Stanza 51


Now the muezzin alerts the citizens
That it is time to make their orisons.
This time in answer to the herald's call
The faithful villagers come one and all.
For everyone has heard the latest news
About the sayyid, so at noon they choose
To answer at the mosque the call to prayer
And meet the ayatollah in the square.
The multitude awaits his eminence.
Respectfully, and out of deference
The people give him first priority
To cleanse himself of all impurity.
But stooping to the ground he strikes each hand
Against the earth. The people understand
This action means that water will be dear.
That they're at war could hardly be more clear,
Because he now performs the alternate
Redeeming rite that cleanses for salat,
Which can be used when water sources fail.
The people copy him in each detail.