Daily Poetry Assignment: Day 7 – Ballad, Assonance, Neighbourhood

It’s rather surprising how a poet or writer can have short, creative bursts where you suddenly find words flowing out onto the computer keyboard like a waterfall, yet can suffer from writer’s block days later. That’s exactly how I feel right now: I spontaneously was able to create a sing-song ballad-ish poem about a Cairo neighbourhood which I don’t actually live in. For those who don’t know, I live in Cairo, but in a rather posh upper-class section of the city called The Fifth Settlement. Here are where many of the expatriates live along with middle to upper class Egyptians, all of whom want to escape the hustle and bustle of Cairo’s inner city neighbourhoods. I’ve been there and it is absolutely chaotic; traffic’s all haywire, lots of people shouting for some reason and the unfortunate state of the littered streets. However, although this poem applies generally to the inner city neighbourhoods, I find the positives out of that and imagine how it would be like to live as one with the locals.

In case you’re wondering where the assonance are, I did not really pay much attention to it while writing this. The poem is actually full of the poetic device, but it’s embedded so much into the rythm that even I don’t notice it so much. Maybe you probably notice the assonance better than I do. 😛

Here goes my attempt at a ballad, enjoy!

Cairo Calling

By A. A. Kamalov

The screams and shouts of cars and trucks,

Awake me in the morning,

All neighbourhoods full of energy,

In Cairo, it’s not boring!

The city, famous for the Nile,

Indeed its greatest pride,

Along with the Great Pyramids

Found on its western side.

The traffic trouble, it’s intense

With thousands in the streets,

When cars turn right, left, all around;

It’s clear, they all compete!

Who gets to pass, oh it’s a race:

Who gets to exit first?

But when cars collide, oh my, beware!

You don’t want to be cursed!

From my apartment I can see

Construction all around,

Booming sounds of machinery

Near buildings on the ground.

I wish I had a garden here

Too bad here’s where I live,

But luckily there’s a park quite near,

With that I can forgive.

It’s great that tourist sights close by

A few minutes away,

I keep discovering new sites

For me to spend my day.

The great mosques sound their prayer calls,

Minarets pierce the sky,

Khan Al Khalili’s where I go

For crafts and clothes to buy.

And all my Egyptian neighbours

Take great interest in me,

They want to know where I come from,

What place and what country.

They come over; we chat, and laugh,

Over some cups of tea,

They then invite me to weddings.

My, what a sight to see!

Truly a celebration of

Love and destiny,

A presentation of culture

And lots of food for free!

Families gather, reunite,

Like one big family;

One could not find a neighbourhood

So close-knit and happy.

When one is sick and needs some help,

The other will assist,

No matter what person you are

You’ll freely coexist.

As long as you’re considerate

And never disrespect,

A life in Cairo city is

Better than you’d expect.


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