Poem for an anonymous Moorish Poet on the defeat at Seville November 1248

John E Marks
2 min readJul 25, 2022
Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

We have eaten rats during this siege
The Spanish want us to acquiesce to Christian suzerainty.
They never tell us why we should do so
We have our music, poetry, wine, gardens and our beautiful women.

And beauty gives us light, like lamps to one travelling in the dark.
Makes one wake up, notice a sparkling jewel,
A pearl from the deeps of a distant ocean
A rarity of dreams: a new order.
A passion that is large, and does not fade,
Beats in heart-harmony :
As tears slip down like rain;

Your body wracked by childbirth and war.
Christian indifference breaks hearts:
Stars burn in her eyes,
In the depth of night
She is alight.

She loves her garden,
Spreads colour, heavenly perfume,
All is as summer dictates,
Mirroring my state of mind;
Desire might extinguish me.

Man, you must wait for a woman
Sometimes for a whole lifetime
Or for longer still — far and distant -
The world is sick of injustice -
Heaven knows. We must help each other
Die before the walls fall.

John E Marks

I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can