Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Ego, Me, Myself and I

The human ego is a creature of great intelligence. And above all else, it craves attention. Win or lose, it will feed on the debate of your mind. So, come on. Forget about it. Read a book. Tidy the garden. Something useful and beneficial, rather than be drawn into a lengthy debate with your ego. You can never win, you know…

I don’t know whether this is normal. Heche certainly doesn’t think so. Sometimes, when I am alone, my head is suddenly echoing with all sorts of thoughts. Unfortunately, they tend to be negative. I can quite literally work myself up into a knot of fear, anger, envy and sadness. Ignore the whispers, I used to counsel myself. Don’t listen to them. To use psycho-language, they are a mental projection of my own feelings and Ego, projected on the screen of my mind. God-like, they do not exist unless I make them exist. But unlike God, I cannot simply wish them away. So what I do is, I just try to ignore them …

44. Uninvited Guest (With Shal)
If a fox has entered your house,
Just leave the door open,
Do not look at the fox too closely.
Better still, just let it be,
For the fox will eventually go away,
It won’t stay.

And if it does steal some chicken,
That’s fine.

People eat too much chicken, anyway.

(No.44, from ‘the Dam.Munir.Ana’. P.S. I sometimes have a particular friend in mind when I write, so it appears I had my good friend, Shal, in mind when I wrote this. I don't know if he is meant to be the fox or the chicken. Hehehe.)

It doesn't work all the time. But a happy memory, company of a friend, or simply keeping busy, often chase my blues away. I think the point is... we cannot do this alone. I think we should stand up right now and applaud our friends and family, these saints who stick by us and tolerate our failings and mad utterings! God bless them... I would be so much the poorer without them.

Without you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mercy and the End of Hell

If it is not merciful, it is not Islam. If it is not beautiful, it cannot be Islam. If it is not conscionable, really, how can anyone say it is Islam? Yet, there are some people who …

If some people had their way
We would be on our hands and knees
Looking for stones to throw.
They would divert Allah’s Mercy
So that to the Ocean
No river shall forevermore flow.

(the Dam, No. 11, from ‘the Dam.SunSun.Ana’)

I cannot bear their ways, nor do I find my journey bend to their sway. They are familiar to me, such men. Yet we are different, for we may recite from the same verse, but what they bring into their reading, and what I take from mine are opposites. It is sad. Yet it is fated.

For you see, I am told of this Shepherd of a faraway desert city. The verses came through him like reverberations of a mighty bell …

Who was this kindly shepherd
Forced to leave his Mecca Home?
Mercy flowed from his hands and words
With patient fury of raindrops upon a stone.

(the Shepherd, No. 18, from ‘the Dam.SunSun.Ana’)

This was his beautiful way. And I am in love with him and the beauty of his merciful nature. For above all else, how shall we conduct ourselves, if it is not to be merciful to one another. A transaction entered without contract, but recorded by a presence that you cannot sense, save perhaps for the gentle flapping of their wings. It was at such a place called the Secret Hollow that I was taught the value of a secret charity ...

In the Gardens of Paradise,
There is a Secret Hollow,
Where Huris and other distractions
Of Heaven do not enter.

Therein dwell the givers and receivers of Mercy
Who had conducted their transactions in secrecy.

Those who hid in the deepest well of their hearts,
Their charities, prayers and salty tears.

Those who gave and received Blessings in the Name of God;
Hiding their virtues, which they themselves consider ignoble,
From the all-consuming eyes and ears of common people,
Keeping their deeds, like the bride in her veil,
Only for the Eyes of the Groom.

With their God, they never barter,
Seeing only Him, and no other.

(The Secret Hollow, No.14 from ‘the Dam.Munir.Ana’)

My seekers! My troubled readers! We are together, you and I, brothers and sisters in the commonwealth of mercy. And to forgive ourselves? Where and how? To whom do we ask? Prophet said, "ask Hu…"

O’ self-abhorring and self-absorbed man!
Others you may forgive,
But you can never forgive yourself,
For your needs are Mine to Attend To.

Learn to forgive your brother,
And see just how your Lord treats the wanderer
Who exhibits My Attributes,
And who in My Mercy despairs never!

Hah! Are you not glad that your demerit
Is not in the purview of someone other than Me?

(Remorse II, No.59 from “the Dam.Munir.Ana’)

So I leave you in happy communion with your Lord God. As for me, I will continue to chill at the edge of reason, licking my holypop, waiting for the End of Hell. The Closure of Dante’s Purgatory. It is gonna be quite a show, I am told…

We lie across the chasm,
Our eyes gazing into the abyss
A bridge over the inferno,
The black fires from black coals.

We lie across the chasm,
As others walk upon our backs,
Across the abyss they stride
High above the black fires for black hearts.

We gaze below and our eyes are tearful
In dread and sorrow for the lost sheep
Destined to wander the land of despair
Through the black fires of black desires.

We are those heard by the Lord
Who commands that our tears do fall,
Like mercy rain upon the plain of desolation
As white snow consumes black halls.

We are those graced by Time,
And see beyond the pale of Memory,
To a day shall come when watercress shall grow
In the deepest abyss of black fire and woe.

(The Bridge, No.1 from ‘the Red Baron’)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My prophet is not dead... He Resonates!

122. Not Dead
Oh, my Mighty King!
I have not left my flock unattended,
I have not left any fences unmended,
I have left stars that any, if lost, may follow home.

But a cold wind is blowing,
Carrying my memories far away,
Blackness is creeping in,
And though they know how to pray,
They have left my way.

Save for my heirs and heralds,
The fulcrum of this Age,
Still toiling in their mortal cage,
Long-bearded, the white, the black and the grey,

In their hearts, evil holds no sway,
In their hearts, Your Name resonates,
In their hearts, I still live,
Not dead.

(From the Dam.SunSun.Ana)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Love Test

Seven years ago, at an unbelievably young age of 34, I contemplated love and its tests...

I am He who heals all wounds
I am He who cherishes the afflicted
I am He whom you claim to love
What is love if it is not tested?

(No.55, from 'the Dam.SunSun.Ana')

When in fact, it was love that was all along contemplating us. Not in that from-a-distant divine telescope, but right up to your jugular gritty red-eyed stare...

In my pursuit of Beauty,
I have clasped embers,
Thinking them Pearls,
I have waded rivers of kufr,
Thinking them streams of Jannah,
I have lived, loved and lied,
Thinking I will never be found out,
I have slept in filthy sties,
Thinking them beds of clouds.

I have been proven wrong,
And see all too clearly now,
To whom I belong.
And that it is not I
Who is pursuing Beauty,
But in truth,
Beauty is pursuing me.

(No.77, from 'the Dam.SunSun.Ana')

Any how, have I passed the test? Alas, no. I am sitting for repeats, every freakin' day. To all those souls, who are facing the tests again... good luck, comrades! And for those lucky, lucky few who have passed and moved on to greener pastures, I only ask of you this...

How DID you do it?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just for You

My friend, Nun Tuck, says that "summer afternoon" are the most beautiful words in the English Language. For me though, it is grey skies, morning drizzle and (little) puddles on sidewalks that make my day...

Layla II
Grey skies and smiles,
Bent boughs and swaying willows,
Falling leaves and morning showers,
Wile away my happy hours,
And leave me in no doubt,
That He made them all, friends and foes…
Just for me.

(No.172, from the "Dam.SunSun.Ana")

I guess that makes me, to use a British politico-slang, a Wet. What about you? Of all the disconsonant poetry in nature, what makes it for you? If you have no particular favourite, that is fine too. No pressure.


Update 1.11am 21.07.10 - The heavens opened up with great gusto this evening. Yet another tree fell near my house. Lightning bombarded the house, the electricity tripped twice, before finally giving in. Met Heche and acted like an absolute fool. Made up, and in the finality of events, the moon slipped between two wisps of cloud to grace the sky like a benevolent eye. All's well that ends well then. Ya Hu...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Lord of Jerusalem II

If you are the northern cliffs,
I am the glacier that
Runs through your
Redoubtable hills,

If you are the sun,
I am the comets
That blew by
When you
Were young
And hasty,

If you are the raging sea,
I am the beacon standing
By you, bright like a star
And shining from your
Empty shore,

If you are the desert,
I am the oasis to
Quench the thirst
Of men driven mad
By your desolation.

But you are none of the above,
You are simply you,
And I remain myself
To give unto thee such love
That I possess beyond
The poverty of wealth.

Tis’ not Jerusalem that
Yields to me,
For I am here now,
And I yield to Jerusalem
And her Lord.

No.56, is extracted from "There Are Only Two Words in the Language of Love", a chapter of 123 poems recorded circa end 2008. It is part of a corpus of romantic poetry written over the course of 2 years, which I like now to name the "Heche Verses". Some people like to say that God is a necessary third in a loving relationship. And I used to agree. But now, as I am softly comforted by a late evening shower, I say that God is the first and the last. The Alpha and the Omega, The Awal and the Akhir of any relationship. He is the transmuting catalyst, the cause and consequence of love.

For those who practise the arcane science of love, may you find Him in the petri dish of your daily experiments and nightly congress of love. He is the Hidden, but He is also the Apparent. If He wishes, you will undoubtedly find Him, whether you are looking for Him or not.

Fairness? But there is no fairness in love, my pretty.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How? (No.28 from "The Bride's Dress")

I am a fool, but by my presence, I know there are wise people everywhere.
I am selfish, but by my presence, I know that there are generous souls here.
I am deceitful, but by my presence, I confirm the existence of the truthful ones.
I am an ingrate, but by my presence, I am aware of people who appreciate.
I am short tempered, but by my presence, I know there are apostles blessed with patience.
I am a sinner, but rejoice, for there are saints here!
And though I am a miserable beggar, here in the gutter I can still see yonder, spires and domes of the Palace of the King!

What sort of poem title is "How?"?! Especially when it appears to have no correlation whatsoever with the poetry itself? If I could, I would step back in time and face myself with that question. Yet I fear my past self would take one look at me and simply say, "What the heck are you doing here? Go back to the future! Don't try to bugger about with fate. And by the way, what have you been doing to me... you must have put on at least 15lbs. Go to the gym, you hippie!

Friday, July 16, 2010

How to write (what I write)

If you sit quite still,
And as long and as quiet as you can,
Eventually a butterfly will alight on your pen,
And guide your hand,
To render in ink,
What strange dreams and thoughts
That butterflies dream and think.

(Also called 'Butterfly II', No.206 from the Dam.SunSun.Ana chapter)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't feel Bad.

My friend, Munim, asked me through sms this morning, “How many birthdays have you got?”. And I dutifully replied, “365 birthdays a year as a sufi, but otherwise only 1, babe. Like everyone else.”

A sufi? It is a grand thing, but a label much used and abused. For I am no sufi. I am a sinner. Perhaps not even a great sinner, but I guess a typical everyday-sorta bumbling sinner. So why is it that we often beat ourselves mercilessly over the head when we transgress? Is that good? Is it necessary?

I believe that in the throes of regret, we often allow ourselves to be carried away by our emotion. Feeling miserable and abandoned. Feeling Bad. But really, are we? Our ego, our Public Enemy No.1, likes to take credit in all that we do. It is true that our ego feeds on our piety and charity, leading to hubris.

I suspect however that the ego also feeds on our sense of regret and shame. The ego builds up a Cellulite of Sin, blocking out everything else. No sunlight to warm our cold heart, no mercy to polish our mirror. No hope for the wicked. So great, so MAGNIFICENT is our sin, that we forget God. Hurrah for Taufiq! The Great Sinner! I am so good at being bad that even the Devil visits my blog! Btw, this is no joke. Its true. But the Devil has not joined as my follower.

This is the game we play with ourselves. Hmm ...

My dear friends, it is all pretences and pretensions. We are not so bad, you and I. I doubt if we would even get a honourable mention in the 100 Most Famous Sinners book. Alas, the author of that book (an angel whom I shall not name) once glanced at my histrionics and simply commented, “Good grief. Get a life, you drama queen.”

God is the All-forgiving. All-Loving. He says so himself. I cling to this belief in hope. Indeed, it is my greatest hope of all. The only trick is that I find my belief stronger when I am myself forgiving and loving… (that's a blinding flash of the Obvious!)

No Complains (114, from 'the Dam.SunSun.Ana' chapter)
Oh my Lord,
I have no cause for complains
So have no complains against me
Oh my Lord,
I have no one to judge
So judge nothing against me
Oh my Lord,
I have no one to expose
So expose nothing against me
Oh my Lord
I have nothing but mercy for others
So have nothing but mercy for me

Oh my Lord,
I have nothing but love for others,
So let Your Love be my warders,
Bind me in Your fetters,
And set me free never.

You may be surprised that at times (too often), I am neither forgiving nor very tolerant. But why should you be surprised at all? I am after all, just a sinner.

Have a bodacious day.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

If I love thee (27, from 'Muhammad, My Only Other')

If I love thee, my love
Do not take me for granted,

Though I will not withdraw
What I have given,
Is that reason to be
So callous with me?

Is that reason to call
Unto me only when
It pleases thee?

Call on me in the
Break of day,
In the stillness
Of thy lonely nights,
Call on me in
Your heartbreak,
When all is bleak,
And without light,
Call on me
When thou are wrong,
Call on me when
Thou are right,
Call on me,
And to me,
Never be shy,
For I shall never
Be deaf to thee
Nor answer thy plea
With the question, "Why?".

When my servant remembers me,
I do not question him,
It is only when he is forgetful,
That I seek to wake him
From his slumber and
Troubled dream.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Let me be the Wine (14, from 'Muhammad, my Only Other')

O’ love,
Let me be the wine that you drink,
The mead that will drive you blind,
To end your speculating,
To end all thinking,
To bring you to Him,
As you brought me to Him,
Singing His gentle hymn,
Awake and in the closeness
Of my peaceful dreams.

Let me be the coffin of your doubts,
The bonfire of all your sadness,
The kindling to burn away
This world and all her weariness.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rightness (33, from 'Keeping Count')

We are in all great religions,
And within each creed,
We stubbornly live our way,
Though those who claim ownership
Of rightness
Say we are strange and wrong,
And how we do not belong.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Nightingales (45, The Dam.SunSun.Ana)

Long night vigils are at hand
O’separation’s sweet sorrow
So sang all the Lord’s nightingales
Perched on the Willow.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Do something useful (No.19, from 'Only a Thought Away')

Do something useful,
And fritter not your seconds away,
For moments gone will not return,
Nor days spent in wasteful play.

For worthy work exists
Outside the governance of time.

And those who dwell there
Bends and stretches time
As befits the varying needs
Of their work.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Patience Again III (No.10 from 'A Saint’s Ferrari, A Soul in a Hurry')

Is a dull feather on angelic wings.

But in the mortal severity of our short lives,
It is an act of re-Creation,

And in the cradle of our immortality,
It is Creation itself.

It is a gentle will,
But a will God-enabled to bend

This puny God’s play

That we call

The Universe.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

129. The Suitors (or the Princess in the Tower)

Oh, My suitors, brave and reckless,
If I test you with poverty,
Weary not in your quest for Me,
If you become an object of mockery,
Break not your promises to Me,
And if you fall ill,
And time stands still.
Take courage that you are in noble company.

For I am the Veiled Glory,
The Secret Treasure
The Hidden Beauty,
The Princess in the Tower.

Splendid and Unique,
I am like no other.
And I guide whomever I please,
And lead astray whomever I please.

Hemlock and Wine (Our two masters)

At this crossroad,
Both the Saint
And the Devil
Are our masters,
One guiding,
The other misguiding,
One to be listened to,
The other to be ignored.

And as we are shown
Subtle and beautiful truths,
So too do the lies become
Cunningly fine,
To test us again and again,
Which is hemlock,
And which is wine.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Cup of Storm

I found your book, o’ love,
It fell through a crack in heaven
And landed in me.

So if you wish to read your life,
Read me,
If you wish to write your life,
Then write me.

Take a pen,
Spell your name in
The orbit of my eyes,
And paint your tears
In the canvas of
My heavy skies.

A storm is brewing
Like a cup of coffee,
Bless the rain, and
Drink the storm
With me.

The Bride's Dress

Form is for familiarity
And what is customary.

It is the dress of meanings.

Do not be over-enamoured by forms,
Lest you take the bride’s dress
And forget the bride herself!

That is to say, o’ seekers,
Do not take religion and God
As one and the same.