Monday, January 7, 2013

The Mooress

Heavy is the lot of woman,
heavy is her loving lot...
                           Lætitia Elizabeth Maclean

She pulls off her veil
to let the wind cool her neck, her braided hair
the dark hue of branches shading
                                a bell tower.

Its caste-iron song
calls for morning prayers.
How strange to hear
a bell drawing people to pray
                                not a human voice.

She looks at the oranges
overhead. In another land
and time, she sampled them
with bread and tea. The fruit
sweet, luscious, a gift
from traveling merchants.

Here they hang in abundance
glowing like a bush of haloes
to be gathered for angel
or saint.

And in this realm
has she earned their status
loving the knight in chainmail
forsaking her faith for his,
her prophet and book?

* * * * *
A hundred years before
La Giralda
was a minaret,

Her ancestral twin
rinsed her face in the fountain,
smooth hands scooping water
and the reflection
of a girl exiled
from paradise, earthbound
and left as a mortal

to serve invaders,
to pleasure them
instead of martyrs..

* * * * *
Mass has started,
the huge doors open
But she remains
beneath the tree.

Has she become a Houri
reborn to please
the young man in armor
who courts her in the garden
who kneels by her
in this house of sandstone and glass,
who lies upon her often
covered with linen and scented oil?

Sunlight cocoons the leaves in glare,
a fluttering of shadows
and thoughts. Both
seem to struggle for breath.

La Giralda is the famous bell tower of The Cathedral of Seville. Originally the religious building had been a site of worship for the Islamic Moors who conquered and settled Spain in the 7th and 8th century. The tower had previously been a minaret and its people were called to prayer by human song or chanting. The Houri mentioned in this work refers to the radiant maidens ( mythical virgins) who exist in paradise for the sole purpose of pleasuring and rewarding Muslim Martyrs who sacrifice their lives in battle for Allah and Islam.

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