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Baghdad Qit'ah

Saw two girls on skates
clinging to a long black car.
Flew past at 30,
maybe 40 miles per hour.
Protection clenched
between their teeth:
head scarves.

19 Sep 06

Rated 7 (7) by 1 users.
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Inactive (0): 7

(define the words in this poem)

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Been reading about Arabic/Islamic poetry recently and this afternoon heard a sound bite (NPR) of Ted Koppel describing something he had seen in the middle east recently.  It struck me that the picture of two islamic girls with their head scarves clenched in their teeth represented both the future and the past.  It must have been a powerful thing to see.

Following is a quote from Wikipedia regarding Arabic poetry:  

A large proportion of all Arabic poetry is written using the monorhyme. This is simply the same rhyme used on every line of a poem. While this may seem a poor rhyme scheme for people used to English literature it makes sense in a language like Arabic which has only three vowels which can be either long or short


Qarid Qit'ah, an elegy or short poem about an event

Called the poem Baghdad Qit’ah because it described a meaningful event not because it followed a precise form of poetry.
 — unknown

coolio- if i had to wear one of those...  id cry.
 — wishfortrish


I don't understand where the rhyme is in every line though.  Enlighten/teach me.  I want to understand.  Then I'll rate.
 — starr

yeah i dont see the rhyme in every line, but its still a good poem i think, i like reading hes comment better though lol
 — wishfortrish

lol - I was trying to explain why I didn't rhyme every line!
Arabic has three vowels to our 6 and sometimes 7 and 8.

NO rhyme!!!
 — unknown

it is sort of like found poetry
 — unknown

Oh...wait a sec...rhymes in every line of Arabic or English?  Still waitin' to be enlightened...Thanks!  I like the imagery here.
 — starr

wow. simple and to the point but very well done.
 — topop

OK - the traditional form in Arabic is monosylable - the same rhyme ends every line.  It works because there are so few vowels.  It doesn't translate to English because we have so many more vowels.  So I take poetic license and did not use rhyme.  Similarly English Haiku often does not use the 5 - 7 -5 syllable form as the original Japanese.

My poem is not supposed to rhyme as it is not an arabic form of poetry.  The word qit'ah means something along the lines of "an event" I believe and since this poem literally describs a true event, I thought it appropriate to use in the title.
 — unknown

nice little event poem.  although i'm not convinced by the picture of two girls hanging off the back of a car at 40 miles per hour, maybe 20?!
 — unknown

oh yes - I gree it was probably more like 15 or 20 but Koppel actually said 50 mph! so I lowered it a little

 — unknown

Why weren't the headscarves on their heads, and is the protection line sarcastic?
 — unknown

the scarves are on their heads they have bitten down on the scarves to keep them from flying off while they are traveling.  It is not sarcastic.

It is a juxtaposition of two ideas.  The desire of young people to be free but they take chances.  If they lost their scarves they could be stoned or worse.
Yet they put their lives in danger in two ways.  Holding on to the car and almost losing their scarves.

Then it can be seen as Islam barrelling into the 21st century - defiant against the world.
 — unknown