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“DOME” by Shamma Al Bastaki

Shamma K. Al Bastaki regularly performs her work at national poetry readings and events and is a recipient of the NYU President’s Service Award for her contributions to culture and shaping arts discourse in the UAE. She is also one of the founding members of “Untitled Chapters”, a literary group of female writers empowering the voice of the Emirati woman.

Transcript : “Dome”

Dome of Stars
Curious listener,
grasp the idea of light

Stars are expected
to be distant and similar
to I and We,
for light consists of waves,
and though the aether
has grown shadowy,
the waves remain.

A dome is doomed to glitter
like shards of broken glass
a “rain of light”, some say
a mighty, mothering reign of sky,
scintillating to the ear and eye

A dome is doomed to float
on gleaming seas,
a twinkling frisbee flying saucer,
a hyper-terrestrial Babylonian disc,
discoing the universe,
and whatever we think time means,
on walls, on grounds,
on moving things,
dappling your bodies and mine.

Curious listener,
do we ask the star shaped perforations
above our skulls
that sieve the sun’s rays
to create this arbitrarily polka-dotted space,
if they are real stars?
Sunlight is starlight and starlight is funneled through
Eight layers of aluminum
And stainless steel and other strong
Heavy things, stealing shade,
Here and there
Starlight birthing starlight
Falling stars partially frozen
Crawling, spasming in place
Shivering effervescently
in this micro-climate of sorts

I see a world in this dome of stars
A world of big and little things

I see the glint of a silver khanjar
Drawn from its sheath at the peak of dawn

I see a diamond-hugged neck
Gleaming at an angle

I see creek waters glistening
At the stroke of twilight

I see the old souk in this dome of stars
Light filtered through areesh
Dried palm fronds woven to make
A ceiling work,
fragile and strong
At once,
as welcoming of the celestial,
as this dome

Curious listener,
Grasp the idea of light
And let it rain on you

Poem Credits: Shamma Al Bastaki

This poem was presented as part of the “Spoken Art” programme that was curated by Dorian Rogers

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