The Moors' last laugh
My daughters mean the world to me
To keep them safe is my whole intent
But in a time of war can fathers truly
Protect daughters? I used to be happy,
So cheerful, so easy in my cares.
But now I hate the moonlight
I am scared to be taken unawares.
We are occupied now by Christian armies.
But we keep Muhamed close to our hearts
Whilst professing to be Christians.
In the church the Inquisition watch
Us carefully. We've learnt to genuflect
At the right moments. Nobody wants to be
Burnt alive. We have to do the hardest
Work in the fields. The Christians now
Have taken our homes, our wealth is gone.
We hide our eyes and cry when
We remember how Christians, Jews
And Muslims worked together under
The old dispensation. Before the fall
Of Grenada. Fortune no longer smiles
On us. We do as we are told and work.
I have to stop myself bargaining in Arabic
At the market. Arabic is forbidden.
These savage Goths burnt all our
Books. Translations from Byzantium,
Works in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. The Jews
Of course, are persecuted too. Oppression's
Rod is hard and brutal. Even the children
Are Not spared 'What do mummy and daddy
Do on a Friday? Have they hidden any books?'
These were the very words we heard:
Now I dream that in the future the Muslims
Will return to Al-Andalus. Building mosques
In Cordova. The Alahambra relaimed as our own.
The Buddhas of Bamiyan
One of the Buddhas of Bamiyan before their willful destruction by the Taliban
Reading between the lines
Must become a habit of mind.
Out of the side of your eye,
Change your mood, gender, age, religion, race, intelligence
Then look again.
For what we perceive
Buried in our books,
Rumbles of thunder
Reverberate in the clinging air,
As we cogitate
pick up on the implications
of the Dimming of the Day:
When life seems this easy
We must give it clean away.
Soft summer breezes blow
Into ice, rain, hail, snow.:
Illness, pride, bankruptcy, sin
Originate from within.
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were hewn directly
From the sandstone cliffs
Destroyed by the Taliban
After nearly 2000 years of peaceful existence.
What an irony
For these close-minded Mullahs
In their destruction of the Buddhas
Show us again
How, when we crave and cling to impermanent things,
We suffer dukkha; while without them, our souls sing.