A Boy Is Worth More Than a Girl
For young boys, the girls Ive left behind
And for old wine set clear water out of mind.
Far from the straight road, I took without conceit
The winding way of sin, because this horse
Has cut the reins without remorse,
And carried away the bridle and the bit.
Here I am, fallen for a faun,
A dandy who butchers Arabic.
His forehead, brilliant like a full moon,
Chases away the black nights gloom.
He cares not for shirts of cotton
Nor for the Bedouins hair coat.
He sports a short tunic over his slender thighs
but his shirt is long of sleeve.
His feet are well-shod, and under his coat
You can glimpse rich brocade.
He takes off on campaign and rides to attack
casting arrows and javelins;
He hides the ardor of war, and his
Attitude under fire is magnanimous.
Comparing a young boy to a young girl, I am ignorant.
And yet, how can you mix up some bitch
Who goes in monthly heat
And drops a litter once a year
With him I see on the fly.
How I wish he would come
Return my greeting.
I reveal to him all my thoughts
Without fear of the imam, or of the muezin.
||Abu Nuwas, Le Vin, le Vent, la Vie,
(tr. Vincent Mansour Monteil), Sindbad,
Paris, 1979, p. 91.