Sunday, March 24, 2013


In the news:

March 23, 2013 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama marveled at the sights of Jordan's ancient city of Petra on Saturday as he wrapped up a four-day Middle East tour by setting aside weighty diplomatic matters and playing tourist for a day.
In full sightseeing mode, Obama flew by helicopter to Petra for a two-hour walking tour of the restored ruins of a city more than 2,000 years old some of which is carved into sandstone cliffs.

John William Burgon, Petra, A Poem: To Which a Few Short Poems are Now Added, pp. 23-24:

O passing beautiful -- in this wild spot
Temples, and tombs, and dwellings, -- all forgot!
One sea of sunlight far around them spread,
And skies of sapphire mantling overhead.
They seem no work of man's creative hand,
Where Labour wrought as wayward Fancy plann'd;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
Eternal -- silent -- beautiful -- alone!
Not virgin white -- like that old Doric shrine
Where once Athena held her rites divine:
Not saintly grey -- like many a minster fane
That crowns the hill, or sanctifies the plain:
But rosy-red, -- as if the blush of dawn
Which first beheld them were not yet withdrawn:
The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
Which men call'd old two thousand years ago!
Match me such marvel, save in Eastern clime, --
A rose-red city -- 'half as old as Time!'
And this is Petra -- this the lofty boast
Of Edom's once unconquerable coast!

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