This poem was submitted to Lucid Rhythms – an online magazine – and when he accepted it, that was the first time I began to hope that there were still venues that would accept ‘rhyming’ and metric poems.
I don’t know the journey that the genre has taken ever since I last studied it, but in my humble – and not so elevated opinion – any art that needs excessive analysing and interpreting and that can’t or doesn’t connect with people is somewhere missing the point.
In a bay off old Muharraq
Lies an ancient wooden Sambuk
That still goes out on moonless nights
Searching for th’ eternal light
And the master of the Sambuk
Who’s the master of that Sambuk?
A ghost, a wraith, a memory
Singing songs like Fidjeri.
And who is it that sits beside him?
Playing on the double hand drum?
Drumming on the mirwas lightly
While the Sambuk skips so spritely
Across the waves out to the sea
Recalling ancient memory?
Why he too is a distant past
That’s lost forever, lost alas!
And what is it they hope to find
Tossed along by wind and mind?
Why it’s the lulu treasured pearl
‘Durrat’ more prized than any girl.
And so the divers scythe the waves
Seeking what we all so crave
To bury hatred, soothe the pain
So we can all be one again.
And all who live upon this isle
Wherever he or she may come from
Join together, hug and smile
And truly say, “Salaam alaikum.”
Note: Fidjeri is an old Arabian Gulf/ Khaleeji pearl divers’ song, mirwas is the double handed drum that pearl divers used on their dhows (like the Sambuk) the lulu is the word for pearl in Arabic and Durrat is a particularly highly prized pearl. Muharraq is the second major island of the archipelago that constitutes the Kingdom of Bahrain. The poem is not political but expresses the desire to recreate a more friendly unified time in Bahrain. Salaam alaikum means ‘peace be upon you’.