His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s latest book is a collection of twenty-seven poems contained in sixty-six pages.
This volume, Poems from the Desert, is introduced by the Brazilian writer, Paulo Coelho, whose foreword is a model of poetic eloquence.
While journalists, entrepreneurs and admirers the world over have hungrily scanned papers and web sites to learn about this can-do Sheikh, perhaps nowhere is there a more revealing glimpse of the man than in this volume of poems.
In Poems from the Desert His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum lifts the veil on his soul and bares to the world a wide range of human emotions—passionate love, red hot justice, an exuberance for life, an enduring concern for his people, an honor for his heroes, a holy indignation towards cruelty and a respect for his nation’s heritage. There is yearning, tears and sleepless nights. As Coelho declares, “Writing is an act of courage.” (pxii)
In one poem the poet says:
“I would paint my words with meaningful verse,
With colours so bright that they tease the eyes.” (p11)
Rich with meaning and replete with mystery, these words are painted with memorable images that emerge out of the Arabian desert—camels, gazelles, moonlight, blazing sun, rainfall, horses, hawks, pearls and eyelashes.
The words not only tease the eyes but they bring readers to all their senses including the throb of life, the roar of the lion and the fragrance of jasmine, roses and rosewater.
It is not clear how many of these poems were first penned in Arabic (perhaps none) but their existence in the English language will introduce hundreds to the long and rich poetic tradition in Arabia.
This volume will cause one to think not only of the ruler of Dubai, the canny businessman or the successful horseman at the track but the quiet wisdom being revealed to the pensive poet in the desert.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Poems from the Desert (Dubai: Motivate Publishing, 2009).
This book is available from Magrudy’s Bookshops in the UAE at a cost of Dh 75.00.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: Front cover of Poems from the Desert.