Originally banned by the Koran from all expressions
of representative art so appreciated
in the Western, infidel world,
envoys turned to gifts of incredible mechanical toys
to please the jaded Sultan
(and encourage the Vizier, the Sultan´s regent,
to permit commerce between their countries).
One entire room in the museum is filled
with an infinite variety of Clocks:
baroque musical clocks.
mantel clocks run by whirling golden spheres,
clocks in ostentatious cases of precious metals
studded with jewels.
One magnificent English specimen
is set in a tower of gold and mother-of-pearl.
In the 19th century European clocks,
brought as gifts by fawning foreign ambassadors
so captivated successive Sultans
that elaborate timepieces from France and England,
Germany and elsewhere,
were commissioned by the royalty of other nations.
As I walk slowly past the glass cases,
decorative clock faces gaze mutely at me,
and I long to seize a winding key,
go from clock to clock,
winding each timepiece one after the other,
urging ancient springs and wheels
into merry tick-tocks, swaying pendulums,
wheezing organ music from moth-eaten bellows,
chimes, tinkling music box tunes!
Poor clocks, those wondrous devices
created to measure our most precious intangible,
here locked away forever
in lasting, unnatural