Peace be Upon Him


Peace be upon him who appeared among us in this
world covered in dust a shining light

A speck of that same light is in all of us needing
only his bellows to blow it brighter

Peace be upon him who in his time of innocence
was the focal point of miracles that happened
around him

We don’t see with our eyes angels crowding the air
stopping calamities and nudging us down the

Peace be upon him who as a youth displayed
unusual modesty at all times

When we see such qualities today we’re
moved to an inordinate degree by their

Peace be upon him who in assuming manhood
with all the manly virtues quietly held to
Abraham’s innermost characteristics

A something that takes place in that almost
indefinable interior that shapes us in a direction
of illumination or circular complexity

Peace be upon him in whose resonance things took
a natural shape always impeccably and
always honorably as if by a magnetic dial

How we get blown by winds out of our control
and try to cross our river by changing horses
a hundred times in midstream

I enter the sacred precincts of Sayyedina Muhammad
as if entering a jade palace with golden sunlight
filtering green through its translucent walls

I know where the road will end but want to
loiter at its various turns to better see his
beloved face elusive but sure in this world
beckoning us from the next

I remember him forward from what
little I knew of him before this moment
and he peace be upon him is not
lacking in anything

Each of us might write this ode the
closer to get to him

I open the door wide and call on us all
to be included in the waves of its failed locutions

Peace be upon his hands that strapped
camel caravans together and washed his children by Khadijah
with sweet fatherly affection and delicate care

Peace be upon his arms that lifted the obsidian stone
from the four-corners-held cloth and
placed it in the Kaba’s wall with the
astonished approval of his tribesmen

Peace be upon his shoulders upon which he
placed a warrior’s armor to face
Allah’s foes in battle and never faltered

Peace be upon his heart like our cosmos itself
with its pure and spacious planetary motions

Peace be upon his loins from which sprang
blessed offspring of children and grandchildren
to continue the Divine Vision unabated

Peace be upon his feet whose sandals illuminate the
earth under our feet for all time to come

Peace be upon his noble neck that most often
bent to listen and remained eternally bowed in submission to

Peace be upon his forehead like a clear lake and like
a flight of egrets reflected across it with its occasional
throbbing vein of fierce determination

Peace be upon his eyes which saw farther than the
sundown wall of Asr and closer than our innermost secrets

Peace be upon his mouth with perfect
lips curved like an archer’s bow and from whose
tongue came all the words needed for us to
live past death and thrive in the Resurrection

Peace be upon the praised and praiseworthy one
Muhammad without whom we’d still be a walking
shadow in the illusory world of shadows

And from whose deepest indications
we enter the world of light

3/28/07 (from Invention of the Wheel)

Categories: Poems, The Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam)