April 20, 2009 - Reading time: ~1 minute

It seems no work of Man's creative hand,
By labor wrought as wavering fancy planned;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
Eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!
Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
Where erst Athena held her rites divine;
Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
That crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;
But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
That first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;
The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
Which Man deemed old two thousand years ago.
Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
A rose-red city half as old as time.

—John William Burgon (1845),
Winner of the 1845 Newdigate Prize.

We Are Shangri-La

January 11, 2009 - Reading time: 2 minutes

We raise and raze our city
like the strangest house of

a ghost-breath mist of snow
where no snow falls

for we are
Atlantis and the town of Prester

Three weeks apart from
never, we dance and do not

We are

History has dreamed
of us. History has dreamed of

Those who know the way,
many times return.

History has
dreamed of us, building up our

just to watch it burn.

are Shangri-la.

We carry
goddess-dust upon our skin,
wherever we go,

rising with
bright feathers in the

Blessed by the wind, we
dance; we thrive.

We shimmer in
the never-was.

We are

Those who know the

Relieving saddened sleep
and fitful visions, we return.

raise our city high. We watch our
city burn.

We are the mirage for
those who dare to come and

The burning in our blood
will set us free.
We are free.

are Shangri-la.

—S.J. Tucker, 
Quartered: Songs of Palimpsest (2009)