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20 March, 2008

The Golden Journey to Dubailand

In tribute to James Elroy Flecker, who died well before his time.

At the Gate of National Paints Roundabout, Sharjah. Blazing humidity.

THE MERCHANTS
(Together)
Away, for we are ready to drive far!
Our camels sniff the traffic roaring by
Lead on, O Taxi Driver from Sharjah,
Lead on the Commuter-Pilgrims to Dubai.

THE CHIEF DRAPER
Have we not Carrefour rugs of nylon fine?
Cheap shalwars for a worker's salary
And Versace of Karama design,
And keffiyahs from Al Jaber Gallery?

THE CHIEF GROCER
We have shawarmas, we have shish kebabs,
Hummous and pickles ready for our meal,
And Umm Ali in great big sloppy slabs
And chocolate-coated dates bought from Bateel

THE PRINCIPAL JOURNALISTS:
And we have newspapers of Tecom style
By weary expat hacks; we have words
And adjectives and adverbs to beguile
And turgid press releases for the herds

THE MASTER OF THE CARAVAN
But you are nothing but a load of hacks

PRINCIPAL JOURNALIST
Sir, even dogs have daylight, and they paid us cash in brown envelopes.

MASTER OF THE CARAVAN
But who are ye in rags and rotten shoes,
You blue-boilersuited, blocking up the way?

ISHAK
We are the labourers, master; we shall work
Always a little longer; it may be
Fifty degrees in shade but we won't shirk
High up our scaffolding beside the sea,

Sharing a dirty squat in Sonapur
Unpaid and weary in the endless sand
Every day another to endure
Building the Golden City of Dubailand

HASSAN
Sweet to drive out from Sharjah every morn
When gridlock is gigantic on the sand,
And loudly through the traffic honk the horn
Along the Golden Road to Dubailand.

ISHAK
We surf the internet in the free zone;
For blocks and bans are more than we can stand:
For lust of knowing what should not be known,
We bypass the Golden Proxy of Dubailand

MASTER OF THE CARAVAN
Open the gate, O watchman of the bachelor-free apartment block!

THE WATCHMAN
Ho, sandlanders, I open. For what land
Leave you this dim city of no delight?

MERCHANTS
(With a shout)
We take the Golden Road to Dubailand!

Comments

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting attempt... too abstract for the simple folk perhaps.

20 March, 2008 18:23  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Thank you. The original is such a beautiful poem (play in fact - though I haven't read the entire thing), I hope a few more people click the link and discover it.

20 March, 2008 18:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damascus!
The oldest continuously inhabited city in the world!
What a lovely poem that is (the original one, I mean)

20 March, 2008 22:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Literature...lovin' it...In the spirit of Oz and Cantebury Tales....

21 March, 2008 08:10  
Blogger Kyle said...

Ah damn it, I have to dump all my home work this weekend and dig up literature.

This sounds like a fun-filled Easter weekend :)

I hate those unhygienic shawarmas and gross pickles.

21 March, 2008 10:08  
Blogger sd-b said...

That was a great rendition!

21 March, 2008 10:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parody, eh?

IIII am the very model of the modern . . . Ouch! Stop that! Alright already!

21 March, 2008 11:02  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Oh god I LOVE that poem - and I didn't even write it, it was by a commenter. Of everything I've ever published I think that was the funniest.

21 March, 2008 11:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen this?

This blog seems to be the documenting some strange sightings in dubai:

Text to be displayed

-M

22 March, 2008 10:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen this?

This blog seems to be the documenting some strange sightings in dubai:

Sightings in Dubai

-M

22 March, 2008 10:51  
Blogger Insipid Chagrin said...

Quite quite brilliant. Hurrah for The Gates of Damascus and perhaps an equally big hurrah for the author of this brilliant rendition.

22 March, 2008 23:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at Samarkand now. Once a famed city now a dump. Could the same fate await Dubai?

23 March, 2008 15:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous 22 March, 2008 10:51...Text to be displayed:

Come ooooooon!!!!!
Can't believe ppl still think monsters and dragons exist.
In video 2 there's a witness saying:
It was a dragon, it was right in my office!!!! It was huge it was massive it was unbelieveble!!!

Gues he has a very big office?
lmao....

23 March, 2008 18:02  
Blogger sd-b said...

SD - looks like du users can now access your blog now - yippee!

24 March, 2008 09:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

plaxo.com is now blocked along with you!
WHY?

24 March, 2008 20:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

''Gordon Brown and French president Nicolas Sarkozy are to urge banks to come clean about their bad debts in a bid to beat the global credit crisis''

amerika is collapsing and you're still over there hahaha

24 March, 2008 20:52  
Blogger secretdubai said...

plaxo.com is now blocked along with you!
WHY?


God forbid that someone in the UAE should be allowed to store the contacts of business colleagues and share their address book between their laptop and mobile phone.

It could only lead to moral armageddon!!

25 March, 2008 01:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The UK faces prolonged economic misery from the impact of the credit crunch, a leading business organisation has warned."

25 March, 2008 17:46  

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