The Promised Land

This is a parody of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The present poem carries out a similar style. I depend on English, world and Palestinian literature and biblical references as well as Holy Quran to build up the whole image of the poem.



Everything comes straight under the light,
But matters are only solved at night.
Words are merely a pretext for delay,
But within is colored the story of one day:
When man lives and dies and then does arise;
When prayers unto Allah willingly do the wise.
These words condemn none but those of vice,
Who grudged and refused their Maker’s advice,
Who teased and the son of man crossed,
Who shall be defeated and at last crushed.

My story in the past begins,
And in the future ends.
It happened in the land of ghosts,
Where one hears no sounds
But the 'wailing and gnashing'
Of the teeth of the wondering shades.
It began when I woke up in the wounded land
Like a frightened lamb
Roving alone in 'a waste of rushes.'
My feet carried me with frightened steps
To a place where 'all external nature seemed in a storm, '
Where the 'poor naked wretches' sat alone.
Nothing would have 'subdued nature to such destruction'
But the shades of the shades around the molten calf.
The scene amazed me while I was crossing the road:
A blaze at night!
It was breaking the quietness of darkness.
Sounds of crashing around the flame;
Snakes crawling everywhere;
'Inexorable dogs' howling in the place,
Leaving it waste and wild.

Time passes like a candle lit from two sides;
Each tries to stay in the middle,
But death in fire hides.
From a distance I can draw
The picture my tears destroy:
It looks like Munalisa with a smile,
But never a smile is a hint of joy.
The truth is light
That burns to make darkness visible,
But so many invisible souls become visible
When souls in hands are carried
And thrown into the valley of death,
So only then they rise ahead to die again.

They say that what is out of sight is out of mind,
But do the scars from heart vanish?
Or should one repay insolence in kind?
Yet which is more horrifying, sir,
The sight of empty skulls,
Or of withered hearts?
For those who I scorn
Are born headless
And nursed with no hearts.
They buy; they sell;
They take; they kill;
But I’ve never heard
They give for their will.
Where they dwell, cruelty dwells,
For their desires
'Are wolvish, bloody, starved, and ravenous.'

Ah, sinful nation!
You will be smitten with a scab;
And there shall not be left a stone upon a stone,
And shall tap my children thy doors
With innocent stones.
'He that is without sin, let him cast a stone.'
The children do.
A stone the innocent throw,
And the kingdom of Allah they shall be into.
Be damned those who sell their lands,
Be damned the shaking hands.
It is only when my soul dwells in a heartless cage,
Having a deal with my murderer,
Forsaking all the principles
I have nursed from my mother,
It is only then that I can pretend
I have forgotten all horrible scenes
From which we’ve learned not to yield
But to fight till the end.
'So when the second of warnings comes to pass,
We shall enter the temple
And shall Jerusalem compass.'

1993–1994

by Montazar AnNayef

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