Sorrows of Moraima by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

And so she is wed
in her plain mantilla,
the stoic vezir’s
sixteen-year old Moraima*
to Abu-abdallah, rey el chico.
She has three times as many sorrows as you,
lone cypress with the bent torso!
I watch her burn before she has bloomed.
I, the window they call
the eyes of Ayesha.
I, myself a gaping book waiting to be written,
watch her pace through white corridors,
reading passages between
the hissing walls.
A husband at war, a child taken captive,
all day she digs for a window.
All the while I let in common sparrows,
twigs, pollen, arrows of winter rain,
she is behind deaf carmen walls
in the city below
shut away from this, her palace.
Three times your sorrows, broken cypress.

*Notes: Moraima, wife of the last Muslim emperor of Granada (Al Andalus), suffered imprisonment and exile when Spain fell to Castilian rule (1492). The speaker of the poem is a window known as “Ain al Ayesha” or “the eyes of Ayesha” in the Alhamra palace. The window overlooked the city of Albaicin where Moraima was imprisoned.

From: https://www.cortlandreview.com/features/10/spring/hashmi.html

Date: 2010

By: Shadab Zeest Hashmi (1972- )

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