August 22, 2007

Allegorical Absurdity: Three Little Pigs

There once was a pig, who lived in the West
Amid the fields and mountains did this pig rest
Lush blades of green crowning the valley crest
A world of his own, quite different from the rest

But the elements were strong, at the winters' last thaw
The torrents coming down, from which pig could not withdraw
The pressure built with time, exposing the valleys' flaw
So he built himself a home of the sturdiest straw

'twas the finest stalk he could find, this little pig
and so danced the pig, a merry little jig!
not a strand out of place, not a single twig!
a basement for a bunker, did this pig dig!

And along came a wolf, or perhaps her twin!
Poor little pig, his hair standing on his skin!
"Little pig, little pig, let me in!"
"Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!"

And she huffed, and she puffed, and gave it her all
And though the straw may have shifted, the hut did not fall
When at last the pig saw an escape, and began to crawl
To find another valley to raise another wall

Little time he had to spare, as another wolf was near
Little pig felt exposed, out there in the clear
Little did pig know that it was that time of year
When wolves do their hunting, when pigs should disappear!

And with the help of another, he built a house of wood
"This time they'd come back harder", as any wolf would
The straw hut did well, in the valley it still stood
But a house of oak and pine would teach those wolves good.

And thus the wolf approached, to the hut of oak and pine
As the pigs stood motionless in their little shrine
The hour was near, we'd see the strength of their design!
The pigs in anticipation, thinking they'd be fine.

And thus the wolf approached, with an evilish grin!
But the house was of wood, much to her chagrin
"Little pig, little pig, let me in!"
"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!"

And she huffed, and she puffed, to blow the house away
But in spite of heavy puffing, the house would not sway
Annoyed and offended, the wolf was heard to say,
"No fair, I'm a wolf, not a thing of play!"

Still insecure, the pigs thought it best to move
After all, the wolves would eventually find their groove
If they wanted to remain safe, they'd have to improve
And find a solution that mother pig would approve

A third wolf came around, coming from a land far away
Where pigs resist her taunts in houses made of clay
Perhaps this wolf would see where the first two went astray
And catch the little pigs without further delay

The house of wood was strong, but was it strong enough?
Rumour had it that this new wolf was very very tough
Wood may not have lasted against her huff and her puff
To beat this latest threat, they'd need some stronger stuff!

So three pigs conspired, they had to think quick!
This wolf was no slouch, they'd need something thick.
Finally, one pig thought, "why not use some brick?"
The others applauded, "that should do the trick!"

Thus, a hut was built, of the finest mortar and stone.
And the torrents came down harder, the wind would howl and moan
The rain pelted the rooftops, the storm disconnected the phone
And along came the wolf, and this one wasn't alone.

They imagined the walls crashing down, reminiscent of Berlin!
The pigs peeked out in fear, it was about to begin...
"Little pig, little pig, let me in!"
"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!"

And so she huffed, and she puffed, and she huffed again
Then blew with all her might, until her lungs were drained
The rustic house of brick was able to resist the strain
And the wolves decided it was time to end their campaign.

The first little pig remained in the house, withdrawn
Thinking the wolf threat was now completely gone
Little did pig know that the threat would respawn
As a fourth hungry wolf awaited on the lawn!

The pig heard a voice, and he called out from within,
"Who awaits on my lawn, and speaks therein?"
She said, "little pig, little pig, let me in!"
"Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!"

"But it's huffing, and puffing, and going to get cold!"
Confused, the pig decided it was time to be bold.
He cracked open the door, and lo and behold!
Was a friendly little wolf, with a teapot in hold.

"I just wanted to know," she said, "if you'd like some tea.
You already offended my sisters, one, two, and three!
And I thought it would be nice to share, if only you'd agree
We're only trying to be nice and neighbourly."

And thus it became clear, this was no deadly scheme,
All that huffing and puffing was just the call of the steam.
And now poor pig has a reputation to redeem,
Learning that wolves are not always what they seem.

August 12, 2007

Bookshelf Identity

Since the beginning of the year, I've hardly visited my own apartment. I've kept it around because I love the location, and it's been of great service to Muslim students that I've accommodated for the last little while.

Of late, I've been hosting large groups of visiting Al-Maghrib students in my apartment. I never actually meet these people, as I'm never around anymore. But often I wonder, when these people stay at my place, what impression does my home give to visitors who never actually meet me? As I returned to my apartment yesterday for the first time in months, I realized that my two bookshelves probably serve as the best indication of my personality.

In the foreground is my complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes, followed by project management notes I compiled during a training seminar I took last year. The rest of the books cover four years of Engineering studies, and a few other non-fiction publications. Sitting atop all these hardcover books is my little manual on changing the world.

My other bookshelf contains my Islamic content. The titles here effectively speak for themselves. The "Saviours of the Islamic Spirit" collection is a fantastic read, and the seerah shown to the right is among the best I've read. The top shelf contains the four volumes of Shaikh Abul Hasan's Qissasus Nabiyeen in Arabic, the reader of choice for the Shariah Program. All of these books were written by Shaikh Abul Hasan ali Nadwi rahmatullahi'alaih, whose contributions to modern Islamic scholarship are astounding. It is an unfortunate reality that such scholars, who transcended the petty differences we find our ummah mired in, are very few and far between today.

Overall, I do believe that the literature on my shelves is a fairly accurate reflection of my personality. I would imagine that any guests who perused my bookshelves would develop at least a rudimentary understanding of their host, even though they never met me in person.

What does your bookshelf say about you? Does it accurately reflect your personality?

This almost sounds like a tag. In which case, any blogger who is reading this is invited to display their own bookshelves, and share it with the world.

Update 2007.09.03: We have participants!
If anyone else has done this, then let me know and I'll put a link up here.