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The Rooster
Abu'l Qasim As'ad ibn Billita


Up he stands
To declare the darkness done for
The bird trimmed with a poppy
Who rolls his lustrous eyes for us

With song he calls to prayer
And he complies with his call
Beating his great plumes
Flexing his shoulder knuckles

The Emperor of Persia
Perhaps wove his crown
Personally Mary the Copt
Hung pendant rings from his ears

He snatched from the peacock
His most attractive cloak
And still not comforted took
His strut from a duck

This poem is in the public domain.

Abu’l Qasim As’ad ibn Billita lived and wrote  from approximately 1050 - 1100 in Andalusia, an area located in the south of Spain. Poetry was an integral element of Andalusian life during that time; it was written and read by virtually everyone and tended to be intensely emotional in content,  but spare and stark in its wording. It was the custom of Andalusian poets to gather and read their poems aloud for entertainment, much like our poetry readings today. If someone in attendance was inspired by what he heard, he would often compose and share the resultant poem on the spot.

Post New Comment:
nadia ibrashi:
A one thousand year old poem. What a treasure.
Posted 07/03/2011 12:40 PM
Beautiful poem. Maire
Posted 07/03/2011 11:43 AM
Yes, congratulations to Jayne Jaudon Ferrer for a great find. took / His strut from a duck indeed!
Posted 07/03/2011 10:57 AM
Thank-you for introducing me to this poet I had not known of before. This poem seems shockingly contemporary, even for all its references to the emperor of Persia and Mary the Copt.
Posted 07/03/2011 10:05 AM

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