• By David B. Gosselin

The Jewels of Andalusia - The Spanish Knight


The Alhambra Palace - Granada, Spain

Wa le ghalib il Allah (God is the only victor)

-Muhamed Ibn-l-Ahmar, founder of the Alhambra Palace

He rides across the star-engulfed Sierra,

Along the peaks of Andalusia;

Beyond El Dorado by every measure,

He hopes to find Andalusian treasure.

The monarchs of Granada have all fled—

Prayers of infidels to God’s ears dead;

Those Moorish halls once built with alchemy

Will never again rule in infamy.

Climbing Granada’s mountains and defile,

He reaches the glittering Moorish pile,

Then finds himself within her myrtle courts,

Shimmering like eternal Godly ports.

“Victor!” Cheer all his noble cavaliers

As Don Alfonso and his brother nears.

“Show me the jewels of Andalusia,

Its luscious gardens fed by Arethusa!

“Show me around this sumptuous palace friends,

And tell me how the Moors all met their ends!”

The Don with joy exclaims. “But see your prize,”

His soldier says, as the knight meets the eyes

Of Ben Seraj, the fabled Moor, enchained.

“So what have you to say, impious bane?

Now, Granada yields unto the Christian scepter!”

The Moor replies, “Only God is victor.”

“Ha!” The proud cavaliers regale and rave

As the old Moor is carried off a slave.

The Don then strides across the palace halls

Where strange reliefs appear upon the walls.

But on those walls appear no images,

No symbols or reliefs with visages,

Only swimming in the moonlit cornice,

Divine calligraphy begins to surface.

Demanding explanation from his captive,

He asks with curiosity so furtive:

“What signify these Saracen riddles,

These cryptic fonts and Moorish symbols?”




His captive turns towards a bold relief

Which seems to prophesize some dark belief.

The old Moor reads, “God is the only victor,”

As all the burning stars in Heaven flicker.


Sporting the royal seal of empery

—Exalting in the joy of victory—

Alfonso leaves his train of valiant knights,

Now off to dream of new imperial heights.

To dream of future victories he goes

As salted air from seas and citron groves

Blows through the palace halls, while pallid beams

From crescent moons descend in pure white streams.


Sleeping luxuriously like a king

Alfonso soon awakes: he hears a swing,

As though a scimitar cutting through air,

Perhaps a solider walking past his lair.


The monarchs of Granada have all fled—

Prayers of infidels to God’s ears dead;

Those Moorish halls once built with alchemy

Will never again rule in infamy.

Waking to find that it was all a dream,

The treacherous Moor is nowhere to be seen.

He sees his brother standing at the door,

“Brother you’ve come, but did hear you the Moor?”

His brother remains mute; as he walks over

The sound of singing scimitars takes over:

His brother’s bold ambition he had failed

To quell—glories of war never curtailed.

His noble brother now reclaims his fame,

Just as the crescent moon begins to wane.

As darkling night overcomes each quarter,

His brother whispers, “Only God is victor.”

September 2017

David Gosselin is a poet, translator, and linguist based in Montreal. He is the founder of The Chained Muse poetry website and the founder of the New Lyre Podcast.