when that-which-elicits-chances pours a cold
jug of truth-water on your slumbering
core, don’t change your clothes and climb back into bed.
strip down, stand up, and get going!
get going, at whatever pace you can.
sometimes your progress is an arrow to its mark, flying;
a cut up dead-bird made whole and alive again, flying;
flying by the will of its maker, to kiss the hand of Abraham.
you ride the current, fast and focussed,
graced with an elation of sureness that silences your worry.
other times, progress is pain; I know – a broken
mule staggering up the slope.
doubt, anger, fear, despair – I know.
don’t think any soul has truly submitted
without going through this labour.
make learning discipline part of your daily work
and take one more little step
through the struggle. payment is there already, not later.
when you grab the well-rope and pull for water,
something refreshes you
before the bucket reaches your lips.
Yūsuf truly lived in that well of refreshment;
and this was the cause of his unmatchable attractiveness.
when you sit in the kitchen and start to shake
a glass bottle full of milk,
something gives you a lightness, a sweetness,
a simple sustenance of this-is-all-I-need,
before butter separates out from milk
and delights your mouth with what it knows.
practice saying, ‘this is how I committed to live,’ and just keep going.
don’t look back, nor ahead –
what do past and future matter?
all that is important and real is now.
past was; future may or may not be; only now is.
strike the flint of discipline.
fan the passionate flame
let the blaze melt down your churning
worry-mill of what-ifs and what-if-nots.
launch all of your fear into oblivion.
no friendship exists without trust.
when something is whispered, bow to it!
when you were beyond were-ness, in love with divinity
and immersed in reality, your mind did not worry over what might come.
you leapt up to do the service.
friend-on-this-journey-with-me, to return to that way
of living is to fulfill your pledge and to once again become truly alive.
trust is faith that you will be held up. or is the amīn you intone in prayer
mere lip-service that someone told you to say?
amīn, amen, hum, aum:
prove your faith and keep going, homeward;
crawl on your knees if you have
to do it, the way an infant crawls to his mother.
even more blessing is hidden there.
you will not be let down.
in the silent sanctity of commitment to every dawn,
a friend cannot help but draw near and pour wine.
in the purification of your being, the point will come
when you will no longer be held back
by whatever almost made you stay behind and miss the blessing.
Doyali Farah Islam has a forth-coming first collection of poetry, Yūsuf and the Lotus Flower (Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2011). Her poetry has appeared in Grain.
Volunteers for Issue 8
For copy-editing this issue of MTLS thanks:
- Amanda Tripp
- Carmel Purkis
- Rosel Kim
- Julia Cooper
- Lequanne Collins-Bacchus
MTLS is grateful to Jean-Pierre Houde for his hard work on web management.