Arabic poetic form, the Qasida for Oriental Poetry Contest. Second place.
We, Bedu, Qahtan’s children*, bred
from the Empty Quarter**, land of the dead,
bellies empty and thirsting, eyes red,
to Yemen we came, by mountains we fed.
In these rocky valleys our cities stand,
mud walls our defences and stead,
fierce our repute and far-flung our fame,
Saudi eyes covet our wisdom, our bread.
History sweeps past our sacred wells,
other tribes scheme over oil instead,
but we hold to pride and honour of old,
scorn commerce’s gold for dreams in our heads.
Line Count: 12
Form: Qasida, rhyme scheme aa aa xa xa xa xa.
*Tradition declares that the Bedouin were originally two tribes, the Qaysis of North-Central Arabia and descended from the biblical Ishmael, and the Yemenis of Southwestern Arabia, claiming a patriarch of Qahtan as their ancestor.
**The Empty Quarter is a vast area of desert in the Northeast of Arabia, so devoid of oases that no one lives there. Its southern edge dissolves into the mountains of Yemen.