Poets of Arab Andalucia


        Night of Love

When the sun bowed low
before leaving us
I made her promise to visit me
like another sun
the moment the moon
started its nocturnal voyage.

And she came like bright dawn
opening a path through the night
or like the wind
skimming the surface of a river.

The horizon all around me
breathed out perfume
announcing her arrival
as the fragrance precedes a flower.

I went over the traces
of her steps with my kisses
as the reader goes over
the letters of a line.

While night slept
love was kept awake
by her reed-waist, dune-hips
and face beautiful as the moon.

Part of the night I spent
embracing her
and part kissing her
until the banner of dawn
summoned us to leave
and our circle of embraces was broken.

Oh fateful night!
Hold back the hour of sundering!

Ibn Safr al-Marini

            Blue River

The river of diaphonous waters
murmuring between its banks
would have you believe
it is a stream of pearls.

At midday tall trees
cover it with shadows
turning it the color of metal.

So now you see it, blue,
wrapped in brocade,
like a warrior in armor
resting in the shade of his banner.

Muhammed ibn Ghalib al-Rusafi

                    The Dancer

His manifold movements
toy with hearts.
He removes his garments
and is clothed in enchantment.

Supple as a branch
playful as a gazelle
his undulating motions
dally with the intelligence
of onlookers
as fate makes playthings of men.

And when he presses down on his head
with his feet
he is like a well-tempered sword
bent double
tip touching the pommel.

Ibn Kharuf
(c. 1205) Cordoba


Excerpted with permission from Poets of Arab Andalucia (City Lights Books 1989). Translated by Cola Franzen, from the Spanish versions of Emilio Garcia Gomez. www.citylights.com

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