Deleted Part Of ‘Risalat al-Ghufran' (2)
Translated by Stephen Watts and Marga Burgui-Artajo
Lying on my back
and looking up at the sky
I count the sighs rising up to God each day
and the drops of rain dripping from His eyelids
and I call Him on the phone and
ask for Him
His pretty secretary replies
that these days He's so busy
so snowed under
with all our tattered petitions stacked in the store rooms.
Oh my lady, I mouth at her, I so need to see Him
if only for one moment
but He's never replied
whatever I've asked.
I want to appeal to Him before I take leave of my miserable
and before He lays before me the inventory of my sins :
My God, the Most Just
did I lose such a vast paradise
simply on account of one apple
was it because of but one fallen angel
that I had so to prostrate myself in humiliation ?
Our Father ...
Our Father most Merciful
I know You won't make fun of me as they do
but I feel miserable and without hope
I simply want a patch of this earth to lay me down shoeless to
just one loaf of bread from among the teeming ears of wheat
that sway before me like dancing waists
I sit in front of the door of the Kufa Mosque
I sit in front of the Cathedral of Lund
I sit in front of the Wailing Wall
I sit in front of the temple of Buddha
my hand palm-pressed to my knee
and I see how many times we've raised our hunched backs
and how many times we've bowed ourselves down
and in spite of all this
no-one pays any attention to our guttered gush of tears
Ah, I want to go one day to His Kingdom to see
where the clouds of our moaning end up
and this planet that has been rotating
with our scuffles & drums, our curses & supplications
down so many millions of years
as to wake Him from His cosmic siesta
that He might look out from His balcony
and observe us :
And who knows
maybe He's gotten bored with our grievances
and has turned His Holy Face away
and forgotten us forever.
It seems I'm kicking the terrestrial globe with pokey shoes
and that I'm not letting it hit the ground
until I can pass it back to Him
And then He can reply to me
out of sight of the exegetes & dervishes & preachers :
if You & only You were master of the hidden
and disclosed not Your secrets to anyone,
then how did Satan come to know
that I'd ravage havoc on this planet
And if You denied me
the blood of grapes
then why did You allow it to others ?
And if the wicked could not get on board Noah's Ark
but were instead drowned in the seas
how are they come back to this Earth again ?
"When heaven shall be split asunder, and listen to and obey its
Lord, as it must, and when the earth shall be stretched out and
shall cast forth all that was in it and be empty..."3
What will happen to Van Gogh's paintings,
& Mutanabbi's qasidas,
& Shakespeare's plays,
& the Nahj al-Balagha4,
& Mozart's music ?
And what will be left us in the museums of Paradise ? ...
And if in Your vast Paradise I could find
then might I publish my poems
without need of the censor ?
And if You were to give me
ten thousand houris to dandle
what would be left for my Love ?
Luleå, Sweden 3rd April 1998
2 - Famous book written by the rebellious blind poet Abul Ala'a al-Ma'ari (973-1057 A.D). Its skeptical humanism and brilliant language is said to have inspired Dante's comedy.
3 - Verses 1-4, Sura 84 (The Splitting Asunder), "The Qur'an".
4 - "Nahj al-Balagha" is the most famous collection of speeches attributed to Imam Ali Ibn Talib, the cousin of the Prophet Muhammed.