Sunday, 7 November 2010

1. Ar-Rahman – the Sun of Love

Suggests compassion, mercy, positivity, action --- ‘think not you can direct the course of love…for if love finds you worthy, it will direct your course ‘ Kahlil Gibran 

In a local, one man shouted to me,
‘There but for the grace of god, go I!’
and pointed at Andrew. Consider the phrase – ‘grace
of god’ – invoking art and truth, commitment:
how beauty and love express through
skill and difference, novelty. Statesmanlike, it seemed
important not to invade an African country
or blame the boss, or thump that man, or scream,
because good beer and band were flowing; bodies
hopping. Boy I was mad!! Grace holds hands, nods,
includes men, women, singing, stars,
and barmaids danced like angels pulling pints.
Andrew smiled and led the effervescent hugs and bops;
thanks to the grace of god.

In the East,
one green blade of grass
far beyond the horizon
catches morning light. 
Two faces of Love
I tossed a coin.
It landed face-up saying ‘Do it!’,
continued spinning like the sun.
I guess it would have turned
around forever if I hadn’t
grabbed it, stopped it,
tossed again and clocked it in the sky.

It landed on ‘humility’,
flowed across the wooden
man-made table top
as if a glob of honey,
sweet. I gathered up the syrup and
I tossed a coin again.


2. Ar-Rahim – the Moon of Love

Suggests compassion, receptivity, creativity, abundance --- ‘The harvest moon painted the sky orange while my veins raised and turned a violent blue reminding me I’m alive’ Rilke

Although special, singing
has never been my forte:
I find it hard to feel for sound

and coalesce my heart and mind
with earth and fire without a crowd of
apparitions getting in the way.

But, yesterday, six of us drove out
to a raging riverbank in the frost
and sparked a little fire to dance and sing around

under blue sky. A dusky moon
lit up a warning light. Open mouthed,
carousing to a churning

water slap, we floated cares downstream
and harmonized a rich, brown god
who turns and never stops, as far as

I can tell. At the end, our fire roared with wind
into a start of silence.

Back in
the kitchen, all talk stopped, all
bodies quiet: the moon, floating, somehow
in its blackness, chose to call; to shine.

The sky of sixty nine;
look up at a screen,
absorb black and white sparkle:
Armstrong strides the moon.

I’m on this diet you see,
it means I can look at you
for only 5 seconds a go,
(even though you’re lovely).

I blocked up one ear
and my right nostril.
I keep my tongue stock-still
in case it licks an ice cream

but, look, the moon is full tonight,
a brand new showerh
ead of light
and, in the moonbeam zone,

soak up all I can.
My starving lips turn up to a shining face,
flummoxed by a bright, unbidden kiss.

3. Al-Malik – The king who can

Suggests master, king, counsel, vision --- ‘Men at some time are masters of their fates’ – Shakespeare

Down’s before birth

If you could change this life
for a real one,
- say - with a fulsome story
and a master’s hand
to maraud in a spanking world
maybe to spots more often lost
- would you go?

And feel?

Imagine you’re ready;
standing moments before birth
in pounding rain,
shivering with all anticipation
and calmly
turning down your little mind
to nothing – wanderer -
with such a lot to give:
perhaps it’s not so dark and cold
as you fight your way into a sweeter handicap:
as fool, magician, simple wizard, king.

Here’s a hand from the right side
holding a tangle of cotton.

Finger and thumb from the left side
(turning before the wind catches)
take up the end of a blue one
and master it under the sun.

King Andrew sits upon his camping chair,
gazes round a breakfast circle; cooking
on a campsite, frying sausages;
eggs are cracked and smells of coffee

snake along a breeze to rise and enter
into now. Everything is set for feasting,
look, a sunny time’s on hand;
his vision’s clear and King surveys the land!

But wait – what is this quality called King-ship?
Why do people rush to cook him breakfast?
Why do people serve a man, this elf?

Because a warm and gracious King
adores his people more than judges;
loves them for themselves.

4. Al-Quddus - Sacred Space

Suggests peace, union, cleansing --- Neruda 'Other days will come, the silence of plants and planets will be understood and so many pure things will happen'

Writer’s Block in a carriage

Like a stroppy teenager, one blank page defies
my intent to write words:
an empty mind and empty paper.
Silence, blank, nada – until I listen out
and hear this train trundle, rumble South.
I let a pen leak a few words
and some thing’s written down.

I learned the duties of a clown from Andrew:
at home in a world of nonsense,
turning up voltage again and again;
not perfectly perfect but urging
inclusion; connecting the hearts of some people
through smiles – with spaces between all their talking and words,
where, truly, a mystery lies.

In a hubbub, 
noise inside this room is loud.
No voice is ever quite as bold as Andrew,
my autistic son
- his voice is missing here.

He can sing – louder than a horn –
as long as loved ones standing near
listen to his rising tone,
resonate a chest, a core

and now I walk out through a door
to stand in rain, suck in the breeze
and clock a waving tree;
beat my beating heart.

Same routine,
up at 5;
forgives himself
for last night’s

After all,
it’s only words!
Breakfast mind
plots away

and then comes back
to coffee and a roll.
Through a glass, he sweeps

a gaze at folly – every one
- and feels

a sudden thud of peace.

5. As-Salam – Peace at the Begining

Suggests peace, health, wholeness, safety --- 'I feel within me a peace above all earthly dignities, a still and quiet conscience' Shakespeare 

To Innesfree
When Yeats suggested go
to one Lake Isle
to find peace in wind and snow or rain or hail
- and plant nine bean-rows;

he hinted that to hear,
listen and become –
is the real game we play, or else be dumb
to a swelling of hearts and the sea.

Busy, my two hands
tremble, flicker, turn and wave,
drop and lift, cupped.

The One in front
A man who works with his hands
lowers eyes.
Filthy palms and fingers!

He picks a bar of dirty soap,
vigorously rubbing hands and soap
into a stream of impure water,
freshens up his hands;
shakes them, dries them on
a grubby towel:
takes the biggest breath
he ever took to clean his heart

and now he offers hands and heart
as pure as he can make them.
Will you take them?

6. Al-Mu’min - Support

Suggest faithful, earth, growth, embodied action -- "Great things are done when men and mountains meet" William Blake

City and mountain

It's cold as moss
when I exit the station
- graffiti hits on every wall
(graffiti reaching carriage windows)
and desolate, slate-grey, the journey
out from the city, smoke hard as nails
until the ground rises and fields

heave in view and the river we follow
twinkles and sparkles, turns with our train,
and the mist in the valley
climbs to the hills with a first glimpse of snow
and the far distant mountains flume out a welcome,
tinkle my heartstrings in hopefulness,
amber and russet and black and then go.

When I cross the Firth,
sometimes, a tide has come in;
sometimes it has not.

If you came this way along
a climbing path you might sit
a while 
with all kinds of human notions until your mind eventually
slowed, senses awoke,
and you took in that mammoth mountain
in front – bathed into sunlight 

and darting with swifts. 

The wonder of it all
could make you kneel and pray,
overwhelmed and tearful,
until nothing arises
and fear itself flies
with a tremulous influx
of Love.

7. Al-Muhaimin - Protection

Suggests Witness, Protector, Determining True or False --- 'Don’t be consistent, but be simply true' Oliver Wendell Holmes  

To be, or not
It’s not a dilemma
when I ask of Andrew,
‘Are you loving your dinner?’
Simple and true
‘I am,’ he says
‘I do!’

At dinner, after the world burst into flame,
pans bubble,
onions hiss,
all herbs and spices
have entered our mix
and the fire of a stew
will ladle and soon
be about us, surround us,
beyond us, within us;

warm as a life
that survives its explosion,
we’ll share what is here,
(never thirst for what’s not)

and shout out ‘Thank God’
that the garbage has gone.

Imagine looking out
from way inside yourself
as a baby, or a boy with
without any crazy
constructs, rules.

This place would seem
unsafe – a dream!

And your strategy?
How would you get through
a moment, next few minutes, hours,
when you couldn’t hide,
or run, or surf the web a while?
I’ll tell you what – you’d smile!