Poem: Five Short Meditations on the Virgin Mary

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(Note: This poem was commissioned by Abdal-Hakim Murad for his essay appearing in the compendious volume, Mary, the Complete Resource, edited by Sarah Jane Boss and published in 2007. I don’t usually work this way, but it was a powerful adventure for me, with a rather miraculous dénoument described in the note at the end. The poem appears here in its entirety, having been edited for the book, with section 5 missing. I’ve kept the description of Artemis [Google Artemis of Ephesus for images] with multiple breasts, although there is now some controversy over whether or not that is what they are.)


                                               for Abdal-Hakim Murad

1

The Virgin Mary sat on a rock that was not wholly rock
in a world that was not wholly world

in a light that was Light direct
in the echo of a Command that came from God direct

whose womb was now to house a halo more than she could
possibly long for

and which made her fear
and caused her angel messenger to comfort her

as he stood at the door and mentioned how
God had designated her the hallowed hall for His pure breath to enter

to make a child with no seed but Himself
to show mankind His holy fatherhood over all

within the physical
but without physical union


2

The pen is hardly lifted

The penalty for birth is death

But he who would be born without coitus
would slide out of death without its mortal coil

Would be taken up to God without entering death’s womb
as he had entered Mary’s womb without birth’s usual folderol

She clutched a tree to steady herself
and dates fell to the ground around her

And he spoke to her from herself
to steady her

Rings of tumult sang around her
The Garden’s tree was now there to strengthen her

her nearing it part of God’s ordained structure
to redeem Adam and Eve’s descent to earth

by new prophecy through standing under
the virgin birth-tree’s sacred agency

Adam of no visible parents
Eve of no mother but father Adam’s rib-side

being both mother and father
now terrestrialized again in Mary’s husbandless pregnancy

though all of us are actually children
of much more than our mere mother’s earthly sympathy


3

I saw Mary board a bus at Broad and State
her head covered and her face radiant

small and held within herself
careful and preoccupied

a heaven seeming to be wrapped around her
her cheeks red her lips dry her eyes lowered

interior moisture her preferred cloister
the bus passengers sudden ghosts before her

her shoes small and tattered
her hands carrying a book

If any had spoken to her she might have become lost

If she had spoken to anyone
they might have become saved


4

None can be “Mother of God” but God

nor Creator of us but God Himself

Jesus begat in light sat in light and was transformed into light
beyond light’s shapes of dark and light

his salutation from where he is continues to excite us
just as Mary’s humility brings us home

to where impossible things are true
and true things impossible or possible by our own lights

to submit as purely to God’s sheer command of: Be!

more than enough to be
in Being’s age-long mystery


5

In Ephasis is Artemis
with multitudes of breasts
and legend says where Mary went
and where she died and rests

Teets our forms are fed from
virgin light that salves our souls
the two eternal females
through whom our life unrolls

The Virgin ever virginal
in modesty extreme
and Artemis whose many breasts
supply an endless stream

One statue standing among rocks
the other in her cave
whose house of stone is all alone
within the Light we crave

____________________________

NOTE

Walking in the woods as is my wont in the morning
June 9th 2005 Philadelphia Pennsylvania after strong storms and
all the trees dry now creaking in the heat and humidity
thinking of this poem
thinking of Mary peace be upon her
walking along the trail wondering to myself about the
Sufi Tariqa of the Mariamiyya
I suddenly hear a crack like horrendous thunder seemingly from
far away but look up above me in time to see a
huge bough break from the top of a tall tree with a giant screech and
hurtle down toward me at seemingly supersonic speed
I step aside yelling “Allah!” automatically heart thumping
and the heavy branch crash-lands exactly where I
stood a split second before and breaks into four or five
raw pieces cracked and shattered and me shocked and grateful
thanking Allah over and over thanking Him with all my being
my position just under it one split second before happily
not there for it to
crash onto me now safe and sound at the side of the trail
I wonder at the force of it as I continue now to wonder
Allah’s full and Awful Power exposed to me direct from the
core of the universe as if sky and earth and mortality itself were
opened up in the blink of an eye
and my life actually only a literal hair’s breadth away
from death

At the Thursday night Sufi meeting I describe it in detail
to Baji our Pakistani shaykha and first thing she asks is
“What were you thinking just before the bough broke and fell?”
and when I tell her I was thinking of the Virgin Mary
she says without a moment’s pause
“Just as Allah protected and saved Mariam
so Mariam protected
you
and saved you!

_____________________________________________

6/7-6/9/2005 (from Holiday from the Perfect Crime, The Ecstatic Exchange, 2011, first published in a different version in
Mary, the Complete Resource, Compendium Books, 2007)

About danielabdalhayymoore

Poet, artist, collagist, publisher, hoping to save a little bit of the world through ecstatic utterance... ordered in balanced lines and unpremeditated images...
This entry was posted in ISLAM/SUFISM, Jesus, Miracles, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, signs of allah, Sufi Poetry, Virgin Mary. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Poem: Five Short Meditations on the Virgin Mary

  1. patrick says:

    lovely,Daniel,lovely

  2. Nor Faridah Abdul Manaf says:

    Loved it too.I had a similar experience some years ago..missed by a split second from being hit by a huge tree trunk which fell on the road after a heavy downpour.What saved me? That day,out of the blue,I was reciting some zikir while driving to work! Since then, I never stop doing my zikir while driving.Subhanallah!

  3. Allahumma salli ala Sayyeda Maryam.

    Glory be! What a beautiful short meditation. It has the power to pull the readers and listeners into the whirlpool of meditative energy. The note brought us lightly back into the awe zone of Allah and returned us beautifully to this world again after traveling out of the world with the five poems. Ascension and Return has many forms and within many folded moments it seems.

    May Allah bless your heart and your pen Sidi. My salaam to you and your loved ones. May Allah protect and give you sound health and tranquility to your soul.

    in Allah’s love.
    Sadiq

  4. Daniel, as always a great and indeed godly pleasure to read your poems. From time to time I pick up Life on Mars and I am always pleased to do so!
    I see you had lymphoma. It sounds like you’re doing better. I wish you the very best with the battle with C, May you discover other avenues in this latest adventure to express your love.
    Will you be applying to Hikmet. They are accepting submission. I believe I will submit again. I love to have an excuse to travel, and I enjoyed myself last year.
    Take care my friend, thanks for the Mary meditations.

    Jeff

  5. Alhamdulilah. This brings tears to eyes.

  6. Pingback: Five Short Medi… | Islam and Eating Disorder

  7. Irving says:

    What a blessing is this lovely meditation on the blessed Mary, peace be upon her, my dear brother Abdal Hayy :))) It enveloped my heart sweetly, and your note at the end brought tears to my eyes. My love to you across the miles :) Ya Haqq!

  8. (Note: This was sent to my email address, out of the blue, not knowing this person, so I post it here and will answer it below, insha’Allah. Any comments are welcome.)

    Bismilahi Rahmaani Raheem
    Allahuma salli 3alaa saydina Muhammad wa 3alaa aalihi wa sahbihi wa salim

    Salam alaikom warahmatulah wabarakatuh Shaykh Daniel,

    How are you, I hope insha’Allah in good health.

    I ‘ve read your poem about Mary radia Allahu 3anha and a remarkable story you told after the poem. You were almost hit by a bough, and that is amazing.

    I suddenly hear a crack like horrendous thunder seemingly from
    far away but look up above me in time to see a
    huge bough break from the top of a tall tree with a giant screech and
    hurtle down toward me at seemingly supersonic speed
    I step aside yelling “Allah!” automatically heart thumping
    and the heavy branch crash-lands exactly where I
    stood a split second before and breaks into four or five
    raw pieces cracked and shattered and me shocked and grateful
    thanking Allah over and over thanking Him with all my being
    my position just under it one split second before happily
    not there for it to crash onto me
    now safe and sound at the side of the trail (alhamdulilah)

    So, Why should you almost get hit and at the same time pondering about Mary. You said that your Shaykha asked you where you were thinking about and you said Mary.

    At the Thursday night Sufi meeting I describe it in detail
    to Baji our Pakistani shaykha and first thing she asks is
    “What were you thinking just before the bough broke and fell?”
    and when I tell her I was thinking of the Virgin Mary
    she says without a moment’s pause
    “Just as Allah protected and saved Mariam
    so Mariam protected you
    and saved you!”

    I myself was pondering about the poem, the story and the role Mary had in it. And I came with a conclusion. If there is a tariqa of Mary, as you call it “Sufi Tariqa of the Mariamiyya” then surah Mariam is no doubt the axis of that tariqa, because it is in the Revelation to the Gatama Nabiyin that we find the deeper understanding about the reality of Mary. There is almost no surah in the Quran, where The Most Mercifull describes in a strong violent visual detail how worse it is to ascribe to Allah a son, as in surah Mariam.

    They say: “The Most Gracious has begotten a son!”
    Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous!
    At it the skies are ready to burst,
    the earth to split asunder,
    and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin,
    That they should invoke a son for The Most Gracious.
    For it is not consonant with the majesty of The Most Gracious
    that He should beget a son.
    Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come
    to Most Gracious as a servant.

    I think that there are elements or sentences in the poem you wrote about Mary that caused this crack-break-crash-split to happen, in such way that was aimed exactly where you stood. A good word is as a good tree, and a bad word is as a bad tree.There are certain idea’s and sentences that need to be adjusted in the poem, for example these words;

    None can be Mother of God but God
    nor Father of flesh but God Himself

    Even though Iam sure you didn’t mean any shirk by it, but it is exactly in surah Mariam that Allah is astonising clear, there are no ambigious words or sentences used in order to let no doubt about it that Jesus is the created servant of Allah.

    I am nothing and see myself not as a good human being. As regards to Mary and her son, I have been pondering and sometimes writing about them, it was almost an obsession in many ways, for example what does it mean when one can only look at his mother with the idea that there was never a father. They are indeed a sign. Allahu wa Rasuluhu a3lam, salla Allahu alaihi wasalam. I felt that I had to mail you this, please forgive me and ask Allah to forgive me.

    Abdulqadir.

    wa alaikom asalam warahmatulah wabarakatuh

  9. Dear Abdulqadir:
    As-salaam ‘alaikum
    It does sound like you believe I was being punished for writing those lines in the poem which you indicate, but by the Grace and Forgiveness of Allah, stepped aside and avoided at the last moment.

    I try very hard to be free in my poems of any kind of shirk (“idol worship” of associating anything with God), and think that no one mistakes those lines as referring to any such connection. The nuance in English is that only Allah can so create and make happen. But I can see your point very clearly also, and might think of putting quotes around those phrases (i.e.: “Mother of God,” “Father of flesh”) to avoid any mistake. Please forgive me if it threw you into any turmoil. I appreciate your close reading and pondering of the poem, and thank you.

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