• By David B. Gosselin

The Gardens of Cordoba


My heart longs for gardens at Cordoba, Where young maidens weep like morning roses And suns never greet us 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 fairy gardens at Cordoba, I heard brave Moors singing of maidens so meek, Each with cheeks soft like the rose’s calyx, Each soft like the sides of pale Dian’s cheek, Where from golden braids are blooming roses As the music softly reddens each cheek. There, deep inside blooming myrtle gardens, Troubadours sang of a love so true As their lute strings rang through jasmine gardens, Garlanding our thoughts with Beauty true —

True, like maidens wearing myrtle garlands, Garlands blooming with romance and virtue.

My heart yearns of gardens at Cordoba, Where young maiden’s weep like morning roses And suns never greet us without gilding Cloudlets with her ambrosial roses, Where the tears that fall from Arcadian skies Are the tears that quench Cordoba’s roses. Even enemies praise Cordoba’s roses, And faraway kings suspect that in those gardens Hecate roams and haunts Cordoba’s lush groves As she roams through Andalusian gardens, Where the buds of beauty know no winter, Ever dwelling in perpetual gardens. Minarets climb Cordoba’s stairless skies, Conversing with the peaks of heaven high, Where the Houris[1]’ sighs are carried on the air And blown through the gardens from heaven high, Where the crystal diadems of Andalusian peaks Claw towards the heavens where the Houris sigh. I can still hear the Moor singing his songs, Singing of their cheeks white, pale and meek As the sun kisses them with his gentle rays, Mirroring Diana’s soft pale cheek, Which stalks us like the moon in midday light— A cheek now so pale and so white - bleak.

Faraway kings sing with their tattered lutes For the ancient gardens at Cordoba, Where now a teary-eyed phoenix helpless weeps, Yearning for the gardens at Cordoba; Like desert blossoms under stern suns, Longing for the gardens at Cordoba. I remember well Cordoba’s gardens, Where the lines and verses of a man’s tongue Could vanquish the feuds of warlike foes, Where feuds were sundered with an angel’s tongue, Quelling enemies with Beauty’s praises—

Feuds were conquered with a golden tongue.

My heart dreams for gardens at Cordoba, Where young maidens weep like morning roses, And suns never greet us 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.

Notes

  • [1] Houries: Mythical nymph-like beauties described in the Qur'an.

David is a translator, linguist and poet based in Montreal.


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