In our efforts to be virtuous we often tolerate injustice. And in our efforts to be just, we often overstep our bounds. True justice lies in knowing the rights of creation. It is why the best of creation (prayers and peace be upon him) was the most moderate in temper, for excellence is the sum of all acts wrought in moderation. Take care you are not blinded by The tears in your eyes That long to weep an ocean deep For all that they receive; Take care you are not deafened by The whispers in your ear That like the clamor of a hammer Make your heart to grieve; But let your inward temperate check Your hearing and your sight; There is no virtue if when hurt, You steal another’s right.
Good news for me. I recently learned that my entry was placed first in the “Lighting of the Fire” Poetry Contest sponsored by Highland Park Poetry and the Ravinia Neighbors Association. I have been invited to read it at the November 22nd Centennial Celebration of the Ravinia Village House (that’s Friday night). Here’s an article talking about the upcoming celebration. http://www.ravinianeighbors.org/ravinia-neighbors-association-blog/your-invitation-to-a-once-in-a-century-event And here’s the winning poem. http://www.highlandparkpoetry.org/home.html My sincere thanks to the Ravinia Neighbors Association and Highland Park Poetry for this recognition. I’ve pasted the poem below in case the above link expires :-). A Spark and a Fire I often set to wonder why We take the stands we take; What makes us rise from where we lie, And stirs our hearts to wake When forth, the ever silent, speak To light a tiny spark That burns a flame by which we seek To drive away the dark; Like planters of the olive tree, They never taste its fruit, Which, like the one who eats from it, Knows nothing of its root. I think the answer might well be The courage of a few Whose grit, resolve, tenacity, And other virtues too Deliver us to light again This fire that will burn In honor of their service then, An honor we return.
I’m late for work and I’m driving down the street, I’ve got the road in my hands and the wind beneath my feet; I’m worn and weary of the one who makes me yawn, I’d rather breathe in the colors of the autumn in the dawn; Will I live to see the sunset and the night? Will I see this song to its end within my sight? The only thing I am certain of is this: That the world is filled with things I will not miss If I climb the mountain, descend into the cave Where the mines of merciful love receive a slave; I won’t need to worry if I make it to those mines; How the darkness goes when the Light of mercy shines Till I find that diamond and hold it to my face, Yes, I know my gem of redemption’s in that place. But for now I’m glad that I’m driving down this street, I’ve got the road in my hands and the wind beneath my feet; I feel like everything in the world belongs to me, I feel like everything in the world belongs to me. The Messenger, peace be upon him, said, “If anyone among you is secure in mind in the morning, healthy in body, possessed of food for the day, it is as though the whole world has been brought into his possession.”
There! I said it. And I said it with all the mediocrity I could summon into my fingertips. Now, don’t get me wrong. It is a big deal, or rather it was when I finished the manuscript. But I am trying to make a point in this post, and to get to it, I must dwell on the title line a bit. So I’ll say it again. I wrote my first book. Yes. I wrote it in January of 2012. It all happened quite suddenly, and very unexpectedly. I was with my family one Saturday morning brunching at the Egg Harbor Cafe in downtown Naperville. We were just making small talk when my wife brought up the topic of schooling in India. Before we knew it, somewhere between the belgian waffle and the cheese grits (if you haven’t, you’ve got to try their cheese grits), the conversation whittled itself into a long and slender bamboo cane – one that graced the hand of our high school headmaster. No, we’re not that old, but we did go to school in India, and back when we were in school, about twenty-five years ago, getting your daily stripes courtesy said bamboo cane could easily become an everyday ritual, albeit a painful one. So as we whittled the proverbial cane of our conversation into dust, I said to my wife (and I paraphrase): “Hey, maybe I could write a book on this. You know, about oppression at two entirely different levels. There’s the headmaster […]
Although this poem is crafted as a first-person account, I was not part of the experience recounted in it. Rather it is based on what I heard from the esteemed Dr. Umar AbdAllah in a lecture delivered recently at Darul Qasim. The scene is the lush campus of the Alqueria de Rosales in Southern Spain. These last few days, each day had we A visit from a fox, A quiet, handsome creature, he Attended all our talks; For when we’d set to congregate Upon a grassy hill To purposefully separate Our hearts from chatter ill, This beast was wont to venture near Neath the temperate sun, Day after day to persevere In a skulk of one. He caused us no distraction nor To mischief he inclined, But stood in grand inaction for What pacified his mind. Then on that peaceful night as we Prepared ourselves for prayer, We sensed a sweet serenity Excite the silent air; I do suspect our vulpine friend Detected it as well, How quietly did he ascend The grounds I cannot tell. However, witness may I bear: He walked the straightest line Between the crowds assembled there And made an exit fine. I think the blessed night of Qadr Came upon us then, Upon us and on every other Creature in that glen.
My daughter blurted the phrase “leaves can have dimples” as part of an otherwise nonsensical conversation this morning. The silly phrase landed up defining the rest of my drive to work. Even leaves can have dimples If you know what dimples be In the grand scheme of beauty To a shy and simple tree. Even rocks host a banquet If you know what banquets be In the grand scheme of gaiety To a sunny rockery. And when the tear-laden cloud Crosses winds that blow and blow Till it throws a thunder tantrum As its tears begin to flow, Then the dimpled smiles of leaves And the feasting of the rocks Make the cloud that sadly grieves To ignore the wind that mocks. Even clouds feel encouraged If you know what courage be In the grand scheme of being To whatever tries to be. So stop drowning in your worries And take heart from what you see: Even leaves can have dimples If you know what dimples be.