EVERYTHING’S AN OFFSHOOT

PUZZLE  copy

Everything’s an offshoot of something else
just as we are offshoots

So a boat on the high seas being tossed by waves
got there by a web of circumstances that
includes the tempest sunset whose
gorgeous glory fills the doomed with joy

Is our job to cut some shoots and
let others prosper?
Not all lead to healthy outcomes
but all are intertwined

A black rose filled with venom
as much as that deep red one filling the
house with death-defying fragrance

Each extension of ours from here to there
interconnectedly resulting from

that event now sliding into obscurity
while another event emerges with its
painted backdrop of sheep-filled valleys
under pellucid skies

One step away or toward somewhere rather than
somewhere else making a perfect
pattern if seen from above perhaps that being
the vantage from which the star shapes and
snowflake designs the circle coils and
black holes of our lives can be
discerned

leading always back (and forward) to a
divine spring rushing over

slick rock beds of wonder
_______________________________________________
7/6/2007 (from The Sound of Geese Over the House, in preparation)

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FLOWER SHAPES

cropped-cooked-oranges-cover.jpg

FLOWER SHAPES

Flowers in the shapes of cozy houses,
fountains in the shapes of windows
opening onto gardens,
roadways over bridges in the shape of
prancing white horses,
bridges leaping over gurgling streams in the

shape of two people in love gazing into
each other’s eyes over
tea and cucumber sandwiches,

esplanades in the shape of classical German literature,

trees flying upward like stationary flames,
their dark leaves rippling endlessly upward
in the shapes of deep-sea tropical lantern fish
suddenly become Flamenco dancers on a
hot Spanish night in Granada,

the garden itself in the shape of a heartbeat
all alone over the edge of the world, face
to the black night,

the black night itself in the shape of a
garden circling endlessly back
into itself like
circulating blood,

eyes and faces of children from the subcontinent
or from Madagascar, surrounded by
exotic vegetation,

the moment in which the garden is glimpsed
in the shape of all those missed opportunities
or in the shape of a sudden breakthrough in the
heart,

the heart of the garden, the voice of the
garden in the shape of an
angel’s wing that opens onto a
stairway within a stairway within a
stairway that leads either

up or down depending on your
preference, or where your

garden-shaped, fire-shod feet have led you in
this life.
_____________________________________________
6/8/97 (from Chants for the Beauty Feast, Ecstatic Exchange, 2010)

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UNTIL THE VERY LAST BREATH

CLOUD

When we look at death’s door it
looks like nothing at all

Blank and featureless
a serious expression on a featureless

face that could be gazing across
empty desert or a crowded room

at a dark frail flower limp on its
stem or a king propped up on his

ermine pillows surrounded by wives and viziers
or at a wall as blank as itself

in front of unfathomable space
full of indifferent planetary matter

whirling to its own music

a camel sleeping by a tent-flap
waiting to be mounted for a month’s trek

a plane smoothly gliding twelve hours homeward

a mortally sick pre-teen boisterously
chatting with ten best-friend schoolmates

a lone spider waiting too long on an
unprofitable web in a dusty under-populated

corner

This side of the door is the
only side of the door we can see

Centuries pass through the moment
and it remains the only

side we can see though before it in its
shady light and unambiguous atmosphere

huge ceremonies take place
and backwards celebrations with the

celebrants holding their breath

Oh ocean behind the door of true pure
silence

Ocean behind death’s door in us of true pure silence
by the shore of the living and most alive

daily ocean of silence

none of us alone for an instant
from your thralldom’s kingdom

have mercy on the little ones and the
afraid

You are God’s door in your
starry radiance

standing with no walls in
emptiness of space

each creature eyeing you with
fond hope and expectation

knowing the annals of your
complicated mythologies and your direct

irrefutable invitations

So many symphonies written to
woo you

so many choirs written to call up your
most sympathetic angels to soften the blow

so many doors for each one of us
erected in the stir and softness of

each one’s cosmos with their exact
particulars and names whispered or said out loud

God King of all this
King and Master of our allotted breaths

unmistakable recognition as the
door squeaks open a tiniest crack

and one sharp ray of Your Light pours out
even should we live many decades more

in perfect or in dubious health
our own bodies Your

death door behind which our
organs play their parts to the

best of their energies and according to
Your decree’s calculated speed

a lightning flash splatter shock above a
sleeping town

the irritable nose twitch on a
deeply hibernating bear

the first smile not from intestinal gas
on a new baby’s face

fairy lights over a meadow
bird flocks gathering in a spring

birdbath ten or twenty at a
time

time suddenly at the end of its
tether with no length left

Let the blast of Your sweet
Mercy never subside on all of us

one creature at a time
and all of us together

at once

Death’s door’s
silent smart momentary

ding dong bell

tart dewdrop
on our silent tongues

All’s well
_____________________________
3/25/14 (from The Sweet Enigma of it All)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, Death, fana fillah, ISLAM/SUFISM, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, Sufi Poetry | 14 Comments

Orpheus Wore That Look

Orpheu-Εsurydice

Orpheus wore that look of astonishment for the
rest of his life

How could he have been so
thoughtless as to turn around?

And so near the top?

Wasn’t hearing her behind him on the
steep gravel enough?

It was all dark anyway and he couldn’t
have made out those features that

so swung him around

In the end Majnun even says he doesn’t want to
actually be with Laila

He has Laila inside him

If we’re given a command and its
conditions knowing full well breaking it

entails disaster

what crazy mechanism inside us
whispers its shaytanic hiss to

flagrant disobedience?

Adam and Eve! Back to the original
in the leafiest loveliness known

plucking fruits at our pleasure
and being held accountable for our

wrong move so deeply inspired
a split second of

colossal miscalculation we
pay for for the rest of our lives

The two beloveds almost floating up the
steep incline from the Underworld

They could feel the upper air’s fresh
breezes on their eyelids and cheeks

Orpheus could have evermore sung his joy

Is this an explanation for the
rough time we have here?

We can’t control ourselves to do what’s
right?

Is lament the real song we sing
each time we sing?

Even as we dress it up as “Orpheus:
The Musical”?

Do we own any of this?
Is our own phantom lurking around in the

shadows to curse us?

Can’t our clear face face God and
win the day?

Can’t the Prophet’s mere gorgeousness in every
act of his control us?

God’s Peace seal us in His embrace?________________________________________________
4/19/14 (from The Sweet Enigma of it All, in preparation, insha’Allah)

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Saintly Places

SMOOTH ROCKS

We need to stand in saintly places
the way our body needs food to not topple over

We need to go there and find nearness there
even just a rude rock-strewn place where something

saintly took place or is taking place
tombs in giant sepulchers or a rude

rock-strewn place you can feel under your
feet or at the base of the heart the

non-physical saintliness of a real person in whom
God was by that person’s pleasing Him pleased

and stand there in its crystal waters rushing
past our ears and bathing our limbs the way

careful mothers of all creatures bathe their young
in the same way really we need to

find and stand in saintly places in this world
or stand with saintly ones and

stand with them for a time or for all time
and once found not ever leave their sainted precincts

in time or out of time
but stand with them

in their saintly places or those
who have gone before whose places are still

palpably alive the way even other live places
are not but these places are refuges and

refueling places not known anywhere
else on earth or with any other practitioners

and to stand in the bounty of a saintly place is
indescribable but evident if not then

then now in its great effect and the continuous affect
it has on us to

stand just once or have stood for even a small time
in space

in saintly places
___________________________________
8/10/2005 (from Stories Too Fiery to Sing Too Watery to Whisper, in preparation)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, amazement, fana fillah, gratitude, ISLAM/SUFISM, Kaaba, Light, Love of God, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, saints, Sufi Poetry, The Path, The Soul, waking up | Leave a comment

A LITTLE RAMSHACKLE SHACK

DIVINE NAMES

A LITTLE RAMSHACKLE SHACK

PART 1

A little ramshackle shack on a hill
blown apart by the wind
door roof and walls lofted aloft and sent flying
no weightier than paper upon which is casually written
a name
twists in the air almost signals goodbye then
suddenly is gone only
bare hillside left behind
a goat now stands upon
two goats a small herd after the wind’s died down
straggle along distractedly
chewing

Madame X is led out to the guillotine where a
head once encircled by ermine on a tall neck once
encircled by strings of pearls and glittering diamonds
rolls like a dark pearl into a basket its
eyes rolled heavenward its body relaxed
backward like a flung necklace onto a
marble tabletop in an
empty room after the
ball is over

2

Imagine the precise and daunting gears and
levers of the decree that led to all those innocent
people meeting death at the World Trade Center in
New York September 11, 2001
all the little accumulating gestures and maneuvers that
put them at their desks on schedule in time to die
the horrific fireball of the angel of death who may have
appeared to them all at the last as
cool refreshing waterfalls of light or open
delightful corridors leading to emerald green
gardens so bright with joy they forgot completely
how they got there

We all wonder how we’ll die
hoping for a soft bed in a warmly lit room surrounded by
loved ones after a short and not too uncomfortable
illness a kind of light cough or a
stitch in the side and that’s all
never imagining falling to the ground from 110 stories in the air
or twisted in molten steel like a tyrant’s cage
in suffocating smoke

Unthinkable

The high school diplomas the happy
vacation moments in Cancun across a turquoise pool
the epiphanies while reading Moby Dick
the birthday banquets with long-lost relatives
the recent wedding or long-awaited love letter received

It’s a lone figure in a woolen hat on a sheer white hillside
whose coat trails the ground and whose
footprints evaporate once the meeting’s taken place

It’s unfathomable and beyond any human
words devised to describe it
and for all those souls lost in the New York disaster
whose accidental but destined martyrdom is absolutely assured
(except ironically to the fanatically deluded
hell-bound perpetrators of the unthinkable
disaster itself)

there are coats of eiderdown so soft and pearls so ethereally gorgeous
so filled with subatomic music that pours out of
every gap in their weave to envelop the air in
ecstatic choir

And the divine shadow of Truth moves aside to let pour
a radiance so pure every moment set in motion in time
one step after another year after year that led to their
being there in the right place at the
supreme right time
suddenly becomes a series of perfect stepping stones like floating
lily pads over deep black water to a Paradise even our
most ornate imaginations cannot adequately imagine

3

People are very involved with having
faces and eyes and thoughts of their own and
smells in the odorous parts of their
bodies where the human anatomy dictates

They move with a certain self-consciousness which is sometimes
nonchalant and at other times unnatural
they can feel their spines hunched or vertically straight
and how their rib-cages make room for their
breathing

People are curious capsules of atmospheres and internal weathers
and at complete ease are either blessed with expansive
horizons or cursed with tics and foibles that
intensely constrain them
a consciousness that may include the Serengeti for example with
all its wild flora and fauna or the
bleached out and tattered prospect of simply
four walls a ceiling and a floor

Young ones often betray a jumpy and eager quality
old ones a sleepy and generally exhausted quality though they
may achieve beneficence from time to time as their
bones creak and their nerves ache

But each one is categorically a cosmos and has vivid
cosmological thinking and a deep appreciation of its consequences
and each one experiences the end of the
world when death appears like a
yawning sea to drown them in its
perpetuity

drawing back within it the
essence of their beauty

4

This is the music space
where music is most difficult
this place of joy and horror
sound of fuselage entering steel as if
slicing through butter

This is the silence out of which
all the thrilling chords emerge

This is the space of the silence of souls
at their moment of release

This is the air over a dewy wheat field
crackling like cellophane in the morning light

This is the music space
voices in a room of those
visible and those who are invisible

I think the music of the spheres
can be heard in this space

It’s the sound of life
which takes place without echo
or is nothing but echo

And the original sound is the
sound of God alone audible to Himself
and we are the humming elements of that sound

This is the music space
we hear it this very moment

It’s the sound of hooves
and nothing at all like the sound of hooves

It’s the endlessly heaving ocean-sound
which turns out to be our blood beating
and the deep tidal push of our own heartbeats

Each whisper of love and fear and grief
rises in this music space

And one single note is enough to fill it

And silence itself is part of it

And the silence or the sound that follows it
is also part of it
_______________________________________________________
9/15-16 (from The Music Space, Ecstatic Exchange, 2007)

(NOTE: I first read this poem in its entirety in public at an event produced by the New York ASMA Society in Grace Cathedral, January 19, 2002, Reflections at a Time of Transformation.)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, Angel of Deathj, Death, ETERNITY, ISLAM/SUFISM, Music, Music of the Spheres, Muslim Poetry, Muslim Prayer, NINE ELEVEN, POEMS, POETRY, signs of allah, Silence, Sufi Poetry, World Trade Center Tragedy | 2 Comments

World Split Apart

HANDS IN PRAYER

 

The façade of a building falls away and
reveals a man praying

A bakery loses its show-window showing a
hundred weddings who’ll have to
wait in the next world for their cakes

An Orthodox cathedral split in two
revealing a solemn baptism that’s now become
more like a drowning

A synagogue smashed like the tablets of Moses
the dust of the Torah continuing to
rise for years through the lunar cycles

A medieval mosque’s minaret struck into rubble
and the muezzin’s call going out bodiless
a hundred times louder

The road rutted with machinegun fire
and ghost cows dancing with their dazzled cowherds

New houses and old houses collapsing like cards
and the surprised furniture giving up their
inhabitants like birds released from their cages

Windows of government buildings falling into streets
revealing some making secret deals and others
receiving holy light for works of self-sacrifice
anonymously accomplished

A firehouse going up in flames and no
nozzle quenching it

A police department getting flattened and no
police whistles piping through the roar of falling plaster

Trees just coming into bud turning as black as
pokers their fruit both present and future
now gracing the fresh tables of the dead

Hillsides turning as black as ash
revealing lairs of tiny mammals
tremblingly shielding their young

This earth sliced apart like a unripe melon
revealing both incandescent fury
and radiant secrets of redemption
incomprehensibly intertwined

No one returning with a happy face at the
end of the day or followed by children like the
Pied Piper to safety beyond the rocks

The soul of man split asunder at the
first crack of unjust death and unjust retaliation

revealing a person naked drenched in
original water coming toward us surrounded by
anticipatory angels anxious for an

outcome already known to Him
who benignly created us

and Whose Voice rises inaudibly
above all other voices

saying over and over
the single word:

Peace
______________
8/2/2006
(from In the Realm of Neither, Ecstatic Exchange, 2009)

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Extend Your Shadow

AH DOORWAY

 

If you haven’t been parted from
what you truly love

then foot cannot follow foot
nor heart follow heart

Beasts born in the wild have the
wild to bring them to

their higher education

How can we see what
will wire us to bring us

to the deep circuitry of
God’s illumination?

None but Ahmad the Radiant One
peace be upon him

casts no shadow

Shall we cut away our shadows to
stride from them in the Prophet’s

shadowless dominion?

Or embrace our luscious darknesses
to both tame and extend their

shapely union?

The sun in each galaxy
is the central teacher

across this edgeless universe
of myriad circumferences

each sun the single pivot who
binds each orbit to its

divinely turning dances

and the tilt of its orbs
is each one’s consequences

Though the Prophet had the moon’s face
his Light was that of the sun

Oh Shams of all time to come!

In our own hearts galactic wheels
are turning

and the sound of melodic sighing
fills our ears with its burning

and its song of separation
fills our yearning

For everyone God’s departure has
never taken place —

Extend your shadow to become
the incandescence of His Face.
______________________________
18 Ramadan

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, fasting, fasting poems, ISLAM/SUFISM, POEMS, POETRY, Ramadan Poetry, shadow, signs of allah, Sufi Poetry | 1 Comment

Poem: All the Dead Children

LIGHTBURST


Angels are learning new tricks to entertain all the
dead children
just bringing them to a quiet place used to be enough
blue panels sonorous as cool winds rising to
infinite heights and
luminous rivers tasting of fresh milk and
passionflower honey

But now they are more restless and want something
lively such as fabulous displays and real
stellar extravaganzas to shut out the memories

All the wingéd horses have been brought in
and every banner from every battle ever waged
transformed into aurora borealis brightness is
planted on either side of the great arena which is
actually nowhere you can put your finger on and may be as
big as a sparkle or light years across

The angels begin conventionally enough and since they’re
anti-gravitational they are capable of some
pretty amazing feats their specialty being a
spinning array of a few billion shimmering their wings and

turning slowly at first in a
cone that goes up through so many dimensions the
children have to stop counting with
each dimension demarcated by another
color no one on earth’s spectrum has
ever seen before

Then the cone begins
turning faster and faster and shoots higher and higher
finally sweeping their astonished souls wide-eyed into a
vortex so swift they barely notice that they’re
arcing across fields of unearthly green and seas of
unoceanic turquoise

Each shroud has been made into a tent filled with
fabulous fruits and unidentifiable edibles of
uttermost succulence

Each soul has been given the Ultimate Glimpse
and the Accurate Portrayal
the Perfect Sustenance and the Infinite Intensity

Each time they clap their hands a new
universe appears
more fabulous than the last

And when they tire of such delights
William Blake reads to them from his new work
and Mozart comes in and plays them a tune
on a million pianos
_____________________________________________________________________
4/11/2003 (from Psalms for the Brokenhearted, Ecstatic Exchange, 2005)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, ISLAM/SUFISM, Muslim Poetry, Paradise for martyrs, POEMS, POETRY, Prayer | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Poem: Splendid Excitement of the Coming Day

THROUGH ROSE COVER SOCKO1

 

Splendid excitement of the coming day!

Palaces might await us filled with
the tangiest grapes

down esplanades of golden cypresses
behind walls we can

barely see over at dawn for the
height of their occasional distractions

But melodious lute music from a
hidden courtyard exudes

fragrant strums that
invite our hungry hearts to float past

their rough material stones

OK it’s a day of fasting whose
treasures remain unseen

but we can almost feel the
spatial pressure to let them burst and

unload over us as the day progresses

and though their
gold may be nontransferable on the

common market

already the gurgle of flashing rivers of love’s coins
delights our ears

and their deeper wealth entices us

Oh that sumptuous dazzling palace before us!
Wild festivities jingle-jangle there!

Endless dancing of heavenly bodies!

No breath taken that isn’t
Allah’s Name in a taste of

majestic succulence!
_______________________
8 Ramadan (from Ramadan is Burnished Sunlight, Ecstatic Exchange)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, fasting, fasting poems, ISLAM/SUFISM, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, Ramadan Poetry, Sufi Poetry | 1 Comment

Four Corners of the Universe

 

PUZZLE  copy

 

The four corners of the universe
can be seen as a little room

deep inside the universe with
planetary motions out each window

as we sit in the center of the room
fasting or eating

A giant phoenix in dazzling glory
carries it through space

or not
as you wish

Solid on a flat earth solid as rock?
But definitely

flying through space

like it or not
whether we fast or eat

live or die
go on after death or end up

dry bones bereft of souls

Flames lick around us
or a tall forest of sunflowers

sparrows chasing sparrows
through their ragged stalks

skylarks looping above in the
sky above us

The Kaba is a four cornered
room in the universe

Our Kaba hearts are
rooms in the universe

planetary motions out each window
and in their frames

faces of benevolence
waiting for our cycles of

fasting and eating to become

one lifting of our hungry
full or empty hands held out palms up

for planetary motions
to fill them

with splashes of original amber
_________________________
8/2/2011
2 Ramadan
(from Ramadan is Burnished Sunlight, Ecstatic Exchange, 2011)

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First Night of Ramadan

EID CARD 2007

 

A single stone is thrown in

and the canyon resounds with the

hallelujahs of angels

A single breath contains the
known and unknown universes

Back behind edgeless
space are motions that

vibrate the heart

Back behind ancient mountains and
historical intricacies

a shadow gives way to Light that has a
door in it to

let us through

We take no step that
doesn’t bring us nearer

One sip and the oceans disappear

One glance and the skies
bend closer to hear our

emptiness

One heart-wrench elegant elevation
and we’re on a

plateau tossing a stone in the dark
that never stops echoing
__________________________
8/1/2011
1 Ramadan, 1432
(from Ramadan is Burnished Sunlight, Ecstatic Exchange, 2011)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, ETERNITY, ISLAM/SUFISM, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, Ramadan Poetry, signs of allah, Sufi Poetry, The Path, The Soul | 3 Comments

Poem: Great Cruelty and Heartlessness

CIRCUS FIRE

 

We’re living in a time of great cruelty and heartlessness

where instead of a sun they’re throwing up
anvils

Instead of sunlight there’s the sound of
hammers beating

Instead of walking there’s kicking

Instead of thinking there’s talking

It’s almost as if there’ve never been times like
these before

Even shadows thrown by cartwheels on dirt roads
resemble the grimaces of armies as they
slide across rocks

In the palaces of power clocks go off but no one
wakes

Decisions are made by pouring acid down drains
or waiting for nightfall in a room lit by
neon tubes

If anyone speaks all eyes are upon them

I saw a sparrow fly over a fence

An ant stop and not go on

But laughter has turned to pebbles
falling on zinc

And children have been torn from their futures

____________________________________________________________

7/19/2006 (from In the Realm of Neither, Ecstatic Exchange, 2008)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, dead children, ISLAM/SUFISM, POEMS, POETRY, Sufi Poetry | Tagged | 6 Comments

THE PATH

Salt Prayers Collage

You start early
you’re nobody’s fool

You set out on foot
no snow will stop you

Shapes in the mist
statues of warriors

Arms raised and weapons

You’re undaunted
no footprints before you

You make your way

Wolf howls echo
Breath becomes audible

suddenly interior
You’re walking inwardly

Sounds of footfalls
You’re in the immaterial

A realm opens before you
traversed by saints before you

Now the way is clearer
though deep obscurity reigns

A landscape becomes sharper
deep colors appear

Rich greens and bright blues
echoes resounding around you

A path like glass or amber
cuts through the night like a flare

The black background of space dazzles
with its uncanny plethora of stars

Your heart’s a steady beacon
your forehead’s an unwavering beam

It’s not where you’re going that’s wonderful
but the glory of where you are

No light can compare with this brilliance
nor description match its beauty

A magnificent wanderer’s become you
breathless in a place of wonder

Who’s coming towards you in silence?
Who are these walking with you?

It’s not that their faces are obscured
their sheer radiance is blinding

A voice is actually calling you
A sound of clopping horse hooves

You’re in a valley of light

Shapes of things are their meanings
speaking into the ears of your heart

suspended invisibly in space

in which knowledges are constantly pouring
inexpressible on human lips

understood in the land of this dwelling
before and after words are spoken

As the sky’s planets shimmer their rainbows
and swirl their borealis glows

The dimensions open even further
as if flowers bloomed backwards into being

Words are gone and
God’s Presence mingles

What was thought is true
His embrace surrounds you

The impalpable becomes palpable
the conceived inconceivable

Crows fly in a blue sky
Yellow fields roll forward

What’s before you is behind you
collapsing all around you

Who comes towards you is
for you alone

for your safe invitation
to leave it all behind you

each moment before you
from the tip of you to the soul of you

moving ever within you
each step ringing true

each gesture a worthy one
each silence a vocabulary

of unimpeachable significance
the air parting around you

The way forward abounding
nothing left of barriers

that really never existed
nothing left but to be

in the constant company
of companions of sublimity

as simple as a rooster
crowing the dawns awake

all life’s light converging
just as it’s dispersing

to its place of purest origin
in the golden curve of His Hands

suspended just as our hearts are
in this life-extinguishing air

our houses all dissolving
into their constituent atoms

our relationships all dissolving
into their innermost resonances

We’re going ahead now without them
their cloaks whirl away completely

It’s a sound of rushing water
over rocks made slippery by time

Who’s there can’t be named as alive
but never before as alive as now

This is what living was made for
this vivid incomparable sweetness

raining incessantly inside you
no further fire can extinguish it

imprinted as firmly on your heart
as when you were first conceived

This splendor more splendid than
silvery skies

stretched out on every horizon
this shapeless shape that awaits you

now that you’ve passed beyond
imprecation

to be called back to anything lesser
as indelible as your veins turned

inside-out in the next world
vividly present in this one

standing on the road you began on
even before you set out

morning birds in the silence
crickets quiet in daylight

Your sudden presence multiplied
into one beating heart in silence

not yours alone in time
but God’s invisibly

whispering

_______________________
(from The Soul’s Home, 2013, soon to be published)

 

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OF MY MOTHER, 92, WITH ALZHEIMERS

 inez-mae-moore-small 01

1

I hate to think she may no longer dream of me.

She lies on her couch and stares at the ceiling
like a bird. Blinks and keeps
staring. Her arthritic fingers like bird claws.
But her face also reminds me of a cat’s,
looking completely with seemingly unseeing
eyes. Then comprehending. Then
not comprehending. Her

frail, cold form, cheeks sunken, hair so usually
carefully kempt, now spreading out white and
lank and long behind her head on the
pillow, hair I’d never seen not in some
beauty shop cut, now left to
nature, oblivious to fashion. Ancient.
Crone hair. Mother, my dear affectionate
mother, a crone. But a

sweet crone. “Should I be here? Is this
where I’m supposed to be?”

Blinks. Recognizes. Loses the
thread.
There on her perch in a kind of
silvery nowhere. Who

took me downtown to the movies, by bus, later by
car, who dressed me warmly, snapping the
leather strap of my
cap under my chin, who
took me across the Bay Bridge to
San Francisco on the train (the span under the
automobile level above), and I

remember so pungently the smell of the
Hills Brother Coffee factory on the
San Francisco side, and the
coffee cup up-tilted ecstatic
Arab in yellow robe and white turban bigger than
life on the billboard. That was my

mother who took me there, who tilted her
head and smiled, and flirted, and hated her
round gray mother for flirting, and she even

now flirts on the bed, face up at me, winking,

frowning, opening eyes wide, pulling down her
mouth, then smiling that heartbreaking

mother’s smile. My

mother’s smile.

2

The Prophet Muhammad said Paradise lies at the
feet of mothers, and I
know it’s true.
My mother lies there with
Paradise at her feet, frail feet now in
soft moccasins, barely able to get her to the
bathroom with her aluminum walker for support,
her thin blue-scribbled legs, whiter than paper,
yet Paradise is there. She

spoon-fed me. That’s the
fountains of Paradise. She
held me close, that’s the
affection of Paradise, and worried herself to
death about me, and had the
dread despair, and was so

glad when I called, and looked into my
face now long and hard and
put her arms around my
neck with extraordinary almost vicelike
grip to kiss me, and though her

kiss, so dry, so cold, lips weathered, was
the kiss of death, on me and on her, it was the
kiss of life, a mother’s kiss, which is the

endlessly flowing rivers of Paradise with a
supernatural light flickering along their ripples,
and the air of Paradise is the mother’s atmosphere,

where she walks, where she
lies stretched out now, hands plucking a
coverlet, veiled eyes fastened on the
ceiling, already more in

Paradise than here. O God, may You

take her there!

3

Silver-haired Siberian mothers!

Hoolah!

Stalking snow-deer, a bone clenched between their teeth,
silver eyes clenched against
storm, determined to get there!

Hoobah!

Natural Wisconsin mothers on cow farms in denim
skirts and boots of rough leather, rope
burns on hands, faces of raw cow milk,
cheeks of burnt straw, eyes of hot
water!

Ooyah!

Moccasin mothers against high winds putting
feather skin capes over moon-faced papooses,
cowering in teepee dark, hearts beating deep,

Cachaw!

Mothers in circle making quilt, toothless,
once-beautiful, lissome,
nimble-fingered, breasts bone, breasts now
dry as bone,
lonesome in their plenitude,

Bashah!

Mothers and more mothers, floating horizontal, head to
toe, great rings of them revolving
around the globe!

Hooshah!

Mothers everywhere!

Living in wood crates on Chinese docks,
palaces with carpets five inches thick,
high rises, tenements,
the projects, the dumps, scrounging supermarket
tips, dipping croissants in
thick cream in outdoor Parisian cafés to feed their
young, birds in the air, mouse mothers in
holes, my mother in

California waiting patiently for death.

“Should I be here? Where
should I be? Is this all right? What
are you going to do now?”

“I’m just going to sit with you for a while,
mom. I’m just going to
hang out with you for awhile.”

“OK.”

__________________________________
4/1/98 (from You Open a Door and it’s a Starry Night, Ecstatic Exchange, 2009)

 

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, Sufi Poetry | Tagged | 1 Comment

HE COMES RUNNING

Image

(Note: A new chapbook of poems written in Turkey recently, in pocket size format,
during sohbets (talks) given by a saintly teacher, my zone listening to the Turkish
producing these amiable meditations. Calligraphies punctuate the poems, by great
Chinese calligrapher, Haji Noor Deen. Available now from the printer:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/daniel-abdal-hayy-moore/he-comes-running-poems/paperback/product-21486183.html. There’s also a preview on the
printer’s page.)

Three poems:

11

At the dawn call to prayer from
the nearby lovely spindly-minareted
mosque crossing adhans from other
minarets by loudspeakers all the
dogs near and far begin to yip and
howl and bark in chorus as well

Are they Satan’s dogs howling in
disrespect to keep the believers
away or are they God’s dogs
joyously celebrating the calls
and joining in annunciatory glee

extending the call to the dog
world and any other sleepy
canines within the ears’ both
short and triangular or long and floppy
compass of sound?

12

There were chickens and geese
and strange pointy goose-tongues as
they hacked their greetings or
admonitions at us through the
fence

Then later sheep and straggly
odorless rose bushes and a
bright orange flower with
sheep in the distance

A bare and barren landscape
with dry grasses rough hedges and
bluish mountains in the distance
that Van Gogh with bamboo pens
and sepia and India ink could
bring to vibrant life with quick
stipple strokes and a thousand
heartfelt dots

13

While awaiting the king’s arrival
seventy foals were born in
a barn filled with illuminated
straw

Three cities submitted to a very
short tyrant’s army because of
the size of the brass buttons on
their uniforms

Hair and nails got longer and the
seasons changed

Little by little a fair outline of the
king emerged and some said
they saw it between the forest
trees and others that they ate
with it just after dawn

Maybe the king was already
with us all along

Posted in ISLAM/SUFISM, Light, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, Sufi Poetry | 1 Comment

LITTLE BLACK FLY ON THE WALL

light

The little black fly on the wall doesn’t stop to
think what he knows, those
multiple eyes are enough. God’s
sight through them shows him the world.

Birds don’t think, “Fly or soar as I
      might, I’m only a bird in a
         bird’s world, one
      eye on each side of my head, my
            limited universe not
                 enough!”

The worm in the sod blind as
death, pushing through darkness it may not
see, does it think
“I wish I could stand
on two legs in a drawing room and sip
tea as I listen to someone
     at a spinet play Mozart”?

Enclosed in the world, we enclose the world, and
it’s enclosed inside us until
we open. We’ll bump into
every wall until we

go from world to
Creator of world, Who’s
given us our world apparatus and sensitive
contraption for grasping the world, and
if we sight along His
cross-hairs in the

Unseen we should
see Him originating this
display.

He who
creates us as we
go.

Fly, bird and worm, and
man, hearts on the
optical throne.

Light
filling us to the brim.

In which to
see Him.
________________________
(from Miracle Songs for the Millennium, 1996, being edited for publication)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, amazement, ETERNITY, Light, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, signs of allah, Sufi Poetry, The Path, The Soul | 2 Comments

Mawlid in New Brunswick, NJ, this past Friday, alhamdulillah…

Salaama

Here’s a video snippet of the singing during the New Brunswick Mawlid I participated in. I’m the left hand corner squinting at the text… the singing was so reminiscent of mawlids in Morocco due to the fine leadership of Shadee Elmasry (in white burnoose), head of the Center there… It’s not the best fidelity nor the most ecstatic moment… but a taste… with a few hundred folk out of camera shot… 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151821222077191

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By Our Smallness We Know Your Vastness

SPARROW COVER A

 

O Prophet of Allah, by our smallness we know your vastness,

by our electron microscopes we know in this world
how very little of the whole world we can know —

what shape we are in, what velocity through space, how
      organically we are connected
to everyone else in this race that has
     spread out so thoroughly from the
            loins of Adam.

Right now, our knowing ourselves to be alive,
that sense of total infusion between sound of
      motorcycle on the street outside
with the picture of silver-edged sublimity we have of you
superimposed in out-of-time dimensions
for the gesture of transmission to be triggered
1400 years ago through the tumult of time
        to now!

Transparency of leaf over leaf
in the leaf mold of totality!

Layered celluloid maneuvers of still pictures
to the illusion of motion.

Has time elapsed since the first time
    Allah blew into His
       Light and said:

      Be Muhammad?

Has the fish embryo developed into rapacious shark
with slit eyes and merciless teeth
    who turns its white bulk
       and swims away?

The sands of Sayyedina Muhammad stretch in all
six directions at once!

Connecting us to that first sand grain
     puffed into space
that finds its place in the sea of a trillion grains
one so next to the other
or so on top of the other, or so underneath

in infinite array past
all mathematics but the supra-elemental
     accountancy
that goes on to a zero
that drops its silver egg
into the infinitesimal yawn of space
     who feels nothing
        and goes on as usual

since nothing at all has happened
but the repetition of the Divine Name
      on Its Own Lips

in the everywhere at once of original night.

O Prophet of Allah,
you were sent out of this

to tell us, being of it, to lead us, being
from it, to its

Source, its spark, its

original
one time

special
stopping place. 
______________________________________________________________
(from Sparrow on the Prophet’s Tomb, The Ecstatic Exchange, 2009)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, ISLAM/SUFISM, Mawlid Poem, Miracles, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, Praise of Prophet, Prophet Muhammad, signs of allah, Sufi Poetry, The Prophet | Leave a comment

Winter Scene

WINTER NIGHT IMAGE

(Note: Though this poem was written in 2001, amazingly it turns out to have been written the same date as tonight, January 7, during one of the coldest Polar Vortex chill blasts I’ve experienced, and certainly the coldest in many years in Philadelphia. With prayers for the indigent and God’s warmth on them…)

Cold winter night blue snow crust on the ground
colors bleached out to only a few from the usual spectrum

even multicolored things in black and white now
palladiums of xylophone ice cabinets in a near dimension suspended

just above ground level played on by angels using
devilish mallets to make long low echoing plongs of sound

reverberate among skeletal trees housing the few birds
left in their snow coats trying to snooze heads deeply

buried in wing-pits like tight
feather balls for a sport frozen in space the pitch

suddenly stopped in midair until spring thaw
when all will float freely in space again against

flittering green backdrops and uncoiling scarlet splashes and
a soft golden ubiquitous light even in the middle of the night

it seems with earth’s blood flow pulsing so
youthfully again through the vision screen

and everything again like a golden
ocean in motion with all its leaping arcs and arches

not like the 
present suspended animation of the silvery ice-world held in the

center of planetary star-space like a single round teardrop frozen on its
sad descent to nowhere from no particular

origination to no clear destination but dear God’s good
pleasure through all His various weathers rapidly

shifting from hot to cold and
back again in our 

hearts
______________________________________________________
1/7/2001 (from Blood Songs, The Ecstatic Exchange, 2012)

Posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, ISLAM/SUFISM, Light, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, signs of allah, snow, Sufi Poetry, winter | Leave a comment