To forge a sonnet is an art supreme; It begs a certain clarity of thought To court a shy yet unrelenting theme And groom it in apparel that is brought By aptitude and skill with written word; To gaze into suspended space and time And trap a flight of fancy in a bird That preens its wings to alternating rhyme: Three quatrains, then a couplet at the end To tenderly and mercifully wean You from the shady branches that extend A dozen roses from the fertile green Imagination of a sonneteer, More captivating than the subject here.
The yellow and gold, Like drops of the sun, Do glow in the days Before they are done; The orange and red, And purple and black Appear instead To temper the lack Of green on the scene, For what isn’t green Is rather begotten By hues in between; This tall tree of time Forever believes To bear generations Of leaves upon leaves. Now do we not bloom In spring, to be green In summer? Come fall, Are hues in between; That when we are old Like drops of the sun, Are yellow and gold Before we are done In winter’s embrace, So this tree may bear Our children by grace When spring’s in the air.
The blood on her cheek, The steel in her eye, No, she wasn’t weak, Was his turn to cry; He wanted to read The words he had heard, She told him he’d need Ablution; concurred And sat down to read From parchment upon Were written the words, Majestic Quran. The beauty that shined In His heart through his eye Expanded his mind As wide as the sky; It spoke to his heart With nothing between And washed every part Of it till it was clean. And all he had wrought: The cries of the slave, The innocent coos Of the child in her grave, All fell from his eyes And streamed down his face To signal the rise Of another in grace; He made for the house Of al-Arqam with haste, No doubt in his mind, Not a moment to waste, And when he arrived, He knocked on the door And waited what felt Like some moments before It opened and there Before him did stand The prophet; at once Extended his hand, Then grabbing Umar By his belt, drew him near And asked him to make His intentions all clear; And Umar did so In reverent tone, At which did the prophet Praise Allah alone; The house of al-Arqam Rejoiced when they heard The son of al-Khattab Had uttered the Word.
Old man, lonely, Lives every day with his only Companion: the soft memories of his wife That warm up his winter of withering life. His people stop by to see How he’s doing through kettles of tea, As the evening sun yawns and goes down On the old man in his old town. Some day he’ll wake up to a dawn And find all his weariness gone, To walk with his love on meadows of green, United together in laughter serene. Old man, lonely, Lives every day with his only Companion: the soft memories of his wife That warm up his winter of withering life.
I sit on the concrete, on spirals of sand, Just dangling my feet as I hold in my hand A half-eaten apple, a gift from my son, And watch the light dapple the sight of him run Away from the waters, a smile on his face, Toward me the thought on his tongue and he race, His cousins are splashing about with their dads, The sounds of their laughter and happiness adds To all of the pleasure their grandfathers feel While grandmothers, measuring sand on their heels, Surrender their words of advice to the breeze; And here is my son now, his hands on my knees. The picnic is over, the mothers all smile, For happy is mother if happy is child.
How do I know who loves me, How would I know who does, I wish I had a way to say Who loves me now because There’s times when I get lonely, And no one seems to care When standing at the door before My tears is despair; But I will never let in This visitor that stole So near with a blade that’s made To cleave my very soul. I’ve learned my Lord is nearer Than I am to my brain, So crush my body, grind my mind, My soul will still remain. It’s all that matters, matter Does not matter at all; What is, is not; what is not, is What makes me stand up tall.