Born in 756 CE, Abu Nuwas was known as “Master of Curls” and revered as one of the greatest Arabic and Persian poets of his time.

Abu Nuwas
Abu Nuwas

A Boy Is Worth More Than a Girl

For young boys, the girls I’ve left behind

And for old wine set clear water out of mind.

Far from the straight road, I took without conceit

The winding way of sin, because this horse

Has cut the reins without remorse,

And carried away the bridle and the bit.

Here I am, fallen for a faun,

A dandy who butchers Arabic.

His forehead, brilliant like a full moon,

Chases away the black night’s gloom.

He cares not for shirts of cotton

Nor for the Bedouin’s hair coat.

He sports a short tunic over his slender thighs

But his shirt is long of sleeve.

His feet are well-shod, and under his coat

You can glimpse rich brocade.

He takes off on campaign and rides to attack

Casting arrows and javelins;

He hides the ardor of war, and his

Attitude under fire is magnanimous.

Comparing a young boy to a young girl, I am ignorant.

And yet, how can you mix up some bitch

Who goes in monthly heat

And drops a litter once a year

With him I see on the fly.

How I wish he would come

Return my greeting.

I reveal to him all my thoughts

Without fear of the imam, or of the muezzin.