Arts & Culture

Everyone Had Set Out

Everyone Had Set Out  


Everyone had set out on the journey to Allah,

the historical records are complete

        down to the last detail.

Some of them died of thirst in a dry place,

some of them drowned in the abundance that splashed

  its fruity suds in excess

            in this unique universe full of stars.

Some reached the goal of their search in a shoot-out on a

                  back street in Chicago.

Some in alchemical laboratories engulfed in the blue flash!

Some rode alongside railroads with sacks of money

                   on perspiring horses.

Some in a quiet lounge in an overstuffed chair

                   reading newspapers.

Some had their hearts cut out and offered to the sun,

and so found their destiny and its knowledge

sticking them between the ribs with its obsidian edge.

Some lost their head as they reached the peak

             but froze their feet.

All sought the God Who created them,

Who is not in hiding behind some far-away cloud,

but is nearer than our jugular vein

and the Answerer to our call.

Everyone took the torturous journey

and here they stand.

To look at them you wouldn't know

who or what they lavished such affection on,

what they adored and how,

          except that the shifting, anxious eyes tell all,

the nervous looking for escape routes

now that the impending finale of all the spontaneous charades

           is closing upon them,

and the photo-albums fall open around their feet

displaying all the gods and bit-players

           they gave honor to, and dressed in halos and crowns

and presented with emotional ticker-tape parades

and agonized over in the dark of night,

the family portraits with the grim benefactor stiff-necked behind

but the awaiting recipients of his benefactions pretending

           innocence in the front row,

not relying on the Original Source for all


To judge only outwardly,

the few skulls and thigh-bones left in the earth,

the broken teeth and occasional evidence of a

            sharp blow with a dull weapon,

or footprints which might tell a tale of erect posture

            or a hunting or homesteading instinct,

all these outward tokens do not attest to the

twists and turns of the journey each of them took

to get here

to this place

at last.

The volumes of utterance attest -

some like cries heard from the mouth of a well,

some like contented singing on a slow river-bank,

some like the true weeping of solitude's friend

who sees the shore from which his root was wrenched loose

     and longs for a return -

these voices attest in their burble to the true gamble

each one took to find the God of them all.

Each heart is burning

and each tongue makes sparks

           in the dark night.

These fragments fluttering through the library corridor

and down the evacuated stairwell

like whispers and moans of these voices now

          silent in the boneless, non-historical bodies

reconstituted on this endless plain

under a blistering sun, a murderous sun -

           in this fully attended gathering

               down to the dead-at-infancy,

these fragments like tape-recordings of the whole forest jabber

           of humankind's mad desire

to be reunited to the One -

it stands out now, unrolls,

thunder cracks all across it,

the vocal orchestra up-heaves

like a tidal flood of heart's desire,

the speech of heartbeats made verbal

against the silent, silent sand.

Mouths of Napoleons are gaping,

        no words come out.

Eyes of Caesars are round,

        they see nothing.

The crowd is immense,

and like fleas on an elephant,

the individual characteristics of each

are lost against the gray bulk.

But each hour-glass filled with actions like sand

is tipped to fall through each individual's hand.

Each hand-print will be different on the sand-pattern sealed

by the actions they made in the terrestrial field.




Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore is a Muslim poet who has published many poetry books and organized poetry reading festivals. Born in 1940 in Oakland, California his first book of poems was published in 1964. He became a Muslim in 1970 and travelled extensively around Europe and North Africa. Although he stopped writing for ten years he continues writing Islamic and spiritual poetry.



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