• By David B. Gosselin

The Gardens of Cordoba


Life in the court of Abd Al Rahman III, Cordoba - Dionisio Baixeras Verdaguer

My heart longs for gardens at Cordoba Where young maidens weep like morning roses; And suns never shimmer without gilding Cloudlets with the colors of red roses; Where the tears that fall from paradisal skies Are the tears that quench Cordoba’s roses. In the faerie gardens at Cordoba, I heard brave Moors singing of maidens meek, Each as gentle as the rose’s calyx, Gentle, like the sides of Diane’s cheek; Where from golden braids are blooming roses As the music softly reddens each cheek. Deep inside those blooming myrtle gardens, Troubadours sang of a maiden so true; Sweet lutes sounded throughout jasmine gardens, Garlanding our thoughts with Beauty true—

True, like maidens graced with myrtle garlands—

Garlands blooming with the noblest virtue.

My heart yearns for gardens at Cordoba, Where young maidens weep like morning roses; And suns never shimmer without gilding Cloudlets with the colors of red roses; Where the tears that fall from Arcadian skies Are the tears that quench Cordoba’s roses. Enemies too praise Cordoba’s roses, And distant kings swear that in those gardens Hecate haunts and guards and surveys each bloom, Roaming through the time-exempted gardens; Where the buds of beauty know no winter,

Ever dwelling in perpetual gardens. Minarets climb Cordoba’s stairless skies, Reaching for the peaks of heaven high, Where the Houris’ sighs are wafted on the winds And blown through the gardens from heaven high, Where the diadems of Andalusian peaks Reach into heaven where the Houris sigh. I can still hear the old Moor singing his songs,

Singing of cheeks so white and pale and meek

As the moonlight glimmers over each stream —

Mirroring Diana’s soft pale cheek,

Which stalks us like the moon in the daylight—

A cheek now so white and pale and bleak.

Faraway kings sing with their tattered lutes Of the roses and gardens at Cordoba, Where now a teary-eyed phoenix helpless, weeps, Yearning for the gardens at Cordoba; Like a desert rose under blasting suns—

Longing for the gardens at Cordoba. I remember well Cordoba’s gardens, Where the lines and couplets of a mortal tongue Could vanquish the feuds of warlike foes; Where feuds were sundered with an angel’s tongue, Vanquishing wars with sweet Beauty’s praises—

Feuds were conquered with a golden tongue.

My heart longs for gardens at Cordoba Where young maidens weep like morning roses; And suns never shimmer without gilding Cloudlets with the colors of red roses; Where the tears that fall from paradisal skies Are the tears that quench Cordoba’s roses.

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.