The Poetry Corner

Constantinople - Yanghin Var*

By Victoria Mary Sackville-West

As the baying of wolves from afar, Borne on the wind from the Golden Horn A cry in the distance, long-drawn, "Yanghin var! yanghin var!" Suddenly waking the silent night, Suddenly breaking the sleeping calm, The long, far, wailing alarm, And the watch-tower startles a warning light. As a torch passed from hand to hand, As a beacon springing from hill to hill, The cry draws nearer though distant still, And the watch throws it on from stand to stand, And the voices rise as a tempest far, As the swell of waves on a rocky shore, Each rumbles louder than before, "Yanghin var! yanghin var!" And as the angel's unpausing feet, The angel bearing the wrath of the Lord, The angel bearing the flaming sword, The voice passes onward below in the street. Faintly it travels again from afar, And as an echo of terror past The wind from the Bosphorus bears the last Yanghin var. ... * Fire!