{    Cnytr   }

{Tuesday, April 04, 2006  }

.:{Poetry at its height}:.

Apologies for the dearth in blogging. I've had so many papers due I haven't wanted to write anymore than I absolutely have to.

But today in class we were given a few Arabic poems composed around the same time as The Song of Roland. For anyone who has ever read the former, one will note that the silken delicacy of the imagery employed in the poems makes Western epic poetry look like a college student's room after a week of all-nighters and cold pizza.

The first poem is by a Ben Hazm of the late 10th/early 11th century:

When you came to me, it was a little before
     the Christians rang their bells,
when the half moon was climbing up the sky.

It was like the raised eyebrow of an old man,
     each hair of it white,
or like the delicate arch of your white foot.

The dawn had still not risen, yet the great
     bow of the Lord
shone against the horizon at your coming,
     radiant with every color
     like the peacock's tail.

The second is by Abu-el-Hasan Ben Al-Qabturnuh of the 12th century:

I remembered Sulayma when the passion
     of battle was as fierce
as the passion of my body when we parted.

I thought I saw, among the lances, the tall
     perfection of her body,
and when they bent toward me I embraced them.

And, in an interesting exercise in the class that followed this one, we were to write something we were passionate about (a topic we announced at the beginning of the year -- evidently I said "being right") in the style of something we read to the class. I read the second poem to the class and was then forced to compose something in that style of an Arabic poet about being right.

This is what I came up with:

I remembered the Truth
     when the B on my paper was as red
as the passionate veins of my prose.

I thought I saw, amidst the gashes,
     the burlap holes in my argument,
and when they consumed me I rewrote them.
posted by Lauren, 4:49 PM | link | 9 comments