I saw a grand palace as sculpted by
the Genie of the Lamp, adorned with lights
so golden, as if it came from within.
I saw great achievements under the sky
of glass, soared to extraordinary heights:
a modern Tower of Babel, raised again!

I saw a celebrated elm, stood tall
at the core of the temporal greenhouse:
a sylvan beauty painfully retained.
I saw white statues, never cease to enthrall:
Venus and Cupid, the Queen and her spouse,
exalted was the monarchy who reigned!

I saw a massive throng, of all stations
of life—naive eyes on the odd displays,
worth the ransom of a rich merchant ship.
I saw for the first time, tribes from nations
beyond ours; queer were their garbs to my gaze,
strange were the sounds of tongues, splendidly mixed!

I witnessed paradigm of novelty:
the herald of a new age of science,
the verge of an amazing odyssey
of inventions—the temple’s true triumph!
Yet, it’s just a fantastical escape
of paupers into the pompous parade.

 

Kristina Ng is a poet living in Malaysia.

Featured Image: Crystal Palace from the northeast from Dickinson’s Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851


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