The medieval world is alive and well
in large pockets, vast geographical
containments of human souls;
I once fell in love with a Muslim girl,
a meeting of minds and sensibilities,
(the other must wait for marriage)
and within moments of her family's knowledge
had my visa revoked, found myself
frog-marched to the waiting plane.
This war of civilisations is ineptly named,
it is a war of time zones, in which different
centuries find themselves in puzzled conflict,
none understanding the other. As an Arab
I would most definitely be angry and humiliated
by the arrogance and depradations of the West;
as a freewheeling travelling Celt, one of
the last of the amiable cheerful chancers,
I find my friends and homes everywhere.
Tradition is part of our belief, and so is pride,
but we look to recent not ancient accomplishment;
we cherish spontaneity, initiative, and above all,
the calculated weight of personal freedom.
It comes as a shock to realize, here and there,
that freedom is the exception rather than the rule,
the whole world over: it is disappearing
in rapid gulps in the experimental New World of the USA,
and in other places has never existed.