My Words

Understanding the World through words

Tag: exile

The Prince And His Falcon

In a time long ago,
A prince, heir to the throne
Bored by the mundane
Escaped to distant fields
Near his palace that lay over
The hill. There he and his beloved
Falcon perched and played.

The prince read his poetry
As the falcon swayed.

Then, he would gently run his
dark fingers through
His falcon’ soft feathers and whisper,
What do you see Abu my beloved pet?

What do you see my friend, when I release
You with your vision sharp?

What do you see when you soar from your
Heights over my vast kingdom?

Do you see the children play
And hear their joyful screams?

Can you hear old couples quarrel?

Do you see young lovers kiss?

Tell me Abu, how the river bends
And the soothing delicate music
the water makes
When it falls against glistening
rocks.

Tell me my friend, about
the scents the
Orange groves give,
Does it mix with the aroma of
mint that grows wild on the
Riverbanks?

Can you describe the music,
Can you describe the songs,
Tell me about the revelry
Induced by wine and the merry
heart.

But most of all Abu,
Tell me about the poets and
How they structure their lines?

What fanciful words do they use
To describe the morning light?

Tell me about the passion they
Use to describe romantic love.

Do they recite their poems in
the dark?

I will release you now my
Beloved friend, come back
To me with good words.

Remember,
You’re my eyes and ears
While I remain here
Trapped in my gilded
Cage.

{the falcon is released,
having flown for three days
it returns to his master’s arm then
begins to speak}

I flew the heights and width
of your kingdom sire.
The heaven’s air so
tranquil and pure,
from a certain height,
this is what saw…

Foreign armies sharpening
their glistening swords conspiring

against your family’s house.
Evil men picking ripened
fruit, leaving the land barren
of its orange groves.

I heard the poets crying, their
tears mixing with the foam of your
mint-lined Rivers.

People whispering in darkness
against the plurality
of your kingdom.

I saw your people walking—
destitute,
lined up in tumultuous exile,
uncontrollable weeping and wailing
became a new song.

Then there was silence,

the voices of your people, I heard
no more.

The Falcon Speaks To His Sire part II

{the falcon is released,
having flown for three days
it returns to his master’s arm then
begins to speak}

I flew the heights and width
of your kingdom sire.
The heaven’s air so
tranquil and pure,
from a certain height,
this is what saw…

Foreign armies sharpening
their glistening swords conspiring

against your family’s house.
Evil men picking ripened
fruit, leaving the land barren
of its orange groves.

I heard the poets crying, their
tears mixing with the foam of your
mint-lined Rivers.

People whispering in darkness
against the plurality
of your kingdom.

I saw your people walking—
destitute,
lined up in tumultuous exile,
Uncontrollable weeping
became a new song.

Then there was silence,

the voices of your people, I heard
no more.

We Tremble Before Our God

On Yom Kippurim
we tremble before our God.
Appearing before Him naked
afflicting and denying ourselves.

Solemn, paying heed to our lives.
Praying for His mercy.
Relying on His kindness and
His everlasting grace.

We ask The Almighty
For forgiveness.

We search our souls.
We beat our chests.
Only He knows our fate
we are his children
Birthed in the desert
Birthed in its
heated turmoil.

Dispersed throughout
the Earth we, His children,
plead for the promised
redemption to be finally
led back to our land.

We ask to be made whole
again, to restore our lives and
to be forgiven once and
for all.

From Andalusian Conversations: Twice Exiled

20140218-210144.jpg
I’ve thought of you often
My friends—

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))

Selected Andalusian Poems

20130421-234055.jpg

El Arco

Me maravillo de la ingratitud del arco,
porque no es leal con las palomas del boscaje.

Cuando era rama, fue su amigo,
y ahora que es arco las persigue.
¡Así son las vicisitudes de los tiempos!

De AHMED BEN WADDAH,
apodado AL-BUQAYRA, de Murcia
(muerto hacia 1135)

*****

The Bow

I marvel at the ingratitude of the bow,
because of its lack of loyalty with the foresting doves.

When it was but a branch, it was a friend,
and now that its a bow it pursues them.
These are the vicissitudes of the times!

De AHMED BEN WADDAH,
apodado AL-BUQAYRA, de Murcia
(muerto hacia 1135)
translated Samuel De Lemos

*****

Disculpa

No me tachéis de inconsecuente porque mi corazón
haya sido apresado por una voz que canta:

Hay que estar serio unas veces y otras dejarse emocionar:
como la madera, de la que sale lo mismo
el arco del guerrero que el laúd del cantor.

Del alfaquí cordobés IBRAHIM BEN UTMAN.

*****

Apology

Don’t accuse me of being inconsistent because my heart
has been seized by a voice that sings:

One must be at times serious and at other times moved:
like wood, which brings forth
both
the warriors bow and the singers lute.

Del alfaquí cordobés IBRAHIM BEN UTMAN.
translated by Samuel De Lemos

*****

Mutamid y su familia
embarcan para el destierro

Todo lo olvidaré menos aquella madrugada junto
al Guadaquivir, cuando estaban en las naves como
muertos en sus fosas.

Las gentes se agolpaban en las dos orillas,
mirando cómo flotaban aquellas perlas
sobre las espumas del río.

Caían los velos porque las vírgenes no se cuidaban
de cubrirse, y se desgarraban los rostros como otras
veces los mantos.

Llegó el momento, y ¡qué tumulto de adioses, qué
clamor el que a porfía lanzaban las doncellas
y los galanes!

Partieron los navíos, acompañados de sollozos,
como una perezosa caravana que el camellero arrea
con su canción.

¿Ay, cuántas lágrimas caían al agua! ¿Ay, cuántos
corazones rotos se llevaban aquellas galeras insensibles!

De BEN AL-LABBANA, de Denia
(m. 1113)

*****

Mutamid and family
embark on their exile

I will forget everything except that dawn
by the Guadaquavir, when they were on those ships
like the dead in their crypt.

The people flocked on both shores
watching how the pearls floated
on the foam of the river.

The virgin veils fell as they failed to cover
themselves, and they tore at their faces as
they did at other times their robes.

The moment has come, and oh what tumult of farewells,
and insistent wailing was pitched by the maidens and gallants!

The ships left, accompanied by sobbing,
like a lazy caravan that the cameleer urged
with his song.

Oh, how many tears fell into the water! Oh, how many
broken hearts were carried away in those insensitive galleys!

De BEN AL-LABBANA, de Denia
(m. 1113)
translated by Samuel De Lemos

Selected Andalusian Poems

20130421-234055.jpg

El Arco

Me maravillo de la ingratitud del arco,
porque no es leal con las palomas del boscaje.

Cuando era rama, fue su amigo,
y ahora que es arco las persigue.
¡Así son las vicisitudes de los tiempos!

De AHMED BEN WADDAH,
apodado AL-BUQAYRA, de Murcia
(muerto hacia 1135)

*****

The Bow

I marvel at the ingratitude of the bow,
because of its lack of loyalty with the foresting doves.

When it was but a branch, it was a friend,
and now that its a bow it pursues them.
These are the vicissitudes of the times!

De AHMED BEN WADDAH,
apodado AL-BUQAYRA, de Murcia
(muerto hacia 1135)
translated Samuel De Lemos

*****

Disculpa

No me tachéis de inconsecuente porque mi corazón
haya sido apresado por una voz que canta:

Hay que estar serio unas veces y otras dejarse emocionar:
como la madera, de la que sale lo mismo
el arco del guerrero que el laúd del cantor.

Del alfaquí cordobés IBRAHIM BEN UTMAN.

*****

Apology

Don’t accuse me of being inconsistent because my heart
has been seized by a voice that sings:

One must be at times serious and at other times moved:
like wood, which brings forth
both
the warriors bow and the singers lute.

Del alfaquí cordobés IBRAHIM BEN UTMAN.
translated by Samuel De Lemos

*****

Mutamid y su familia
embarcan para el destierro

Todo lo olvidaré menos aquella madrugada junto
al Guadaquivir, cuando estaban en las naves como
muertos en sus fosas.

Las gentes se agolpaban en las dos orillas,
mirando cómo flotaban aquellas perlas
sobre las espumas del río.

Caían los velos porque las vírgenes no se cuidaban
de cubrirse, y se desgarraban los rostros como otras
veces los mantos.

Llegó el momento, y ¡qué tumulto de adioses, qué
clamor el que a porfía lanzaban las doncellas
y los galanes!

Partieron los navíos, acompañados de sollozos,
como una perezosa caravana que el camellero arrea
con su canción.

¿Ay, cuántas lágrimas caían al agua! ¿Ay, cuántos
corazones rotos se llevaban aquellas galeras insensibles!

De BEN AL-LABBANA, de Denia
(m. 1113)

*****

Mutamid and family
embark on their exile

I will forget everything except that dawn
by the Guadaquavir, when they were on those ships
like the dead in their crypt.

The people flocked on both shores
watching how the pearls floated
on the foam of the river.

The virgin veils fell as they failed to cover
themselves, and they tore at their faces as
they did at other times their robes.

The moment has come, and oh what tumult of farewells,
and insistent wailing was pitched by the maidens and gallants!

The ships left, accompanied by sobbing,
like a lazy caravan that the cameleer urged
with his song.

Oh, how many tears fell into the water! Oh, how many
broken hearts were carried away in those insensitive galleys!

De BEN AL-LABBANA, de Denia
(m. 1113)
translated by Samuel De Lemos