Two Africans approach my table, pause,
And, smiling, offer me trinkets.
Hot, sudden, gusting out from Tagus’ shores
Like the spirit that fired her men to seize
Sao Jorge’s high citadel from the Moors
And launch an empire that outreached the seas;
Amassing wealth and slaves, ambition soars,
Erecting towers, domes, arches like these:
No ships now sail;
The waiter gently waves the hawkers on;
No New World wonders, treasure-freighted hold,
No slavers’ bounty, no enthralling tale,
Aggression, conquest, plunder – all are gone
But in their place a gift worth more than gold.