To a Little Man With a Very Large Beard

by Isaac Ben Khalif

How can thy chin that burden bear?
Is it all gravity to shock?
Is it to make the people stare,
And be thyself a laughing-stock?

When I behold thy little feet
After thy beard obsequious run,
I always fancy that I meet
Some father followed by his son.

A man like thee scarce e’er appeared;
A beard like thine, where shall we find it?
Surely thou cherishes thy beard,
In hopes to hide thyself behind it!


Taken from W.A. Coulston’s Arabian Poetry, first published in 1881. This particular poem features in the book’s mid-section, which is a collection of shorter works displaying the typical freshness and charm of Arabian verse. Translated by J.D. Carlyle.