April is the month
Cruelest, observe then what
Brings the month of May.
(Five days late because sonnets are hard)
Today—April 23rd—on the date William Shakespeare passed away, I attempt my first of his kind:
Dear friend, companion, my love, my night
mind and heart entwine, rather leaping in thrill
—when upon my ears fall tidings of meeting your sight—
nurturing that perfect time, months and months coming still
Friends, then fools, together we remain all year
like lovers writing modern day letters to each other
the stories you’ll tell when we meet, my laughter you will hear
the garden walks hand in hand, hours, days one with another
But meeting in those crowds, what have we found?
Vigilant, watchful, aware of our gesture we must stay
that time with you the whole year round
those few minutes, for me its All Summer in a Day
Like the tree on barren land learnt to gracefully pick up sustenance where it can, as though selecting flowers
Our hearts have found ways to converse without stop, to feel sadness, pain, joy and exclaim, to talk and embrace for hours
Sometimes at night
I close my eyes
forcing the window to my other side
pretending the ceiling fan noise above
oscillates ’round the room instead
Our book closet in the corner to my left
full of scents from before I was born
and more from all my years around
The white comforter, flora peach and green
I know there’s never been
And in that hallway lined with doors
where once I ran up and down in glee
and once prayed for my mother’s life
I still feel my steps on those nightly strolls
the carpets I touch, the turns I turn
The white kitchen light that folds on
Red digits on the radio clock
green on the microwave
The patio where once jasmine grew.
Where seekhs were grilled.
Gaze longed for that chick I loved.
Eyes still closed, how I wish I could
wake up to that corner outside my room
where the first light of day comes raining through
that canvas atrium, Heaven above.
Thinking last night, I realized my first ever exposure to poetry I can remember was through my dad—the mention of a poet by the name of William Wordsworth.
It was when I was very young and looking up things on the internet hadn’t landed into the everyday. It would be years later that I actually got to read his actual work, realizing albeit nowhere as eloquent, some of my own poems share a similar style.
So today I’d like to share a few pieces from Wordsworth that I found particularly moving. And of course again, thank you Abbu 🙂
I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?
There is a change—and I am poor;
Your love hath been, nor long ago,
A fountain at my fond heart’s door,
Whose only business was to flow;
And flow it did; not taking heed
Of its own bounty, or my need.
What happy moments did I count!
Blest was I then all bliss above!
Now, for that consecrated fount
Of murmuring, sparkling, living love,
What have I? shall I dare to tell?
A comfortless and hidden well.
A well of love—it may be deep—
I trust it is,—and never dry:
What matter? if the waters sleep
In silence and obscurity.
—Such change, and at the very door
Of my fond heart, hath made me poor.
I travelled among unknown men,
In lands beyond the sea;
Nor, England! did I know till then
What love I bore to thee.
‘Tis past, that melancholy dream!
Nor will I quit thy shore
A second time; for still I seem
To love thee more and more.
Among thy mountains did I feel
The joy of my desire;
And she I cherished turned her wheel
Beside an English fire.
Thy mornings showed, thy nights concealed,
The bowers where Lucy played;
And thine too is the last green field
That Lucy’s eyes surveyed.
It Was An April Morning: Fresh And Clear
By William Wordsworth
It was an April morning: fresh and clear
The Rivulet, delighting in its strength,
Ran with a young man’s speed; and yet the voice
Of waters which the winter had supplied
Was softened down into a vernal tone.
The spirit of enjoyment and desire,
And hopes and wishes, from all living things
Went circling, like a multitude of sounds.
The budding groves seemed eager to urge on
The steps of June; as if their various hues
Were only hindrances that stood between
Them and their object: but, meanwhile, prevailed
Such an entire contentment in the air
That every naked ash, and tardy tree
Yet leafless, showed as if the countenance
With which it looked on this delightful day
Were native to the summer.–Up the brook
I roamed in the confusion of my heart,
Alive to all things and forgetting all.
At length I to a sudden turning came
In this continuous glen, where down a rock
The Stream, so ardent in its course before,
Sent forth such sallies of glad sound, that all
Which I till then had heard, appeared the voice
Of common pleasure: beast and bird, the lamb,
The shepherd’s dog, the linnet and the thrush
Vied with this waterfall, and made a song,
Which, while I listened, seemed like the wild growth
Or like some natural produce of the air,
That could not cease to be. Green leaves were here;
But ’twas the foliage of the rocks–the birch,
The yew, the holly, and the bright green thorn,
With hanging islands of resplendent furze:
And, on a summit, distant a short space,
By any who should look beyond the dell,
A single mountain-cottage might be seen.
I gazed and gazed, and to myself I said,
‘Our thoughts at least are ours; and this wild nook,
My EMMA, I will dedicate to thee.’
—-Soon did the spot become my other home,
My dwelling, and my out-of-doors abode.
And, of the Shepherds who have seen me there,
To whom I sometimes in our idle talk
Have told this fancy, two or three, perhaps,
Years after we are gone and in our graves,
When they have cause to speak of this wild place,
May call it by the name of EMMA’S DELL.
One late night in the month of May
I found a squirrel sitting still
So I asked him, can you say
how to be better when you pray?
And he said good prayer occurs
when I can focus well
So I try my hardest
on not straying here and there
If something bugs me
I tell myself Allah can solve it
—then I focus on where I am
If something excites me, distracts me,
pulls me away
I remember I have it because of Allah
—then I turn my thoughts to Him
The squirrel skipped off
not knowing at all
Till this day I stand still and tall
humble and silent, quite appalled:
through this squirrel
God showed me the key to prayer
all I did was ask.
Heart in knots
arid eyes trapped
In vivid memory
Wave after wave erupts in my head
I’ve struck cures for some nostalgia yes
but for some things I’ve simply found no end:
When I walk up that carpeted ramp,
and into the first burst of AC current
Officers speaking arabic, like lullabies on my ears
Signs in yellow script, fruits for my eyes
And finally I’m free, on that escalator down
All chains around me quickly turn to dust
The first glimpse in this new world
is the airport musallah
where always a man or two, bows down to God
And all in a moment, I’m out in the air
that all of America cannot possess
Hazy under the tall, white street poles
Humid and heavy but oh so light on the soul
It travels inside
mending cracks that have grown
The scents just from here to the car
are precious, familiar, same as before
Checkpoints and gas tankers
Datsuns and fancy cars
Gas burning at distance, dancing hello
Now I see why when I first went away
Autumn seemed not pretty at all
The desert had my heart—
Its skies! Its expanse!—
since the day it cradled me in its arms
Where can I start on the wonderful things—
the upright palm, the frangipani of Singapore
Petunias chattering on every lawn
Al-Marai juice, exquisite
milk flavors—banana and…biscuit?
Lipton Iced Tea and Shani to drink
Zaatar, falafel, on visible flame
Beetles, bugs, lizards and moths
friends not foes, welcoming grass
Where the ants reroute or climb your arm
No sign of red, no fear, no harm
Walls, some made of little stones
And others with texture that demand your touch
The sun at its crown is ever refined
The sky so pure like it’s never seen a cloud
Buses stream up rolling hills
like a river of green through desert sand
And so I wonder whatever for
would I be foolish and search for a cure
When I have a place that pulls at my heart
pokes through my soul
pulses my blood, colors me like milky tea
lets me breathe in so many ways
This ache has no end
only room to be sustained
And the only, only way
is to build
a mountain of Praise.
I saw an article today about Norway, which is already one of the places that intrigues me most, but then I read that it’s a place that has 100% literacy. The article went on about purchasing and publishing and different things. And somewhere in the article I started wondering about Norwegian poetry.
I ended up at what seems to be a rather famous poem called from 1966 by Olav H. Hauge:
Det er den Draumen
Det er den draumen me ber på
at noko vedunderleg skal skje,
at det må skje –
at tidi skal opna seg,
at hjarta skal opna seg,
at dører skal opna seg,
at berget skal opna seg,
at kjeldor skal springa –
at draumen skal opna seg,
at me ei morgonstund skal glida inn
på ein våg me ikkje har visst um.
It was a dream
We all carry with us this dream:
that something wonderful will happen,
that it must happen –
that time will open,
that the heart will open,
that doors will open,
that cliffs will be opened,
that springs will well forth,
that the dream will be opened,
– that we one peaceful morning will glide in –
onto a bay we had not been aware of.
[Translated for The Norway Post by Rolleiv Solholm, Chief Editor]