Five Short Meditations on the Virgin Mary

for Abdal-Hakim Murad


The Virgin Mary sat on a rock that was not wholly rock
in a world that was not wholly world

in a light that was Light direct
in the echo of a Command that came from God direct

whose womb was now to house a halo more than she could
possibly long for

and which made her fear
and caused her angel messenger to comfort her

as he stood at the door and mentioned how
God had designated her the hallowed hall for His pure breath to enter

to make a child with no seed but Himself
to show mankind His holy fatherhood over all

within the physical
but without physical union


The pen is hardly lifted

The penalty for birth is death

But he who would be born without coitus
would slide out of death without its mortal coil

Would be taken up to God without entering death’s womb
as he had entered Mary’s womb without birth’s usual folderol

She clutched a tree to steady herself
and dates fell to the ground around her

And he spoke to her from herself
to steady her

Rings of tumult sang around her

The Garden’s tree was now there to strengthen her
her nearing it part of God’s ordained structure

to redeem Adam and Eve’s descent to earth
by new prophecy through standing under
the virgin birth-tree’s sacred agency

Adam of no visible parents
Eve of no mother but father Adam’s rib-side
being both mother and father

now terrestrialized again in Mary’s husbandless pregnancy

though all of us are actually children
of much more than our mere mother’s earthly sympathy


I saw Mary board a bus at Broad and State
her head covered and her face radiant

small and held within herself
careful and preoccupied

a heaven seeming to be wrapped around her
her cheeks red her lips dry her eyes lowered

interior moisture her preferred cloister
the bus passengers sudden ghosts before her

her shoes small and tattered
her hands carrying a book

If any had spoken to her she might have become lost

If she had spoken to anyone
they might have become saved


None can be Mother of God but God
nor Father of flesh but God Himself

Jesus begat in light sat in light and was transformed into light
beyond light’s shapes of dark and light

his salutation from where he is continues to excite us
just as Mary’s humility brings us home
to where impossible things are true
and true things impossible or possible by our own lights

to submit as purely to God’s sheer command of: Be!
more than enough to be

in Being’s age-long mystery


In Ephasis is Artemis
with multitudes of breasts
and legend says where Mary went
and where she died and rests

Teets our forms are fed from
virgin light that salves our souls
the two eternal females
through whom our life unrolls

The Virgin ever virginal
in modesty extreme
and Artemis whose many breasts
supply an endless stream

One statue standing among rocks
the other in her cave
whose house of stone is all alone
within the Light we crave

Walking in the woods as is my wont in the morning
June 9th 2005 Philadelphia Pennsylvania after strong storms and
all the trees dry now creaking in the heat and humidity
thinking of this poem and the editor of this chapter’s request for it
thinking of Mary peace be upon her
walking along the trail
I suddenly hear a crack like horrendous thunder seemingly from
far away but look up above me in time to see a
huge bough break from the top of a tall tree with a giant screech and
hurtle down toward me at seemingly supersonic speed
I step aside yelling “Allah!” automatically heart thumping
and the heavy branch crash-lands exactly where I
stood a split second before and breaks into four or five
raw pieces cracked and shattered and me shocked and grateful
thanking Allah over and over thanking Him with all my being
my position just under it one split second before happily not there for it to
crash onto me now safe and sound at the side of the trail
I wonder at the force of it as I continue now to wonder
Allah’s full and Awful Power exposed to me direct from the
core of the universe as if sky and earth and mortality itself were
opened up in the blink of an eye
and my life actually only a literal hair’s breadth away
from death

At the Thursday night Sufi meeting I describe it in detail
to Baji our Pakistani shaykha and first thing she asks is
“What were you thinking just before the bough broke and fell?”
and when I tell her I was thinking of the Virgin Mary
she says without a moment’s pause
“Just as Allah protected and saved Mariam
so Mariam protected you
and saved you!”

(A shorter version of this poem first published in the book: Mary, The Complete Resource, edited by Sarah Jane Boss, continuum books, 2007)

About danielabdalhayymoore

Poet, artist, collagist, publisher, hoping to save a little bit of the world through ecstatic utterance... ordered in balanced lines and unpremeditated images...
This entry was posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, ISLAM/SUFISM, POETRY. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Five Short Meditations on the Virgin Mary

  1. RootedOnClouds says:

    As-Salaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

    Thank You and Masha’Allah!

    My new favorite poems; and how fitting for their author to be one who has chosen the wonderful name(and vocation of) “Abdal-Hayy”! You been blessed by Al-Hayy to be a “being” with a particular talent for expressing the miracle and beauty of “Being” that’s so easy for all of us to take for granted.

    As a Muslim convert who has an Orthodox raised father and a Catholic raised mother, I have a special appreciation for this.

    I consider these poems a thorough but brief Muslim commentary on a very intersting book I just finished called “The Veil of Isis” by Pierre Hadot.

    La ilaha illa Allah,


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