The thing about forgetfulness is that
A creature that someone believes you know
Has left the rocky perch where once it sat
And wandered off to where such creatures go;
That when you are reminded that it lives,
You saunter through the forest in your head
And though you spy its friends and relatives,
You fail to see it rested on its bed,
Then snap, and swear that creature never was,
You pick a fight with all who disagree,
But not one proof suffices you because
A thing that cannot be can’t also be
Till one day as you step in for a walk,
You chance upon it stretching on its rock.
When waters whelmed the tyrant and his men
And drained that wealthy kingdom of its power,
It seemed the consequence of all that then
Would be for slaves to rise up to the hour
And take it back. But came the high command
That turned them east and set them desert-bound
That they may become of the Promised Land
Of Paradise where lasting peace is found.
And thus the most beloved of the Lord
Returned, a conqueor with head bowed low
With reason for the conquest: to afford
The Abrahamic pilgrimage. So know:
Seek kingdom and authority on earth
To be deprived of it where has it worth.
This sonnet was borne by the silence of an early afternoon Metra ride out of Chicago. I think it was inspired by some “explosive laughter” on a conference call from earlier in the day.
This sonnet was inspired by an exegesis of the opening verses of Surah Al-Qasas (The Story). Shaykh Amin describes the inspiration sent to the pious mother of Musa (AS) as a profound allegory for parenting.
There is something about a child, you know,
Something that makes all other pain seem less;
To hear the constant utterance of No
And find amorphous order in a mess.
I was a child once, more I set my thought
To drain the worlds of wisdom for a clue
To help me solve this mystery of what
Compels a child to do what children do.
And then I hear these words so sweet and sage:
Of how a mother nursed her infant, then
Set him afloat to cool a river’s rage;
I see my quest is drowned in error, when
Indeed somewhere between a kiss and shove
Lay hidden treasures of parental love.
And the following, in honor of the mother of Musa (AS).
The agents of the Pharaoh would
Be on her son in time,
What of this urge to nurse him good
With death upon the line?
She nursed him still, then heeded well
Another thought bizarre
To wrap the handsome, happy babe
And set him float afar.
Upon her peace, upon him too,
A prince who fled in fear
Into the wild, but only to
Return with word sincere
And lead his people out from where
A tyrant wrought his worst.
All from a mother’s act in faith
Upon a baby, nursed.
A lunchtime sonnet to parents out there getting anxious about their babies’ walking/talking abilities :-).
Why all this haste to see a baby walk!
Are you somehow disgusted by its crawl?
Why all this haste to hear a baby talk!
You tired of its babbling and all?
Slow down and look around, my frantic friends:
The flower blossoms first before the fruit,
The quality of which so much depends
Upon the bond that flower makes with shoot;
And every fruit bursts forth from fertile flower
Like every speech springs sweet from subtle sounds,
Each bursting and each springing takes its hour,
So kiss the hues with which the bloom abounds
And kiss the infant stumbling on its feet;
There will not be a dearth of fruit to eat.
Encompass what defies encompassing,
To plumb the depths of time and space to find
The secrets that such explorations bring.
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.