hooked

abstract art background brown
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.

life’s horse

whitesheet
Click here for image source.

I can’t say that I want to grab life by the horns.
I think I would rather watch it come together
with time like the soft creases of a baby’s smile.

I would rather lay life out like a sheet,
smoothing the wrinkles with my palms
and tugging here and there to make it fit.

I don’t care to iron first.

~

I want to watch a plastic beach ball rise and fall in the waves,
being carried here and there, appearing not to move
until some hours later when only a speck is visible in the distance.

I just want to see what will happen if I let go of the reins.

Do I believe that life’s horse will find its way home?

path

Image source: http://www.forwallpaper.com/wallpaper/nature-nature-landscape-boards-timber-path-path-road-264461.html
Image source: http://www.forwallpaper.com/wallpaper/nature-nature-landscape-boards-timber-path-path-road-264461.html

Thank you for giving me the chance
to be the kind of person that I would like to think I am.

~

For some time we’ve known that our path would be unlike some others.

At times, we would look outwardly un-alive,
while our counterparts pledged to make the most of their precious time,
far away, on other continents.

There is a difference, between patience and complacence;
between passivity, and compassion.
If the difference is not apparent, an explanation will not help you.

We are, here and now, living for a day we cannot see
but we know is there.

We too, have a destiny,
and ours is one we trust was chosen for us, long ago.

If our days are spent moving even a grain of uncertainty off the pile
then over time, surely we will find what is buried underneath.

If our days are spent walking a single step at a time,
then we trust the destination will meet us halfway.

It is inevitable that we will go somewhere from here
and that we will know where we have been, when we leave.

when it rains

Rainy night. Image sourced from http://picjumbo.com/rainy-view-from-the-car-at-night/
Rainy night. Image sourced from http://picjumbo.com/rainy-view-from-the-car-at-night/

we become lovers again when it rains,
huddled up against a common unpleasance

songs we know crackle over the radio
not because this is vintage
but because the FM transmitter is acting up

we are twenty-first century people;
we’ve spent the past few weeks accomplishing much with our thumbs

tonight is like the olden days,
when we felt these songs together for the first time
and let them soak up the space between us.

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.

to know ourselves

Starry sky. Image source: http://www.howtogeek.com/114384/desktop-fun-starry-skies-wallpaper-collection-series-2/
Starry sky. Image source: http://www.howtogeek.com/114384/desktop-fun-starry-skies-wallpaper-collection-series-2/

To know ourselves,

we sought out the most difficult paths
that we might gain something from walking them

climbed mountains, not to climb them,
but for a glimpse of the sparkling sky

travelled the world, not to see it,
but to meet the companion within.

~

This is not the world, but the whole of a mirror in front of me;
what a world, that was made simply for me!

In the whole world i have tried to see myself,
yet the whole world seems not enough.

Tell me, where should i seek that mirror,
the most beautiful of all

that mirror, which reflects me with such truth,
that i myself become it?

Tell me, who is that most familiar companion,
the one who can tell me
everything
about myself?

~

This first part of this piece emphasizes worldly obstacles and challenges as opportunities to increase self-knowledge.

The second part can be understood as alluding to Islamic understandings of the relationship between creation and the Creator.