Whenever my little granddaughter Safiya speaks English, I’m reminded of her maternal grandmother Elizabeth Jane Palmer who is from Norfolk, England. Safiya will enunciate her words clearly and precisely, in the manner of her Grandma Jane.
One day Safiya took me completely by surprise by reciting a long poem she had learned by heart. She did it without faltering once, remarkable considering she is only four years old and could not have understood some of the difficult words. The following is Safiya’s favourite poem.
The Masjid Mouse
Oh, have you seen the Masjid Mouse
That dwells in Merry Lane?
The cheeky, cheery Masjid Mouse
The runabout-while-laughing mouse
Who dances in the rain?
The Masjid Mouse he has a house
Inside a minaret
Because his roof is high and dry
Above the rainclouds of the sky
His home is never wet.
I saw him once upon a horse
That drew a handsome gig.
He wore a crown of golden gorse
And ate a pie with apple sauce
While cutting quite a jig.
One day the Masjid Mouse set sail
As master of a brig.
Backwards he’d sail in shine and gail,
A silver spoon was his taffrail,
His sail a surgeon’s wig.
The King and Queen were sorely vexed
To hear of all his capers.
His Majesty inquired, “What next?”
And found his soldiers quite perplexed.
The Queen she had the vapors.
The Masy Mouse he loves to sing
And play upon a drum.
With London mice and mice of Tring
With mice of Paris and Peking
He’ll laugh and sing and hum.
But when the Masjid Mouse comes home,
One thing he’ll not delay,
For howsoever far he’ll roam
He has a place beneath the dome,
Where he will stand to pray.
By TJ Winter. Also known as Abdul Hakim Murad, Winter is a British convert to Islam who is widely respected as a researcher, writer and teacher. He was educated at Cambridge and Al-Azhar, two of the world’s top universities.
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