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Nimah Nawwab Poems
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Arabian Nights by Nimah Nawwab
When the call of the hudud,
Echoes through the palm fronds
Carrying in their mists,
Visions, memories:

Caravans of high spirited steads,
Crisscrossing the endless seas of sand,
Rushing through the oasis,
Free, yet under control.

Of women washing in the hot springs,
Sheltered in the evergreen palms,
Weaving baskets,
Cooking, sewing, scampering after the herds,
Of days filled with toil.

Visions, memories:
Cascading starlight,
Casting its mild light over campsites,
The moonlight’s silver shadow
Illuminating bearded faces,
Young boys thumping their feet
To the wild desert drum beat
‘Dana, ya dan dan’
Singing of the pearls in the far away gulf
‘Dana, ya dan dan’

The warm cardamom scented breeze
Carrying the fresh coffee aroma,
Warming, sizzling in the golden hooked pots
To the young giggling girls
Shyly peeking from behind the partitioned tent walls.

Flames flickering in the pit
Wood slowly consumed, sparks flying,
Dancing to the strain: ‘dana, ya dan dan.’

The cry of the hudud
Sweeps through the quiet morning air,
To the dawn of a new century.

Visions, memories,
Blown away by the winds of change.

* Hudud hoopoe
** Dana refers to a type of Gulf pearls, and the refrain
‘dana ya dan dan’ is a popular one used in Gulf songs.
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