Baghdad Song

By Ibn Al-`Arabi Ibn Al-`Arabi

Translated By Michael Sells Read the translator's notes

Oh, for corniced palace of Baghdad! not
the palatial cornices of Sindád al-Híra—

It crowns the gardens cascading below,   
a virgin unveiled in a perfumed chamber.

Wind plays in the branches. They bend.
Lovers at last coming together.

Her neck necklaced by the river Tigris,
her lord our master our Imám al-Hádi,

Násir, Mansúr, best of caliphs,
who never set out on horseback to war.

God bless him long   
as a dove on a swaying bough's cooing,

Long as smiles flash lightning
(and eyes stream like clouds in answer)

From a bride like the sun when the mist parts,
revealing herself luminous in splendor.

Source: Poetry (April 2008).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2008

Biography

Ibn Al-`Arabi was known as the “The Greatest Master” (al-shaykh al-akbar) of Islamic mystical thought. He died in Damascus in 1240.

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Ibn Al-`Arabi

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION Middle East

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.