Umm Al Hassam

20 May

On the roofs of Umm al Hassam,

pigeons dance at sunrise,

and a hundred slender cats

resume their feline forage

as the day warms up.

Early at the tandoor, scent of

flat bread, furnace fresh

awaits the waking workers

as they raise the shutters on another day.

Sabah el-khair, Umm al Hassam,

Good morning, Mother of Seashells.

With your gaudy trade parade

of Arabian high tec bazaars

laundromats, boutiques

and cold stores galore,

Herbal remedies, Aseel’s, Raseez

And shawarmer men resilient in their

Sweltering booths


Beneath a bright moon

wise men take tea

and talk of how things

used to be

while a warm breeze

whispers through the

palm fringed villas

and flat roofed terraces

of old Umm al Hassam

Tisbah ala khair it says

Good night,

until the call to prayer.

As-salamu alaykum.

Peace be with you.

Mother of Seashells


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