Meditations

Poetry

Below are some ghazals written betwen 1999 and 2000. They are placed in chronological order, with the lastest ones at the bottom. They are not titled, but are numbered. Three of these poems have been published on Gene Doty's The Ghazal Page.


1

Through the veil of love, the beloved's face is a long
way from the beauty of the one for which she longs.

Shamed by her wretched state, she cowers before the thought
of him; he sees her through it, she can't hold it for too long.

It "bestows the nourishment of beauty without measure",
and that is a food she has not been used to for long.

If you glance at me, Wild One, I will die. Come
now! Produce the bloodstained hands in which I belong.

Hold this moon to you; impress your spirit's sweet form
on the waters of this melted soul, for which you long.

He is the curved wave of her breast's soft form. It is the lover's
humility that is the beauty for which the beloved longs.

Foolish ones! Reign from the poverty of your heart. Break
your covenant with fear; no need to bring arrogance and pride along.

Go now, Zaynab, and beg his heart be kind to me.
It is the gateway to heaven, and the passage through which I long.

25 August 1999



2

Come back, Wild One. We were created to be near
Have "you have left me and reckoned yourself near?"

Institutions are veils of glory; a certain limitation
For hearts and minds that choose to be near.

Don't write over your text with the pen of fear
Read the book! of the one standing near.

Drink the wine of your heart's revelation of love
She is the essence of meaning and beckons you near.

The houris wait to hear the whispers of lovers
At play in the angelic realm of the near.

The union of lover and beloved is the Cause
Wreaking havoc with the idle claimants of the near.

Oh, Zaynab, I would give away my soul
To reach around his neck and pull him near.

13 September 1999



3

If Baha'u'llah were to fill your sweet heart with all his joy,
he'd have favoured me, for only he can tell you of my love for you.

The willow in his panorama weeps and reaches low
and my heart weighs full for love of you.

He made my soul in pre-existence from letters of your name.
I didn't know it was possible to love as I love you.

In spirit, I watch over you; in my mind, I talk to you;
in my dreams, I kiss you. I live all the time through my love for you.

If you turn to me and speak, I go blind and deaf and forget
where I am; I try not to pass out from love of you.

Everything you do is beautiful. The disconnected letters dance
in your words and creation loses its way without news of you.

My eyes weep for my heart, its shaking's due
to tenderness, left raw by loving you.

Take pity, Zaynab, and nurse the heart of this poor fool.
Can I live another day to abound in sanity in my love for you?

8 October 1999



4

O comforter, my lord, who I've journeyed to from me
Control my soul and dissolve the illusion of self in me.

The gift of you to me is your supreme testimony
I am dazzled by the sweet one sent just for me.

My soul flips on its back in submission to your beauty
Your protective arms mark the boundaries of paradise in me.

Don't imagine you need to perform in the world for me
Your being is already performing in its pursuit of me.

Your actions in the world play my hidden symphony
The movements of your life sing your song of me.

Sensuous dream, how fine and stunning you are to me
I pronounce you the winner and ruler of all that is in me.

Bring those lips close, claim your prized suzerainty
Open me up, lord, being, worshiped one in me.

Hush now, sweet one, let me stroke your hair
Zaynab is busy dreaming our eternity in me.

9 November 1999



5

Loving you puts my life on the knife-edge of meaning.
I cannot be reasonable about loving you.

Every second I love you all the time.
I tried to forget, but lost me as well as you.

Why have you gone away? Return -
Or prove I am wrong to worship you.

I have been faithful to the covenant.
Will you punish me for believing in you?

I am not free: I am dependent on the mercy
Eager to prove itself in regular doses of you.

Life has descended into despair;
I'll never live again until I hear from you.

I cannot be reconciled to your absence
Now that I'm shaped into the possibility of you.

Alone, Zaynab, we have nothing without love.
When I die of loneliness, I will wake up with you.

2 January 2000



6

Say: live as though you will die tomorrow.
Your sacred love flashes my worthless life before me.

Here, I will give you the testimony I owe.
For no one knows when her own end will be.

When I had nothing to lose but a tormenting sorrow
I gave myself up to worshipping you as He.

I reached out with the desire that had grown
And fell damned before the one I would die to see.

I confess, he is the greatest love I will know.
Forever, a blessed and sacred man to me.

He is my Lord, in human form borrowed.
The eye of God that all the day watches me.

He is the suited one, in prayer crouched down.
The Image of God in beauty and majesty.

Dear God, make my life of death a worthy show
Even as Baha'u'llah gave his all for his houri.

I sit by the side of Glory in the Akka prison cell
Languishing in wonder at the choices of humanity.

He will transform my love, which is pitifully shallow.
The eyes of the Compassionate One have claimed me.

The glorious man favoured with the mysteries of God; go
Find his heart, Zaynab, and sing it my song of fidelity.

30 January 2000



7

Nothing has changed, it's as it always was.
The war of colour rages in this millennium of Moses.

God started it when He turned the Alif into Ba'.
See how its point refracts the light of the sun?

The designer labels have produced a fantastic range.
But their owners clash in triumphalist colour.

Imperfection is angry at seeing itself everywhere.
Perfection hides in idolatry where it can't be found.

Renounce that shirt of fashion you thought became you.
Wear God's personality on the inside out.

Reason has appeared on stage in the robe of reality.
Intoxication is choreographed by her dance.

Absolute authority rules in the dart of her glance.
She sings her song of "no" in the chamber of Mercy.

"They praise me, but reject my signs", she said.
"In my name, they deny me and call it detachment."

Shocked by her play, they imprisoned her in their image
And warred to protect God against vain imaginings.

They painted the world with their high-performance gloss
And told Grimm fairy tales to the children.

The blatant gallantry of the lovers was treachery.
Their shameless beauty, the vain mirage of materialism.

"You have given your heart to another than me," he said.
"You have stolen love and covet it for yourself."

Standing alone on the New York street, she protested:
"I am the guardian of love and you have evicted me."

Enraged by the emptiness her beauty exposed in him
He killed her. And Millennium's light went out.

Zaynab, must you tell me yet another sad story?
Brighten your tone, for I hear his footsteps at the door.

March 2000



8

The sun said he had no choice but to live in the bog.
But the winter preserved his beauty in its reflection.

Rukhmini shivered in her longing for his light.
He preferred his portraiture in the world's reflection.

Hero, my son, won't you devour your devoted mother?
She burns with the bliss of your fire's reflection.

I am ablaze with your light and joy, and cannot see!
Drink me down into your cool waters of reflection.

Mira searched for her prince in the city of unknowability.
Sweet one, will you come out to play our game of reflection?

Hold me captive in your daring glances at emotion.
Reveal the honest thief of existential reflection.

Baha'u'llah chose aloneness, and set the sun back in the sky.
Nietzsche sunbathed on his cold mountain top of reflection.

Together, they contemplated the beauty in creation's first rite.
The lingam and the yoni made the love-in of reflection.

Zaynab, what book did you steal that story from?
I found it written at the heart of a mystic's reflection.

11 August 2000



9

Eventually, she fell out of love with separation
Its realm is an imitation of the divine nostalgia

God, the father, had always shone from a distant shore
His promise of union safely treasured up in nostalgia

Shame's an unworthy face for the beloved to see
It's not honour that hides in a dream of nostalgia

No! He sits inside, forgotten, but ever watching over
His breaths straining on the Karbalaic plain of nostalgia

There isn't time any more for separation and union
That game's as a knife to his heart of nostalgia!

Take his side, hold his hand, fight in his revolution
His promise is faithfully your imagined nostalgia

In Spring, the Sweet William came blooming at her door
Unassuming, yet defined, in a near tragic nostalgia

Its scars had memorised the pre-existent covenant
And won a claim to presence in her lonely nostalgia

God, the father, shining from her own garden shore
He chats about this 'n that over the tea of nostalgia

Oh, Zaynab, there you go falling in and out of love
You are a soap opera for the houris of nostalgia!

6 November 2000