human

rory-bjorkman-17135

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.

 

peace, peace, peace

 image source: http://faxo.com/high-mountain-top-25051
image source: http://faxo.com/high-mountain-top-25051

 

There is something the matter with each of us.

Some of us weep in our homes, too “busy” to face our brethren.
Some of us are always on about the next best thing.

We may be neighbours but we resist becoming friends.

~

Where will you be, friend?

Where you will be at peace.

Where peace is friendly and friendship brings peace.

 

Peace, peace, peace.

 

Nothing else we ever asked for;
nothing else we ever knew.

 

It’s not that hard is it?

Peace must be somewhere, like a river or the sun;
Rising, now and again.

Why would we have to work so hard to get it,
and so hard to stay within it?

 

Once you get to a certain point,
it won’t be about what you do
but how you handle what’s done to you.

 

Peace, peace, peace.

Navroz Mubarak (2015)

Shoots of wheat. Image sourced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheatgrass.
Shoots of wheat. Image sourced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheatgrass.

These days our eyes have opened to another sun,
quite further and beyond the one
that dapples everything with gold these evenings.

For the first time in our lives we yearn to cry,

navroz mubarak!

not for what has happened with us
but for what we hope will happen to you as well.

~

The day is here, and this time, springtime clichés are no longer.
Some seeds have grown up on their own into meaning.

How to describe this blessing?

Closing our eyes becomes the same as opening them;
this light continues beyond sight.

We are truly one this time, angelic in the abounding clarity
which at once we can see, and not see.

In our blessed gathering we are as light as we have ever been,
our true selves merging, one another with the rest.

~

Navroz (or Nowruz) is a festival celebrated around the world to commemorate the beginning of a new year and the first day of spring.

To learn more about Navroz, visit Wikipedia.org and/or TheIsmaili.org.

To read “navroz (2014)” on this blog, click here.

not one and the same

Papery leaf. © Saara Punjani 2014.
Papery leaf. © Saara Punjani 2014.

Oh, you’ve let me go,
says papery leaf, for a while miserable in the dampening mud.

Tree knows not the leaf
so tree discards the leaf;
they are not one and the same.

Leaf says,
Eventually I will return to you
in a way that you cannot refuse!

I will become you.

Leaf cries for the ground to take him in;
begs for the rain to dissolve him.

~

A story inspired during the autumn, but held back until an appropriate time.

Sometimes we don’t recognize ourselves in one another and it is difficult to appreciate our commonalities, what we share. Then again, we come from one source.

How can we adapt ourselves so that others will recognize us, and in so doing, embrace us as they would the known, the familiar?

shukhar

Image source: http://imgur.com/gallery/49Pgl
Image source: http://imgur.com/gallery/49Pgl

Some news begins to settle,
quietly,
in the places where disbelief has left its footprint

~

you’ve gone, but in leaving you’ve taken me
one, maybe two steps further along in this life

i think i understand why they say,
shukhar,

thanks

~

i knew you, once upon a time,
or at least,
i thought i knew you a little bit

and now,
but now,

i understand there is little that was what it seemed

~

it’s like a single thread unravelling from a sweater;
one minute, it’s fine, and the next, there’s a gaping hole

except that the hole i feel isn’t in me,
it’s in the fabric of life itself
and life is coursing through,
pulling me upwards in its path

one thing comes over and again to mind:

koi aapse agar kuch maange,
to usse dedo,
aakhir, yehi to hai zindagi

if someone asks you for something,
then give it,
after all, this. is. life.

this is life,
this is life,

the one time we can love, and breathe, and aspire

the one time we can rise above our human selves
to fulfil the hopes and desires of another being

the one time we can ourselves be
compassionate; merciful

~

what did i give you,
you, who suffered
unknown to me?

what did i shower on you then,
that i now deserve to pick like fruit
the truth of your hard-lived example?

~

someone suffered, deeply, quietly,
but we did not know his mind

someone struggled, beautifully,
and we are uplifted with admiration
that we thought we knew him, even for a day.

* * *

A childhood friend has passed away. This piece is a reflection on life, death, and everything in between. Shukhar (among other things) is often said upon a person’s death, by those who follow the Shia Imami Nizari Ismaili tariqa (interpretation) of Islam (and by others Muslims well).

the people, us, and them

Image sourced from:  http://www.alfoart.com/golden_apple_tree_1.html
Image sourced from: http://www.alfoart.com/golden_apple_tree_1.html

Our apples are golden from your side of the orchard,
but here they are simply red like blood.

We pick what grows and move to make our bread.

When that bread turns beautifully to gold in our mouths,
we know it was only because of a prayer.

~

What can we rush along, dearest,
not the opening of a leaf, or eyes, or heart.

What of a friend, what of an enemy;
what of someone who is just like us?

What kind of strong will can we rush to bend into an embrace,
the strongest sign of an acceptance of the soul of the other?

~

It has been a long time since we pained, dearest,
since the fruit we picked so lovingly
turned to sour nothingness in our mouth.

It has been a long time since we rushed around
banging our heads on the walls,
opening books to pages we understand for comfort.

It has been a long time since we withdrew into our own,
since the trickling of ego was felt through the holes
of our pretty heart-basket.

~

They ask to know who we are right now,
to know what we would tell them, to check for hypocrisy —
to see if we feel any pain.

But we do not recall anything that has happened to us,
nothing that truly affected our minds.
Another grayness dawns, clear and cold.

If there was pain, we learned how to talk to it
long ago, as children. If there was joy
we sent it off to come again.

Won’t they understand that we are nothing right now,
that there is nothing material left to share?

We only wither and unfurl quietly as per our season,
and we are one and no one all again.

~

This piece is a reflection on our relationships with other people. How do we understand ourselves, and how much common humanity do we truly perceive in others, in “them”? What do we use to define ourselves, and what of those definitions do we use to relate to others? How do others view our blessings and “misfortunes” in relation to their own?

what we know about ourselves (2014)

Raindrops on window pane. © Saara Punjani 2014.
Raindrops on window pane. © Saara Punjani 2014.

we love only that which is our own

a man, with his wife and son:
who do you think he truly loves?

~

it rains and rains

you approach, drenched and desolate,
a shelter for me, if only i would accept you

~

i wish we could say,
we are always happy with what we know about ourselves

i wish we could say,
we come with noble intention,
that we have been saving our last loaf
for the hunger of another

i wish we could say
we fall to our knees and kiss the ground,
thankful each day
for the fact that we can feel

~

sometimes when it rains
a gray runs down our face too

and sometimes,
we wish we could deny that we enjoy it

else, why would we drink the drink of self,
that warming wine of separation?

why would we continue being what we are?

~

we are, men in all of our abasement;
men, in all of our greatness

we bend lower
so that others might be jealous of our righteousness

we paint peace on our face
that they might admire our beauty as we pray

~

when everything is gray
go ask for it to be better
for someone else;

what you would have happen to you,
have it happen to someone else

oh dearest, you’ve never really been
hungry; never really been sad

you’ve never really needed anything you didn’t already have

come, smooth over the wrinkles on someone else’s face

make them yours,

and love them too.