You Can Tell It's Ramadan

When a lazy lout who lumbers Through his daily prayers can Worship late before he slumbers, You can tell it’s Ramadan. When a good-for-naught reciter Falls in love with the Quran, Grows significantly quieter, Yes, oh well, it’s Ramadan. When a cold pathetic sinner Struggling with a simple plan Finds his sins are getting thinner, Starving hell; it’s Ramadan. You can skip the lunar sighting And just look at me, a man Who can tender this in writing: I am proof it’s Ramadan.

Hi There, Lo Here

Looking out over the prairie, just awoken baby in my arms. Hi there, sky fair, Cloud is floating by where Thursday-morning-broken Bird ascending high there. Lo here, oh dear, Trees and grasses grow near Where Salaam is spoken Word descending low here. Baby and I ‘Tween the grass and blue sky, Taking in the token Sights rewarding our eye; So much passing us by…

Thursday Riddle (June 26, 2014)

#39 It only speaks with lolling tongue When back and forth by shoulder swung; But praise for grace a vision brings: So sweetly the muezzin sings. —————————————————————————————————— *** Thursday Riddles will resume July 31 ***

Thursday Riddle (June 19, 2014)

#38 When planted, never grows; It spans a common measure; Two shape an act of skill that shows One’s strength despite the pressure.

Rim to River, River to Rim

My sore legs bear witness that I hiked 7.3 miles down the South Kaibab trail of the Grand Canyon, spent the night at Phantom Ranch and hiked 10.1 miles up the Bright Angel Trail the next day.  YES! And I couldn’t have done it without the following, in order of importance: the prayers of some wonderful people 🙂 two fabulous friends for companions a sense of humor that would make vinegar taste like sugar, and a pair of sturdy hiking poles (oh yes, very important!) We met up in Phoenix on the 13th of June and drove to Grand Canyon Village that same afternoon. There, we checked into our room at the very rustic and cozy Maswik Lodge. After a short but restful night, we set out down the South Kaibab at 5:50 AM, about thirty minutes after sunrise. Suffice it to say the South Kaibab is a perilous trail with a steep grade and brutal switchbacks (Wikipedia it for more!). What adds to the excitement is that there is no shade and no potable water the entire 7.3 miles of the trail. So each of us carried 6 liters of water and enough food to last us all the way down.  The views of the canyon are spectacular from this ridge trail. We encountered a pack mule train just past Skeleton Point, and dutifully stepped aside to let it pass. It took us six hours and twenty minutes to get to the Colorado river where we spent a good hour soaking […]

The Dam of Smiles

I sat beside a remarkable woman on my flight yesterday. She was a good talker, and so I played my usual part of listener. Pretty soon I found myself on an emotional roller coaster ride. Her story was rife with suffering, yet she ornamented each trial with a smile and a disarming sense of humor. A life-threatening ailment, a high-risk surgery, multiple instances of children lost to illness and death. It was clear that tears had been shed at every single milestone, yet none was spent in the recounting of those sorrowful tales thirty-five thousand feet up in the sky.  That is, not until she mentioned her mother-in-law.  She spoke of an initial lukewarm relationship that had turned sharply cold for an extended period of time. Then, when she was recovering from a difficult surgery, in a dramatic turn of events, their relationship had blossomed into one of sincere caring, love and unwavering friendship. She had grown very close to her mother-in-law. And just as she had found solace from this unlikely quarter, her mother-in-law passed away, quite suddenly.  That was when the dam of smiles broke and the tears seemed like they wouldn’t stop flowing.  This poem is in honor of that woman and of the human spirit that endeavors to stand up a dam of smiles to hold back a rush of tears, that life may go on. Such a dam only breaks in remembrance of one who knows the waters behind it. But there is always One who […]

Thursday Riddle (June 12, 2014)

#36  Around it goes With its sharp, little nose; Can opens, but can’t close. #37 Never travels, stays in bed Yet compelled to rest ahead.

Toe Disciplined

I skinned my big toe on the sidewalk yesterday, Comes from doing stupid at the age I’m at; When the brain has the body execute a crazy play, Most ingenious imaginings go splat. Came the time to sit down, put myself in that toe, Set to ponder why this tribulation come, Everything that comes to pass, each insignificant blow Is a lesson that a story has become. So I thought, and I sought, as this left big toe of mine, Any reason for my violent defacement, But I couldn’t find an answer till I happened on a sign Clarifying the physics of big toe placement: Getting down on my knees just to tender a prostration Proved to be a source of pain that burned and shocked; It is so that I learned navigating my frustration That my toe is where my arrogance lies locked. I know why, I know what; so this lesson I will heed,And the Lord be praised for such big toes that bleed.

Thursday Riddle (June 5, 2014)

Lanis McAllous is bound Somewhere on hospitable ground, Delivering traces in all of the places That Lanis McAllous be found; Carefully tows wherever he goes His lodging without any sound. —————————————— Absent from air, Absent from water, The fast shall run less When the temperature’s hotter.

Counting Sha’baan Moons

The cup is full, can take no more, And each new drop lets to the floor The stains that show and slowly grow, The cup is full, can take no more; I know my tears can wash these stains, If I could weep till none remains, I need those nights, despair be gone, All grief be lost when splash upon Me mercy waves that wash the shores Of dark rebellion once more; Bring me those nights, despair be gone With your angelic hum of dawn; I dash my cup upon the floor, And long for sips of Ramadan.