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Poetry Magnum Opus

The Conversion to Islam of Conor MacArt (Part 2)


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An Comhshó a Ioslam de Conchubhair Mac Airt




creideamh ar ár n-aithreacha,

creideamh naofa,

beidh muid fíor dhuit go héag


There’s not all that much to it, you sad Irish infidel,

said Sullivan the Magnificent, his eyes twinkling.

He was a most remarkable man, of quite small stature,

but of great presence, eyes like a hawk, a mind like a razor.

From the Sirkeci slave market down the hill from the palace

I had been dragged before him in chains, bedraggled,

but considerably cleaned up since the trip from Cyprus.


It was the flute I had brought from dear old Connemara

that had caused hesitation in the hard cruel Turks,

who, like all cruel people, were maudlin at heart.

They cried copiously when drunk, mourned sadly the loss of love,

much as we do in Ireland. And this, I think had saved me

on that hellish bloody voyage after the pirates had taken us

and beheadings had become their daily recreation.


I take it you believe in God, said the Great Sullivan,

which is the only important matter. All the rest is mere

conformity to the customs and habits of the people around you.

I cannot relieve you from your present condition, nor can I

offer you a position and salary, even though I am the Sultan,

the Padmishah, the Ruler of the World, etc., etc., and you

my dear are not undeserving … unless you convert to Islam.


It’s a matter of rationality, he continued, precious little

of which exists in this world. Nevertheless, I tend to believe

you are an intelligent man. Your music is pleasant enough

but there are other reasons I have decided to save you.

I thought of Saint Patrick and the holy martyrs and the priests

and the more I thought of the priests, dirty beggars, the more

I began to listen to what this shrewd old man was telling me.


Religion is a form of celestial politics, a shadow of the real,

it exists in constant opposition to any man-made established State

which must find an accommodation in order to survive.

I stared at the old man, goggle-eyed. What was he telling me?

Although Islam is the true religion, he blithely continued,

I think all religions are no more than regional creations, otherwise

the whole world would have the same beliefs. And it doesn’t.


Conor, he said, not unkindly. You are a stranger in a strange land

(we were talking in Latin, the only language we both understood)

but I may have need of you. You will kindly convert to Islam.

Otherwise you will be of no use to me whatsoever. I will throw you back

whence you came (a steely gaze) and you will not last a week.

Well, that was true enough. The philosophical bit of the talk

shrank down by comparison. I was led away to a scented sleeping chamber ...




(The thoughts of our hero are still being deciphered from the recovered documents. Cowshit from the byre in Armagh has its preservative factors but it takes ages and ages to scrape and dissolve it away).


Suleiman the Magnificent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suleiman_the_Magnificent

Edited by dedalus

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Hi Brendan, Another lyrical, curious, informative piece that reads with ease and leads the reader to ponder the outcome. You do this so well. I wonder if you speak Japanese with the same lyrical quality that is heard in your English?



~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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