smiled at his futile call;
The king on his throne heard not at all;
But the people of Atthar drove him forth
To the lonely deserts of the north.—

Drove him forth from his native bound
With missile cast to the rabble's sound,
Bouncing fair from his hapless pate
Shards of various size and weight;

Crying: "Black be the curses flung
To the shameful heart and the foolish tongue!
All he has told us is lie on lie,
By the beard of the prophet Abujai!"

And the years flowed onward as of yore,
And the people of Attlhar thought no more
Of Annu, maddest of devotees,
And his undesirable prophecies;

Till a cravan came to northern gate
With sound of trumpets and lordly state,
Crying loud to the Atthar folk:
"Was it here that the prophet Annu spoke?

"Show us the temple where he knelt
And the habitation where he dwelt!
Show us the palm where he used to stand,
For lie is great in our northern land!"

The people of Atthar swiftly flew
And built a temple with much ado
On the place where Annu was begot
(Though none alive was sure of the spot.)

And there as a prophet they worshipped him
Where the knees were bent and the lamps were dim
For tfie clouds of costly incense burned
At the shrine of him whom their fathers spurned.

And the years flowed onward as of old,
Till a voice was heard on the midnight cold,
And the people of Atthar, with hearts aflame.
Stoned a new prophet in Annu's name.

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