Those whose hair is red, of a certain peculiar shade, are unmistakably vampires.  It is significant that in ancient Egypt, as Manetho tells us, human sacrifices were offered at the grave of Osiris, and the victims were red-haired men who were burned, their ashes being scattered far and wide by winnowing-fans.  It is held by some authorities that this was done to fertilize the fields and produce a bounteous harvest, red-hair symbolizing the golden wealth of the corn.  But these men were called Typhonians, and were representatives not of Osiris but of his evil rival Typhon, whose hair was red.

The Malleus Maleficarum (“Hammer of the Witches:), trans. by Montague Summers (1971)

Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation…and as few of the English understand the German Language, and so cannot address them either from the Press or Pulpit, ’tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they once entertain … Not being used to Liberty, they know not how to make a modest use of it … I remember when they modestly declined intermeddling in our Elections, but now they come in droves, and carry all before them, except in one or two Counties … In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious.

Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion. 

Which leads me to add one Remark: That the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably very small.  All Africa is   black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new  Comers) wholly so.   And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians,  French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call   a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only   excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People   on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased.   And while  we are, as I may call it, Scouring our Planet, by clearing  America of Woods, and so making this Side of our Globe reflect a  brighter Light to the Eyes of Inhabitants in Mars or Venus, why should  we in the Sight of Superior Beings, darken its People? why increase the Sons of  Africa, by Planting them in America, where we have so fair an   Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, of increasing the lovely   White and Red? But perhaps I am partial to the Complexion of my Country, for  such Kind of Partiality is natural to Mankind.

Ben Franklin, Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, Etc. (1751)

The Ghazal is an ancient form of Arabic poetry written in rhyming couplets with a refrain.  Ghazals ordinarily deal love and separation, and are written from the perspective of the lover, not the loved.   The poets Rumi and Hafez often utilized the form, and it has come to be associated with Sufi mysticism. 

The Sufi form of Islam incorporates mysticism, much as Kabbalah is a mystic form of Judaism.  Practitioners of Sufi Islam are also known as Dervishes, although not all Dervishes practice the spinning dance that Westerners are familiar with.  Spinning (or “whirling”, if you insist) Dervishes are of the Mevlevi Order of Turkey.  The dance is part of a ritual called the Sema, in which the dancers attempt to reach religious ecstasy. 

Much of Rumi’s work has been translated into English, and English writers have also explored the form.  I find English ghazals, when written in the strictest form, sound like Petrarchan sonnets or possibly sestinas.

The American poet Robert Bly is fond of Arabic poetic forms and adopted the ghazal, albeit loosely, in his collection, The Night Abraham Called to the Stars.  The poem that follows is one of my favorites, and read aloud, puts me in mind of those spinning Dervishes.

The Night Abraham Called to the Stars

Do you remember the night Abraham first called
To the stars?  He cried to Saturn: “You are my Lord!”
How happy he was!  When he saw the Dawn Star,
He cried, “You are my Lord!”  How destroyed he was
When he watched them set.  Friends, he is like us:
We take as our Lord the stars that go down.
We are faithful companions to the unfaithful stars.
We are diggers, like badgers; we love to feel
The dirt flying out from behind our hind claws.
And no one can convince us that mud is not
Beautiful.  It is our badger soul that thinks so.
We are ready to spend the rest of our life
Walking with muddy shoes in the wet fields.
We resemble exiles in the kingdom of the serpent.
We stand in the onion fields looking up at the night.
My heart is a calm potato by day, and a weeping,
Abandoned woman by night.  Friend, tell me what to do,
Since I am a man in love with the setting stars.


Robert Bly, The Night Abraham Called to the Stars (Harper Perennial, 2002)