Washington Irving(1783-1859) is considered the first American Hispanist with a romantic vision among 19th century travelers to the Alhambra. Irving managed to lodge in the palatine Spanish city for some time while serving as the U.S. ambassador to Spain(La Alhambra y Generalife online). He is the celebrated author of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleep Hollow.


(for Washington Irving)
Truth is a thing that ever I will keep
Unto thylke day that I creep into my sepulchre…
Sir Walter Scott
Sleeping in the Alhambra,
You departed this world for that
Undeparting space on the guarded Mount,
Fortress of infolded perfection,
Origami monument to manifested lace.
Fountain of the lions, marble-footed trance,
Marble underfoot, marbled walls that dance.
Washington Irving dreamt he might return;
Rip Van Winkle saw his country unified.
Deep in the bottle, deep in the need,
Mainlined in the blinding light that waits;
Nestled with a liquid response to its crystal schemes,
Finer than any salt-stained coral shelf.
That outer bureaucratic shell, crusted resilience,
No God-centred world for release,
Man’s home in the Sultan’s towering keep.
Wake me in the hollow of a mood,
Shed like the chambers’ fractured light,
Frieze the language in decorative relief,
No death reflected in enfolding streams.

© ross 2023
Views: 1514
No critique.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Thought provoking piece – well written.

Flag Content