(with sincere apologies to Matthew Arnold)

The sea is soft today.
Shallow and warm, as it always is under this hot sun.
Across the heat-washed way, Iran
Quietly broods, the Persians seething
Their ancient hatred for the Arabs.
Old ship mines bob on rusty chains in the shallow tide,
Silent homes to silent fish.
Feluccas still ply the shore, the same creature
Centuries old, the same ship rebuilt decade after decade,
Hauling dates and wool and…

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