'THE STROKE OF AN OAR GIVEN IN TRUE TIME'
Shakespeare’s ‘Islamic’ poem, part II.
or ‘The Phoenix and the Turtle’.
By NIGEL WHEALE.
To lovingly welcome Eliza Phoenix.
Abd al-Wahid bin Masoud bin Muhammad al-Annuri, the Moroccan ambassador.1
‘‘THE PHOENIX AND THE TURTLE’’ is an outlier poem, even in its prosody. ‘Let the bird of loudest lay’ has the lightest structure, bird-like, but suggests so much, it is weightlessly gravid, always escapes conclusive reading.2 The ‘dominantly seven-syllable trochaic lines, which end with a single stressed syllable’,3 or ‘broken trochaics’,4 are a metrical choice that only paradoxically conveys so much abstraction, devotion and mourning.