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Guard your Heart Carefully

Mayy Ziyada
1922
Egypt (Original Language: Arabic)

Slowly the twilight lowered its curtain over earth,

cloud-margins bordered, patched and yoked with threads of gold and silver.

Mirrored in the bowers of sunset, tiny lake-images of ruby and pools of emerald faded,

and a gloomy morose melancholy settled on the earth.

Dejection settled over your eyes.

Inside you what sun sets, O young woman, and why does the evening distress you, that this cloudy gloom would coat your eyes?…

With Pure Virtue’s Hand

‘A’isha Taymur
1894
Egypt (Original Language: Arabic)

With pure virtue’s hand I guard the might of my hijāb

and with faultless self-shielding, among my peers I rise

With my thoughts taking fire and my gift for sharp critique

I have brought my poet’s skills to new and perfect highs

I composed poetry expressing an assemblage:

before me, women sheltered, most noble, esteemed, wise

I uttered my verses just as light and playful speech

yet the eloquence of books and logic I much prize

Mahdī’s daughter, Laylā—these are my choice models

as with innate acuity my best thoughts I poetize

How superb these ladies are!…

Scattered Pearls Among the Classes of Cloistered Ladies

1894
Cairo, Egypt (Original Language: Arabic)

Sharafiyya daughter of Sa’id the Captain

She was born in the year 1260 of the Hijra [CE 1844] and is still living.  This biographical subject has events to her name that testify to her fidelity and loyalty; she may be considered to have an odd and wondrous story.  I was told of her by one of the ladies who are trustworthy in what they report. …