What Is the Moon

In honor of Muharram, we present this work by one of Egypt’s greatest Muslim poets.

Ahmad Shawqi
1868 – 1932


Oh mother, how does the sky look? And what is light and what is the moon?
About their beauty you speak, but I don’t see any of it.
Is this world darkness upon infinite darkness?
Oh mother, give me your hand and perhaps boredom will leave me.
I walk with fear of tripping, at day or dusk.
I walk unguided, whether the path is long or short.
I walk with trepidation lest I encounter a sudden danger
and the earth to me is all the same, the flat and the potholed.
My cane is my vision. Can you imagine vision so solid?
Children run and play and frolic and there’s no problem for them in that.
But I am blind and sitting at home, in place
God is kind to me and He alleviates my distress.

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