From Andalusian Conversations: Twice Exiled
by Samuel De Lemos
Two palm trees planted
near my California house.
You remind me of al-Andalus
Of things I’ve never seen.
Instead, I’m here
In the New World,
Wishing I was back home.
Unlike in Rusafa,
We are twice exiled!
This poem is inspired by:
A palm tree stands in the middle of Rusafa
Born in the West, far from the land of palms
I said to it, “How like me you are, far away and in exile!
In long separation from family and friends
You have sprung from soil in which you are a stranger
And I, like you, am far away from home”
–Abd al-Rahman (731–788), The Palm Tree (770 CE)(transl. D. F. Ruggles, Gardens, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999))