Robert Minhinnick was born in South Wales in 1952 and still lives there. He visited Iraq in 1998 to make a film. He sets the poem in Palestine Street, a major Baghdad street, named after the Arab-occupied region of Israel. Baghdad was at the centre of the first Gulf War, defended by Saddam Hussein’s Imperial Guard in what he called ‘the Mother of all Battles’. The title of the poem relates to a type of date-producing palm tree that is frequently mentioned in the Qu’ran. The tree’s leaves, bark and fruit are used for a variety of purposes including timber, rope, food and fuel.
The poem describes what the narrator sees as he walks along a main street in Baghdad. Some of the scenes the narrator ses as he walks along the street are violent, whilst others are peaceful. The following videos and PowerPoint gives you key information about the poem. Use this to help with your comparison essay – due in on Monday.