Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Mermen of Lake Qarun (Or How the Dragonfly Got Its Colour)

The mermen of Lake Qarun
came to shores scented with the hearts of those that kissed
dipping with the waves
these sons of sacred water
rose up
crowned with gohanamia
and necklaces of baladi rose
adorning their fine necks

The tarfa led them through oasis groves
and fields of sugarcane
where with songs of Sa'idi on their sweetened lips
they danced the steps of oceans
leaving their tails to silver the night

In the House of Watermelon
Tarek, the gracious host
gave each one a magic duck feather
its mantra iridescent in their blue green eyes

These mermen fell enchanted with the girls of Tunis
who kept their beauty veiled
as hidden verses
prayers to the crocodile
that some said loved them in the night
biting with an ardour
they could not forget
so they whispered 'Ya Sobek, ya Sobek,' as they slept

The mermen untouched by mortal hands
made their dreaming under olive trees
imagining the sky as their lake
and the moon their treasured pearl
searching the map of stars
willing the path home to come

Noone saw their return
for their shanties lulled the village
to sleep through three suns
and dream of underwater temples
of sights which they would never speak

But you only have to see a dragonfly
and notice its shining scales
to know a merman passed by
and touched its shimmering soul