Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

Archive for the month “May, 2011”

Narcissus and Echo by Fred Chappell

Shall the water not remember  Ember

my hand’s slow gesture, tracing above  of

its mirror my half-imaginary   airy

portrait? My only belonging  longing;

is my beauty, which I take  ache

away and then return, as love  of

teasing playfully the one being  unbeing.

whose gratitude I treasure Is  your

moves me. I live apart  heart

from myself, yet cannot  not

live apart. In the water’s tone,  stone?

that brilliant silence, a flower  Hour,

whispers my name with such slight   light:

moment, it seems filament of air,  fare

the world becomes cloudswell.  well.

The Blind Always Come as Such a Surprise by Ted Kooser

The blind always come as such a surprise,

suddenly filling an elevator

with a great white porcupine of canes,

or coming down upon us in a noisy crowd

like the eye of a hurricane.

The dashboards of cars stopped at crosswalks

and the shoes of commuters on trains

are covered with sentences

struck down in mid-flight by the canes of the blind.

Each of them changes our lives,

tapping across the bright circles of our ambitions

like cracks traversing the favorite china.

Keeping Things Whole by Mark Strand

In a field

I am the absence

of field.

This is

always the case.

Wherever I am

I am what is missing.

When I walk

I part the air

and always

the air moves in

to fill the spaces

where my body’s been.

We all have reasons

for moving.

I move

to keep things whole.

Little Elegy by X. J. Kennedy

(for a child who skipped rope)

Here lies resting, out of breath,

Out of turns, Elizabeth

Whose quicksilver toes not quite

Cleared the whirring edge of night.

Earth whose circles round us skim

Till they catch the lightest limb,

Shelter now Elizabeth

And for her sake trip up Death.

Psalm and Lament by Donald Justice

In memory of my mother (1897-1974)
Hialeah, Florida

The clocks are sorry, the clocks are very sad.
One stops, one goes on striking the wrong hours.

And the grass burns terribly in the sun,
The grass turns yellow secretly at the roots.

Now suddenly the yard chairs look empty, the sky looks empty,
The sky looks vast and empty.

Out on Red Road the traffic continues; everything continues.
Nor does memory sleep; it goes on.

Out spring the butterflies of recollection,
And I think that for the first time I understand

The beautiful ordinary light of this patio
And even perhaps the dark rich earth of a heart.

(The bedclothes, they say, had been pulled down.
I will not describe it. I do not want to describe it.

No, but the sheets were drenched and twisted.
They were the very handkerchiefs of grief.)

Let summer come now with its schoolboy trumpets and fountains.
But the years are gone, the years are finally over.

And there is only
This long desolation of flower-bordered sidewalks

That runs to the corner, turns, and goes on,
That disappears and goes on

Into the black oblivion of a neighborhood and a world
Without billboards or yesterdays.

Sometimes a sad moon comes and waters the roof tiles.
But the years are gone. There are no more years.

Refugees by Suheir Hammad

Uploaded by brothernajir

Variations on a Text by Vallejo by Donald Justice

Me moriré en París con aguacero…

I will die in Miami in the sun,

On a day when the sun is very bright,

A day like the days I remember, a day like other days,

A day that nobody knows or remembers yet,

And the sun will be bright then on the dark glasses of strangers

And in the eyes of a few friends from my childhood

And of the surviving cousins by the graveside,

While the diggers, standing apart, in the still shade of the palms,

Rest on their shovels, and smoke,

Speaking in Spanish softly, out of respect.

I think it will be on a Sunday like today,

Except that the sun will be out, the rain will have stopped,

And the wind that today made all the little shrubs kneel down;

And I think it will be a Sunday because today,

When I took out this paper and began to write,

Never before had anything looked so blank,

My life, these words, the paper, the grey Sunday;

And my dog, quivering under a table because of the storm,

Looked up at me, not understanding,

And my son read on without speaking, and my wife slept.

Donald Justice is dead. One Sunday the sun came out,

It shone on the bay, it shone on the white buildings,

The cars moved down the street slowly as always, so many,

Some with their headlights on in spite of the sun,

And after a while the diggers with their shovels

Walked back to the graveside through the sunlight,

And one of them put his blade into the earth

To lift a few clods of dirt, the black marl of Miami,

And scattered the dirt, and spat,

Turning away abruptly, out of respect.

The Truth the Dead Know by Anne Sexton

For my mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my father, born February 1900, died June 1959

 Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one’s alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in their stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

Quotations: We must conquer war…

We must conquer war, or war will conquer us.

– Ely Gulbertson

Kareem Mansouri Recites Surah al-Qalam

Uploaded by altigerrrr

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