Ramadan Suns Itself


Ramadan suns itself by the dark of night
and takes no notice of

earthquake or flood

Ramadan begins walking toward us from the
furthest hilltop of the previous year

and arrives at our door with
baskets of golden fruit

Although Ramadan seems most at home in
lavish “oriental” settings of jeweled

ewers and plashing fountains
our faces can best be reflected in its

battered tin plates and small sheltered ponds

No one has ever disappeared into Ramadan
never to be seen again

or if they do they appear again at the
Festival in bright silvery clothes

handing out sweets wrapped in our
most personal names

Ramadan is the most patient among us
and endures our anxieties with

perfect poise
never turning its face away

If we knew the treasures of Ramadan we would
want the fast to take place every

day of the year

but the sparkling gold of its coins dissolves into
denominational numbers when

Ramadan ends

If Ramadan were a horse it would be
a herd of the finest thoroughbreds

and each of us would be assigned the one most
suited to our variable temperaments

Ramadan is an ocean that waits each year in a
dimension of space and when it

bursts onto shore it
inundates our souls having transformed our

slightest actions into flying doves

Ramadan ends the way it begins
silently and with the

deepest humility

leaving through the same front door
through which it came

When the Prophet tightens his belt for
Ramadan each of us feels it

some losing and some gaining
the weight of its privations

Love arrives in the disguise of Ramadan
and when it removes its mask we find

it’s been with us all along
as familiar to us as


but more than we were before
and less

8/21/11  21 Ramadan (from Ramadan is Burnished Sunlight)

Categories: Poems, Ramadan / 'Eid, Fasting