Ala-Udeen & The Magic Lamp
Ala-udeen, as his name goes,
woke up with a bang and threw off his bedclothes,
rubbed his eyes, then jumped out of bed,
put his pants on, wound his turban on his head
and ran downstairs to the marketplace
having said his prayers and washed his face.
China! What a day! Sun high
in the egg-white China sky
and all the trees loaded with birds
who sang like little silver whistles. Absurd
to be gloomy on a day like this.
Ala-udeen knew it was a day that could not miss
being special. He ran to the fruit-stall
and when he saw the apples, he wanted them all
but he had only a few pennies.
He dug down into his pant’s pockets, but couldn’t find any
more money. So he walked up to the fruit-seller
and said: “I’ll take that red one, and that bright yellow
apple, please, and here’s my money.
Bismillah!” The seller was a grump. Nothing ever was funny.
He picked up the apples and plunked
them in a bag. Ala-udeen clunked
the pennies down on the table
and turned to go back to his house in the donkey-stable.
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