When the lion bares his teeth, do not
fancy that the lion shows you a smile.
I have slain the man that sought my heart's blood many a time.
Riding a noble mare whose back none else may climb,
Whose hind and fore-legs seem in galloping as one
Nor hand nor foot requireth she to urge her on.
And O the days when I have swung my fine-edged glaive
Amidst a sea of death where wave was dashed on wave!
The desert knows me well, the night, the mounted men,
The battle and the sword, the paper and the pen.
I found this poem while I was reading a blog of a very talented artist, Izziyana Suhaimi. She posted a video of Persian miniature painting with this admirable poem of al-Mutannabi. You can watch the video here.
One of Izziyana's works in her 'Friends To Keep You Warm' collection.
She's an amazing artist, she makes me feel like learning hand embroidery!