August 19, 2019

Another description of the locust

It is said [in al-Damiri's Life of Animals] that the locust unites the features of ten mighty creatures: the face of a stallion, the eye of an elephant, the neck of a bull, the horn of an oryx, the torso of a lion, the belly of a snake, the wings of the vulture, the forelegs of a camel, the feet of an ostrich and a scorpion's tail. Such was the theme of a poet who said (meter: ṭawīl):

   Thigh of a camel, shank of an ostrich,
      a vulture's paw and the breast of a biting lion.
   Its belly was a gift from the viper of the earth,
      and the noble horse gave up its face and nose.
   The elephant's eye is aped by its, and its
      horns are the wild cow's, do you follow?
   Its neck and its tail are a bull's and a scorpion's,
      and God is the One Who knows best.

Another poet has said (meter: kāmil):

   The times are rotten. The stench is general.
      Indeed, the majority of created beings are corrupt.
   Take the locust, which spares the money of the rich.
      All the wealth of the poor it can find, it engulfs.

From the Rare and Marvelous Tales of Devout Luminaries
of Times Gone By
of Shihab al-Din Ahmad al-Qalyubi