For Al-Mu'tamid (Seville, 1040-95 Christian Era)
I must practice saying two things in saying one
The wind churns the lake as the sky falls
Leads us into an interlocking frenzy
Of burnished grey metal, tears, dance
Ibn 'Ammar will seize my girl's glance
And, in Arabic poetry, forge a full romance
Out of her burnished skin and pliable gold adornments.
What a fine day this has turned out to be
For me, her eyes would melt metal and forge
Attachments that tempt time to freeze the
Lemon trees. Hearts are thrown at such women
Like parcels of red meat, but not by me.
Passion is everlasting in the night but in the day, we pay: tears shy smiles, frowns
On your face. I undo the tender lace veil of my lioness: lithe, strong, fierce
She leaps, dark-eyed, at the over-seeing moon,
Leaps at the stars that litter this parcel of paradise, left to us, by the Byzantine Greeks.
She strokes the unscorched yellow petals of the narcissus, the fragrant jonquist.
How would it be if we were held apart?
She, then, would be, a dark-eyed deer contentedly munching among this leafage,
Me an indifferent soldier of the sultan, sweating as we patrol the Sierras.
Seeing stars that do not burn on her horizon.
So many perfumed gardens and much sweet white wine
Laced with poppy, for us tonight, my love.
Appearance mirrors fate as state of mind
Tonight, I am dishevelled, not to be trusted, lost in the flames of desire but cold,
Like a frozen peony, my love closes her petals at night
And I must pine-away the days to the next battle against the barbarian Christians
And, hope, sincerely, that the al-jinn continue to smile on me..