For Al-Mu'tamid (Seville, 1040-95 Christian Era)

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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..



◄ Lotus flower

An adamantine distress ►


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John Marks

Mon 9th Sep 2019 19:45

Thank you Devon. Wise words, indeed.

Devon Brock

Sun 8th Sep 2019 23:12


Once again, you've led me down the historic and poetic rabbit hole.
Thank you so much. I need to dig through this poem for a time. A little research is required. And I thank you for that as well. For now, however, I leave you with this:

Woo not the world too rashly, for behold,
Beneath the painted silk and broidering,
It is a faithless and inconstant thing.
(Listen to me, Mu'tamid growing old.)

And we- that dreamed youth's blade would never rust,
Hoped wells from the mirage, roses from the sand-
The riddle of the world shall understand
And put on wisdom with the robe of dust.

- Al-Mu'tamid


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