The Poet and the Pir
The Poet, living in his moment
Does not survey the whole field until his last
And then, looking back
Sees the whole staring back with a deaths head
The Pir, surveying the whole field
Acts not, retreats into the green forest light
There he kindles his fire
And makes his meditations
And makes his prayers
Here, the whole paranoma
Here, all the masks
And the Poet says to the Pir
Whither goest thou sunk in forest gloom?
And the Pir says to the Poet
Thy ecstasies will not last!
The Poet blind to reality
Drunk on the moon
Like the nightingale in a clay cage
His heart red with his own admiration
The Pir seeing the real
Beyond the masks and the mirrors
Writes his writing on the wall
Here, he says, when you have reached your last
And literate at last
You will find what it is you had yearned to know
Before you drown’d in human voices
Before you slumber’d in a woman’s bed
Now, awake at last
You see the field in all it’s bloody garb
And the moon turned black
Speaking of love, you spoke of self-love
Sinking all in the self
Now seek ye the greater love
That shines through the dark night
And chain thy light to the greater light
And the Poet says to the Sage
I have felt all, and written all
Had I not written, the people will not have read
I am the mouth through which
Allah Almighty spoke
I have fountained blood
But I have also fountained joy
Now, my body is as a burnt offering to the gods
I am the sacrificial lamb
The people look here
Celebrate what is to come, what will not last
And enter the field with capacious hearts
Thy heart is as steel and as cold
And thy path a straight one
My heart is as warm as a new born doe
And as dewy
And my path a rocky one
Yet we are here, now
At the edge of the world
Raising our voices in harmony
To the tumultuous crowds below
They will not hear, nor will they see
A few always listen, and a few will always see
But no man can be king in the kingdom of the blind
He will cast his lot with the crowd
He will bear his wounds
Becoming as witnesses and shahids
It is good that Allah is compassionate
For man is a weak vessel
He chose weakness when he chose
Freedom to act
And knowledge of Good and Evil
The Mountains refused it
But man, foolish man, did not
Taking on his shoulders the weight of the world
And it is hard
And hardens his soul
Until it breaks
And his soul caged, cries out
Is thy soul a philosopher?
Said the winged wind.
Where is thy heart?
Mourned the circling dove.
And the people listening,
Mostly smile and laugh
And a few struck by deep yearning
Look away weeping
Their hearts as wet as the billowing clouds
In the newly budding spring fields
Arjuna, lift up your blow
Your brothers have commanded war
And if you do not shoot, you will die
If you do not command the field,
They shall, and you will rue the day
You wife will be taken captive
And your sons and daughters will be slaves
And your seed will become as dust
Blown in wind, hither and thither
Never finding rest
Take heart, and hearten yourself
Thy arm is as strong as ever
And thy eye as keen
Now is the time for action
That poets will memorialise forever
Doubt can be no foundation
It undermines itself
And then the mind
And then the man.
Doubting doubt – can you doubt?
I sat on doubt and wondered how and why.
I want a cloud to hang my doubt upon
Like a chain around my heart to uplift my heart
To cast my doubt upon a cloud
And let the cloud carry the burden I cannot bear
Doubt floods the rivers and the lakes
It has monsooned doubt
And cleared the air
And runs into the sea of doubt
Nobody wonders why,
We are all used to it.
Living with it.
Pickled in it.
Doubt hammered my mind.
When I should have been walking
or talking or doing.
Instead, the mind spins on its spindle
Going where the West Wind blows
Or the East
Instead of finding its true direction
And setting its course
Here, there are no signs to guide me by
The sky is dark and stars have blanked out
And the world words has turned dark
Like a dull and dark insidious mist
Obscuring the earth, the sun, the stars
O Griefs! O Sorrows!
O Hatreds! O Hate!
O Rage! O Anger!
O Love! O Lost!
And the tears of children.
Where are you going,
Little lost one?
Do you know,
And your mother who watches over you?
Does she know?
In my mothers home,
She had woven a picture of flowers in a garden
In bright reds, greens and blues
And lettered underneath
God is Good
Now and then – it guides me still
The Sorrows of Old Hindenburg
Tonight, new sorrows coffin my brain
In a hearse through the streets of old Berlin
I should have shot the man
But I gave him the emblems of power
He has taken our country into his hands
And crushed it
And though I had seen the shadows in his smile
I doubted my own eyes
And though I had seen the shadows in his eyes
I doubted my own mind
Everything I have known has come now to no good
Dark eagles fly overheard
O My Madonna, cradle thy son in thy arms
If I am a hole in the air,
O Allah, then fill me up
If the ground is stony and dry
O Allah, then stir the sap up
Thy falcon has flown the wide and wild
Tides of the sky, O Allah
And now he seeks thy hand
To alight there, to perch there
The hills and mountains in the clouds
He has seen
And the crevasses and abysses underneath
He has seen
He had hidden himself in the wind
Thy light, O Allah, thy light
Is thy truth
And is everywhere
Seeding the world
Seeding the voids
There is none to compare