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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fast Day 181 November 21 2010 (Armies of the Zanj Slavers)

Armies of the Zanj Slavers

In time sandstorms will blow between our ribs
as sharp and biting as the sighs of love
unrequited do tonight.

The day breaks and the sun uncurls her tail
through eastern wadis like a scorpion
that jumps to strike with heat!

Now my dreams fall away from me like veils
fall from the Tuareg's face, and we ascend
the Niger for Zanj wealth.

Ragtag group of camel mounted slavers!
Ifriqeeya's women shall weep tonight!
My sword named "Division"!


The Zanj were black slaves of the early caliphate. The Zanj rebellion - very  much like that of Spartacus in Rome - was a ferocious rebellion which lasted 10 years or more.

This is a poem of Arab slavers in Africa, and there is a progression from the sublime to the nasty business of everyday.

I add this poem this morning, because I was sure my poem 181 was too familiar in its conceptual outline. I could not shake the notion that "cascade of flowers"... and particularly the rhyme! ... was too familiar. Looking back, I found the original form, not about Eve, but love in general.
I hope my Muse has not become a jade, as Swift would have said. So I wrote this this morning. I was always fascinated by the Zanj rebellion, mainly because I never heard of it for most of my life.


Ruth said...

That was the sense I had of the previous poem, familiarity. It was fine. It didn't have the Montag fresh vision.

Whereas this Montag-ness is replete with the bite I look for here, the sand "between our ribs" the sun uncurling her tail (sun as she!) and that final dividing sword.

Ah, yes.

Montag said...

Thank you, Ruth.
You're up with the chickens this morning.

That poem bothered me all day long. It was just too, too familiar. One time I'd look and it was new, the next time I glanced, it was old.

Ruth said...

Words are funny that way.

Yeah, lately I sleep-graze ...

Montag said...

good expression...

I'm still thinking of your post about autumnal underwear, and the effect of talismanic objects.