The Saint Calls to Us


The saint calls to us one by one
under a corridor of stars

to savor in the eyes and heart the night’s
sweet dissolution

the earth’s lamplit opening from a deep chamber
to an angelic choir in the same rift
and through the same stones

Calls us out through our wrist-cuffs and
shirt openings button by button

to take that one step from ourselves whose arc
though only a yard across contains an
entire Himalayas and all the seven seas

My heart is a bound package that wants to go
but hears in its causeways the clack of
railroad tracks and their soft replies

If we’re brought out of ourselves on an
empty plain under a howling wind
and the light not strike us dead in an

and the rest of the forest creatures not sit in a
patient circle around us preening their
feathers and grooming their paws and whiskers

If the light not strike us is it because we’ve
become light? Or too dark for it to
penetrate and we’ve simply been caught in its camera flash?

Where was the beginning of this contemplation going?
I wonder to myself half way or more
to its completion

Always at a midway point
even as sightings of land confound or
confirm us

Our hands are to be taken by the
hands of God across the ice to a
warmer climate to thaw us and
expose us to His love

Pious scholars predict doom and salvation in the
same breath and it’s the
same breath sparrows breathe as they
dart from

O Allah help me to my knees

The night is burrowing into itself
and the day is already on its elbows
anxious to flee

4/7/2006 (from Coattails of the Saint)

Categories: Poems, Saints / Awliyya