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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)

TITLE: The Song of Tariq bin Ziyad
By Melanie Kerr


My name, Tariq bin Ziyad,
Seven thousand troops I lead
Into your Spanish country
My men and I proceed

Iím not a cruel invader
The sword is not my way
A few things I insist upon
If here you want to stay

Your homes wonít be demolished
My slaves you will not be
The way you lived your life will be
The same to some degree

I wonít insist on pain of death
Your faith you must convert
If you remain a Christian be
Assured youíll not be hurt

But things will not be quite same
You will be a Dhimmi
Understand I cannot give
You total liberty

Your presence I will tolerate
If youíre prepared to say
That Islam is superior
And not your Christian way

Islamic power reigns supreme
Your faith you must not share
The things you do in private are
Of course, your own affair

The tax you pay is higher
It seems to me quite fair
The difference in our stations is
Shown by the badge you wear

You cannot carry weapons for
I have defeated you
And if I choose to close your church
Thereís nothing you can do

Be sure to think before you speak
I will not tolerate
The blasphemy concerning Christ
That you are prone to state

God reigns alone in heaven
Thereís no beloved Son
Muhammad is his prophet
No other truth, no, none

I do not fear or hate you
Youíre such a feeble race
I think youíd be much better off
If Islam youíd embrace

Iím sure youíre looking forward to
Our life of harmony
Side by side Iíll live with you
Subordinate to me

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This article has been read 1567 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 02/27/09
Oh, this is good. And sadly too true for many people in the world. :( Good job.
Joanne Sher 03/01/09
Very powerful - and so sad that many have to deal with this! Excellent.
Sonya Leigh03/02/09
Your message was very clear and well put...I offer a small suggestion without ego here...maybe the poem would work better as a type of free-verse, with some rhyme scheme dotted here and there...I'm probably thinking this because of the serious nature of its content. Amazing how you delivered such an impact of history in so few words. Good job.
Joshua Janoski03/02/09
Very clever way of telling this piece of history. I liked the rhythm of the whole thing. Thanks for sharing. :)
Benjamin Graber03/04/09
Hi Mel!
I really like the irony in this poem - very well crafted! Your voice through the whole poem is excellent.
Here's some red ink:
I thought maybe a little more imagery would have made for a more interesting read. His scorn for Christianity could have been even more ironic with some vivid imagery.
I also felt like some of the rhymes sounded a little forced, like lead/proceed and way/stay.
The ending was great - the perfect ending to a perfect example of irony...
It's tough giving red ink to someone in master's, but I hope you know I share my thoughts with grace and love! :-)
Gerald Shuler 03/04/09
I have also read your entry several times this week. The message is chilling but timely.
Holly Westefeld03/05/09
Your chilling message came across loud and clear.
This red ink is just one poet's opinion/preference for taking or leaving... I think that it is helpful to the reader to punctuate poetry much the same as prose, otherwise we're not sure when we are permitted a breath. I found the meter somewhat inconsistent, which, for me, impeded its flow.
What I think you did best was the enjambment, carrying a thought smoothly from one line to the next, not falling in to the trap of some who think that each line should contain a complete sentence, or at least pause with a comma at the end of each line.
If you wish to clarify any of my comments, my e-mail is in my profile, or I may be reached on the boards as hwnj.