Book of Roses

I listen to my heart

Photo by Y K Randall

Photo by Y K Randall

And breathe
The scent of love.
I listen to my heart
And devour
The taste of desire.
I see and hear
Words written
Into an ancient book
Of which I never tire.
It is the story
Of the Beloved’s purpose
To which I aspire

And yet I ask
And ask again
Ya Rabb!
Help me read
This book within
That is covered
With the roses
Of Your love
And reminds me
Of the deen.
And then I know,
My fingers speak
My heart is keen

“Pour your love
Into those words
Of silent longing.
It knows the rose,
And in the dark
Flies the nightingale
Following the fragrance,
Opening her throat
To tell the world
The Beloved
Has bridged the moat”

In the morning
Comes a sign,
Passed from sister
To dear sister
To sister again.
A barakah chain
And meanings align
To place a hand
On the heart
Of this fool
And a whisper,
“Be my tool,
You are nothing,
Hu is all!”

A gift of roses
To mark the book,
Hu’s Name,
Ahmad’s light,
Beads of prayer,
Is what it took
To take me there.
Now this fool
Will keep this gift
And ever hear,
“Be my tool,
You are nothing,
Hu is all!”


Diary of An Andalucian Village: Rain Blessings

The weather has suddenly turned wet and cold. It has rained all night for two nights in a row now. This is wonderful as we have had very little water for two years and are officially experiencing a drought. High up in the mountains here, and with the Mediterranean before us, we get to see a lot of sky and one of the joys of autumn and winter are the fantastic cloud formations and the uncluttered views of sunrise and sunset. Even better are the thunder storms which you can watch moving across the mountains until it’s right overhead and it becomes more sensible to get off the roof and run in doors before flying debris, or even lightning, strikes you down. The village is then transformed into a series of waterfalls as the rain gushes down and washes away the dust from streets and vegetation. Everything is so much greener after the mighty wash.

Photo by I. Chatterjee

Photo by I. Chatterjee

An Imminent Fugue
I watch the clouds today
in colours purple, indigo and grey,
hanging dark and huge, as
swollen with an imminent fugue

Colour sings alone the theme,
joined in fury by wildest wind.
Then in contrapuntal dash
texture shot by lightning flash.

Skip one, skip two in silent
consonance until divergent
motion tears apart the map
with the din of thunder clap

It has broken. Rain slaps ground,
sky begins again the round,
displays its stunning beauty
with majestic, trembling sound

Hu’s Names alive in vibrant signs,
a language for each eye and ear.
A text of love writ on the body
of creation far and near

After the storm the water flows.
Running in rivulets down
every street. It knows
intimately each parched atom

in this thirsty land. Field,
and rock, deep roots of loss,
your heart, mine too,
is nourished by the rain of Hu

© Katherine Randall, Granada 2006

Poets of Love

It is autumn, a time of ripened figs eaten straight from the trees or threaded on string and hung for drying. It is also the season of the almond harvest. As the husks split open to reveal the nuts, those villagers who have land are all out with sticks and nets to gather in a prodigious amount of the nuts this year. Although almond trees look so graceful they are in fact very robust and take a good beating at harvest time and vigorous pruning later in the year. Gathering in the almonds is hard work and can take a couple of weeks depending on how many you have. Not for me though, I have one almond tree in my little yard. I give it a bit of a shake and the almonds fall to the ground. I also have a couple of cats who enjoy climbing the tree and their antics amongst its branches bring down a few more. So while the rest of the village is working hard what am I doing? I am busy working with words. As the almonds of the fields are being transformed into marzipan or those delicious soplillos, meringues with chopped almonds, I am striving to transform words into poetry, or reflections on life and living. I haven’t posted here for a while, but I hope to begin again with more regularity. As life changes and the path of surrender brings its surprises, trials, and lessons I discover the need to write more poetry and poetic prose. These mediums offer a greater chance of expressing the ineffable, of grounding the celestial, and of offering a service of love. Having said that I must add that my attempts are still very much at the beginning of this path and there is a lot of work to do. I need a bit of ‘beating and pruning’ to produce the fruit, just like those almond trees. I am reminded of the sema of the Mevlani dervishes, as they whirl they hold one hand up, palm open to the heavens, and one hand down, palm open to the earth, acting like conduits for the light of Allah (swt). I believe those masters of tasawwuf, Rabi’a, Rumi, Hafiz, Yunus Emre, to name a few of those visionary poets, perform a similar function with their words. They move the soul of the reader and stir the heart. How good it would be to be just a fleck of dust in the hem of their robes and to listen as they utter their words of love.