The Glass Palace of Mandalay

( A Canzone )

Deep inside lies the Glass Palace
Deep in Mandalay fort is its place
Irrawaddy flows behind the Glass Palace
Crumbling royalty in a Glass Palace
Doesn’t know how little time remains
Before it must leave the Glass Palace
In an oxcart leave the Glass Palace
For exile is fated in Konbaung history
And in King Thibaw’s personal history
Nevermore shall he see the Glass Palace
And his dynasty must separate its story
From now on from his country’s story

It is a November night’s story
An ill- fated night for the palace
It is an eighteen eighty five story
It is an unfortunate battle story
Though hardly a fight took place
It is a British walkover story
It is a Burmese defeat story
The memory of meteors remains
The memory of Comet Biela’s remains
“ The night stars fell out of the sky “ history
The night Burmese royalty became history

For the Glass Palace had a glorious history
It’s gilded teak pillars are fabled in story
It’s mirrored walls reflecting history
It’s ruby- jade ceilings another history
All in all a coruscating palace
Housing the Konbaung dynasty history
The Bee Throne witness to nuptial history
Where Chief Queen’s selection took place
Whence other buildings marked their place
With glass markers.But British history
Of vandalism loot and ruin now remains
The Glass Palace reduced to ruins and remains

The place feels hollow : emptiness remains
The blank black vastness of falling is in place
The looters have gone : lootedness remains
A statue of two royals among the remains
Painted into a corner tells the story
Of dreadful isolation, of sightless remains
Of Chinthe lions, of neckless remains
Of Swan harps, pocked floors of the Palace
Ruby eyes, gold , gems gone from the Palace
The hacked, pried,dug out, scraped remains
Telling stories of a vandalised place
Personal loot the Empire can’t place

The dethroned royals were given a place
A hilltop bungalow that still remains
In Ratnagiri in India from which place
They moved to a Palace in a nearby place
Such was their exiled history
The Glass Palace , ruined , is still in place
In Mandalay , the unfortunate place
Some successors live , that’s another story
And many writers have retold their story
But Hpaan Nandaw is no longer their place
Neither Glass Palace nor Royal Palace
It’s a Museum now , the old Glass Palace.

There are legends about the Glass Palace
Of Mandalay , yes , there’s many a story
Of interest to students of history
And to this day , there still remains
An air of sadness about the place

( ASA )

4 thoughts on “The Glass Palace of Mandalay

  1. Nalini Srivastava

    What a picturesque verse.It appealed to the history lover in me and also the traveller in me.I could feel wandering in the shining alleys of the Glass Palace.

  2. amitapaul Post author

    Thank you so much , Vijay Nair. This is only the second canzone I’ve ever written. It is not an easy form to master but can be very useful in some circumstances, as I recently discovered .


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