A Spell of Enchantment by Maureen Grady

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A Spell of Enchantment
by Maureen Grady

Of mint tea and dates,
of Casbah and Medina,
of rugs and calls to prayer,
of minarets and plums,
of green figs and honey,
of Medrassa and holy bread,
of the music of Arabic,
of all tastes of tagines,
of hammam and black soap,
of Roman ruins and silence,
of orange flower oil and coffee scrub,
of cinammon and palm fronds
of henna hands and devotion,
of African drums,
of silversmiths and apricots,
of feral cats among ruins,
of water-bearers and olive-sellers,
of gratitude and the Eid,
of gardens of Eden,
of vast plains and sheltering sky,
of the alchemy of Fez.

PHOTO: Fez, Morocco. Photo by Chronis Yan on Unsplash

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NOTE: Fez is a city in northern inland Morocco, the country’s second largest city after Casablanca, with a population of 1.22 million (2020). The city is home to the University of Al Quaraouiyine founded in 859—considered the oldest continuously functioning institute of higher education in the world. Fez’s Chouara Tannery from the 11th century is one of the oldest tanneries in the world. The city has been called the “Mecca of the West” and the “Athens of Africa.”

PHOTO: The gate Bab Bou Jeloud (The Blue Gate to Fez)  leads into the old medina in Fez, Morocco, Fez el Bali. Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A dear friend Kim LeBlanc, working in Morocco, took me to Fez, a singular gift. The pure alchemy of Fez deeply affected me. Though I had long imagined it, the sensory details were overwhelming, magical and mysterious. I often dream of it.

PHOTO: The author in Fez, Morocco.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Maureen Grady is author of two books of poetry: Unpack My Heart With Words (2015), and Land of Dream and Dreamer, Poems of Ireland (2019).  Maureen is a writer, teacher, actor, producer, and private writing coach.  She has taught British and Irish Literature, Shakespeare, and Creative Writing for many years. Her private creative writing conservatory has nurtured many young women writers. Maureen was fortunate to have John L’Heureux as a mentor at Stanford, and studied with Seamus Heaney and Eavan Boland.  She has won two teaching prizes: the student-nominated “One of LA’s Most Inspiring Teachers,” and a national recognition for teaching Creative Writing from Scholastic Books given at Carnegie Hall by Tony Kushner. Maureen is a graduate of Stanford University with a BA in Literature, minor in History/Art History. She also has a Masters in Theatre. Maureen is an Irish and US citizen and divides her time between Ireland, Italy, and America, and longs to see all the world.

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