What happened to Poetry…

It’s been a few days since I last wrote. The post Ramadan blues have hit and taken a few days to re-adjust to not having the disciplined ways that brought such closeness to the God-head. I see now the other realm of blessing in having the 6 days of fasting in Shawwal such a strong advice. Indeed, fasting again in Shawwal would remind what Ramadan was all about. And would help cement the (hopefully) newly found better habits of Ramadan.

But Alhamdulillah, today, while baking some goodies to take to work tomorrow (sharing Eid spirit..yay!) I came across this gem of a short talk by Hamza Yusuf. Talking about the place of poetry. It reminded me of the love of literature born in those long gone days of schooling when a teenager. Sitting in those classroom open to the breeze from the Indian ocean and listening to teachers from an old school, spinster teachers who dedicated their life to being ‘our second mothers’…beautiful generous souls whose piety transcended religion, who loved God, and loved humanity and served endlessly. How blessed I was to be taught by them. To have known them. I guess growing up in an island forgotten by the world (yes, even despite desperately needing assistance to end a brutal civil war) had its advantages. I may be old fashioned, but I sure do thank God for my old fashioned education! My English literature teacher, in her seventies at the time, still wearing frocks as they wore in the 40s… who used to walk about the school premises and feed the cats milk in saucers.. My English literature teacher, who taught me to be compassionate to prostitutes through a Beatle’s song, who taught me to see the love of a civilization in the music of a guitar, who taught me to love truth and be courageous in fighting falsehood.. how blessed I was to have her. Stumbling across this talk reminded me of those days, reading Shakespeare, reading the Quran slowly everyday, pondering deeply. How much poetry there is in the Quran. How much truth. Indeed it is all truth. And real poetry speaks universal truths.

The written word is magical. And so God swears by the pen, by language, by reading.. in the first revealed words. ‘Iqra’! Read!

I had many wise things to say, but rather than bore you with pithy cliches, let me just link here the fabulous talk and hope you all get to watch it. Please do.

And I’ll copy one of my favourite poems of all time too 🙂

‘I had no time to hate, because
the grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I,
could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love, but since
some industry must be
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me’
– Emily Dickinson

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