Prayer at the Ka’ba

Oh Lord, the orange cat lying asleep on the
shoe rack outside the Ka’ba
looked tranquil, lean from
living wild in Mecca, but still
cat-like and sweet-faced –
surely some of this peacefulness
could come to me?

Oh Lord, You raise up giant roof-beams in the
world and
hurl great foundations
as deep as the seas –
I am only your creation of
flesh and bone,
but surely some of those
depths and heights
could be mine?

Oh Allah, I sit here facing Your House on
earth, beseeching Your Grace,
seeking Your Face,
my own not good enough in
this life,
my own face a combination of
lusty panther and
awkward ostrich
in this life,
yet I’m grateful for its
miraculous properties in
facing the world,

especially the eyes – close them
and light spreads,
open them and
miracles appear –
especially Your stark square of black cloth rising
endlessly up into the night in front of me now
but Your Face, Lord,
could I catch a
glimpse of it at least?

A white owl flies in the night somewhere,
its impassive face and saucer eyes
fleeing through the air.

Is this my face, Lord,

searching everywhere?

12/20/95 (from Sparrow on the Prophet’s Tomb)

Categories: Poems, Prayer, Hajj