Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Shamal Season" by Suad Ali

"Shamal Season" by Suad Ali is the Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for April 16, 2014.  It appeared in the Winter 2014 (yes, 2014) issue of Amethyst Arsenic.  A link to the poem as well as a brief bio of the poet may be found here:

The poem is organized in thirteen, short, free verse couplets.  A definite sense of place is evoked--of somewhere in the middle east that was once grand but has fallen into ruin.  A sense of time as well as place is also apparent from the title and first line, as the shamal is a hot, dry, dusty wind that blows continuously across Iran, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula every June and July

The poet uses olfactory metaphors to create a mixture of pleasant and unpleasant images of a once beautiful palace that has become nothing more than a hovel--a home for a poorly-paid servant and a host of giant ants.  The use of "oud" in the second stanza, an ingredient in perfume, foreshadows the reference to the smell of "expensive perfume" in the fourth.  Since it is doubtful that the poorly-paid servant is using expensive perfume, the smell is perhaps coming from the oud itself that, along with the aloe, is doing well despite the lack of rain--a small note of hope and happiness in an otherwise depressing scene.

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