hooked

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

i’m hooked,

these needles have pulled
at my heartstrings and
started to weave the
threads together in

a tight basket pattern
that binds me strand by strand in itself
and tugs unyieldingly
if i get too far away

it’s love

and i don’t know how it happened

ab teri mohabbat laagi, mere Saheb

it took years for feelings to grow
and now it has become clear
where i am always being pulled

shukhran lillah wal hamdulillah

the centre (2019)

ismaili centre toronto
Image sourced from TheIsmaili.org: http://www.theismaili.org/ismailicentres/toronto/architecture-toronto-0

think, if someone were to be given
a softer heart,

one that was able to feel the soul
in everything

~

we came when called just enough times
that the abode before us consented to transform our lives

a place where love literally throbs,
the heart and soul of the structure that is the centre of our lives

all of us have become so much more and less than we were, here.

~

the centre has become my centre
and has captured the centre at the centre of me

it spills over its edges into the rest of my life and
makes the rest of my life part of itself too

i am pulled here unyieldingly
as though in the arms of a vortex spinning so fast i can’t even tell
where it begins and where i end

there is nothing i feel that doesn’t get resolved
once i’ve come back to my centre;
not a single worry that isn’t smoothed, a fear that isn’t untangled
once i’ve been here at my core

~

the people here are like the sound inside a seashell,
telling stories of separate drops flowing together to their ultimate end,

each one making an impression on my heart

~

this place makes me face those things about myself that i would rather ignore,
such as my obvious unworthiness

but of course, that is exactly why i’ve come

~

brother, you might do it better than me
and you might know something i don’t

but i won’t hold it against you
since you are here to show me what i could be,
not what i am not

and thank God, thank you, for giving us this place
to come to.


This poem, written shortly after the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Ismaili Centre Toronto, is meant to capture the deep meaning that spaces of community and worship can bring to our lives over time, as well as the newfound meaning we can obtain from the seemingly familiar by engaging on many different levels. This piece is a followup to the original “the centre (2014)”, available to read here.

Jamaat

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Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash.

 

the sun rose for the first time for us today
the moon showed its face over the trees

for the first time,
the only time necessary for us to understand that what we love
is the only thing that can be Loved,
the only thing that can possibly Be

~

We’ve gathered to bear witness to the origin of everything;
The place of peace, where everything has been vested
Not yet manifest, but quite seemingly on the verge

~

maybe if we all sit together
on our humble knees

we might fit together like an intricate mosaic
displaying all of the colours that make up
the world in all its beauty

and maybe, You could do us the immense favour
of gazing here

~

Every country is your country
Every seat, is your seat

Every banda is your banda
Whether he knows it or not

~

we might be far from you but we want to be closer
and if you allow us, we will come together
and in coming together, feel your presence through each other, near and far

~

Every place is in congregation
Every one of us, your jamaat

 

human

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Photo by Rory Björkman on Unsplash

~

O mankind !
Be careful of your duty to your Lord
Who created you from a single soul
and from it created its mate
and from them twain hath spread abroad
a multitude of men and women

Holy Qur’an 4:1

~

I don’t know who you are
nor do I need to know

but I do know what makes you alive,
what carries hope inside,

what hurts when there is pain,

what feels elation at the
sight of the beloved one.

~

Let us recognize each other,
not as the other

but as the mirror by which
we judge the degree to
which our own souls
can expect salvation.

~

When you cry, know that I do too,
if simply on the inside.

There is something undeniably natural
in coming together over what it means to
be human.

~

I don’t care for the past
or for memories gone,

but I do care for the
essence within me and within you,

which ultimately,
and most hopefully,
in all the deepest hope and truest dream

are going again to a shared plane,
where joys are evident, and love
is the air we breathe.

 

Intezaar

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Photo by Tyler van der Hoeven on Unsplash.

~

We all, are all waiting
Holding on to our hearts, unable to fully breathe

~

Some of us run, shedding layers,
while others wrap ourselves in new meaning

Some of us dissolve,

while others come together forming an intricate crystal

Some of us steep,
Some of us weep,

Some of us cocoon
and some of us unfurl

 

None can sleep

 

Our pores open
And we all brighten
And lighten
And fade
As the sum of our somes
become One.

The place we last met

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All a person wants is to be loved,

to be told that it will be difficult being apart from them.
That when push comes to shove, their presence matters most.

Life unfolds in the moments between being loved,
while waiting for the beloved to return to the place we last met.

~

Dearest,
do you know that I love you in every moment,
whether you are present with me there or not?

I would run unnecessary errands just to be with you,
give you my opinion on a great many things for which I do not care, simply to be in your conversation.

Your gratitude is welcome but what I really want is your hand, your uninterrupted gaze.

~

I would follow you to the end of your journey before undertaking my own,
for a few moments of love promised.

Are you coming to meet me soon?

Start over

field-thunderstorm-rainy-meadowImage source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/country-lane-field-meadow-puddles-1551/

Everything always comes to a head,
like gray clouds on a breezy summer afternoon.

They roll in suddenly, catching us unawares.

It rains

and there is relief
not for the ground, but for the tired sky.

There was a lot to hold on to
and now it has been let go.

Start over,
start again,
whatever that means to you.