Miscellaneous verses by
Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri
|Poems with a Literary Theme
How to Write a Poem
(Referring to Mevlana Rumi’s ‘Call of the Reed’ from his Masnevi)
Your want to write poetry? Read,
Again, and again, about the reed.
Find the reed-bed, inside your heart,
Only then you may be ready to start.
When the candle is dimmed by the sunlight,
And you realise you have been up all night,
But you can’t tell whether the bird song
Was outside, or in your mind all along;
Then listen, and hear just what the reed said,
About loving and longing – before going to bed;
And before drifting off pause and offer a prayer
Of thanks to Mevlana - just for being there.
The Point of Poetry
In the little, is the much,
True love-making in a touch,
In just a single sigh hear,
Heaven’s voices ringing clear.
In just a single point see,
The essence of all poetry.
Who is He
It is not me making poetry,
Poems just come out of me.
The secret is surely only His,
As to who the poet really is.
A Reply to the Practical Man
Practical, poetry may not be,
No more practical than a tree;
By it the poor cannot be fed, -
But the miser to charity may be led.
Mevlana’s thoughts in my head,
Like a rich carpet in a shed,
Or a treasure in a battered trunk,
Or the finest wine, in an old drunk.
A paper boat stays afloat – for a while,
Absorbs the water, then sinks in style.
Words of wisdom stay not long in the mind,
But they linger in the heart you will find.
The Beauties of Poetry
A poem is like a woman for sure,
All come knocking on Joseph’s door,
And, on demand, their pass they're showing,
An orange, a knife, and a palm bleeding;
Poems come to the poet in such variety,
Each displaying their unique femininity;
Alluring, seductive, a little reluctant,
Or eager, and energetically expectant;
Sensitive, shy and wondering why,
Or openly and boldly giving the eye;
Slickly silky and even slightly sly,
Or on some kind of natural high;
Mystically, moody and alluring,
Or commanding and demanding;
Tough talking but tender beneath
(A bit like overly cooked beef);
Curvaceously cute with long flowing locks,
Or not bothered about superficial looks;
Chatty and endlessly witty,
Or girlishly young and pretty;
Wide eyed, trusting and adoring,
Or deep, but apparently boring;
Pious and pure, like a prayer;
Or cheeky and given to banter;
Modest, mild, meek and demure,
Or forever demanding yet more;
Reassuringly confident in every way,
Or just plain having a great deal to say;
To the point, straight up, and direct,
Or subtly suggestive to good effect;
Intellectually stimulating and exciting,
Or salaciously seductive and inviting.
About poems, and women, one could say so
But in common they both want to reach heaven’s door.
The poem demands from the poet’s time,
To be dressed in the best words and rhyme;
And a woman demands her allures,
Are decked out for a love that endures.
Of course there’s a difference really,
Between women’s ways and poetry;
A poem has certain limits for sure,
But a woman’s ways – need I say more?
In reality there is only one poem, ultimately,
And only one Poet writing it, beautifully;
Just as there is really only one true story -
Of Joseph’s beauty, hardship, and glory.
In case your worthy sense of purity,
Is offended by this talk of femininity;
Remember the words are from the heart,
And hear it, I pray, with your better part;
And in the holy Qur’an one may see,
(And with this you must surely agree),
Silver limbed ones of such great beauty,
Described with complete gravity.
My Muse and Me
We think alike, my muse and me,
Words come when she just looks at me,
And when she smiles I know for sure,
The words are right and good and pure.
When wine she pours generously
Above the clouds I am flying free;
She shows me what I long to see;
We think alike, my muse and me.
Late Night Poetry
You want more poetry it seems,
But all this body craves is dreams;
Ah well the pen must write,
When the hand moves,
My only hope then tonight -
is for the word that soothes.
If the mind contrives to give birth,
To a beauteous idol full of mirth;
Then all that is achieved by all this,
Is to put on paper the dream of bliss.
The arched eyebrow, the dimpled smile,
The sparkling eye, the elegance, the style.
All I can say is that to this dream creation,
The pen has now sent its open invitation,
And if in some reader it raises a smile,
The pen can rest content again awhile.
Any well turned phrases and fine eloquent praises,
Should, we know, only be intended to please You.
A memorable line that the path to You blazes,
We hope stays in the mind to remind us of You.
If from deep inside some heart one day it rises,
Then turbulence it may calm with the thought of You.
Should someone ask what, for the poet, the prize is,
The answer is that it's recalling the beauty of You.
To the Absent Muse
Come back sweet and linger longer with me,
Your finely drawn features I long to see;
Do you not reward with a kiss at least,
The patience of a poor poet like me?
Few today care much for the poet's art,
It seems obscure - from daily life apart,
Well and good it may be as they say,
Until some verse touches your heart.
Beneath the Apple Tree
I really don’t know why,
But I thought I would try,
To read a book of English poetry,
Sitting beneath a sunlit apple tree.
Perhaps to see what I’d passed by;
Deliberately left behind as I
Pursued another way to love,
Another path to heaven above.
I am really glad I did,
Open the old rusty lid,
For there is treasure here,
In minds so very clear.
Not that I was wrong to pass by
I‘d never have really known why
They shine, besides I lacked the key
To open up that kind of mystery
The Way to the One,
Is not so easily won!
One cannot distracted be,
By every passing fantasy.
But seeing what I saw, I see now,
Whatever glistens is gold somehow;
And with this universal key,
I’ll spend some time in the company,
Of Keats, Shelley, Coleridge and old Milton,
Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Johnson, and so on.
So speak to the mind, heart,
Or soul, or to their best part
And we will share a poetic brew
Now, shall I go first, or will you?
I know some poets from another clime
Who know how to turn a pretty rhyme.
A poem can be a very refined lady
Or a tavern wench, you will agree.
Each has its own charms, I see
Let us revel in their company.
The Muse of Poetry
This muse amuses me a lot!
When she comes to visit me,
For others I give not a jot!
But dear wife don't jealous be,
Flesh and blood she is not.
Ah my darling, witty, pretty, literary muse,
The musings of philosophy are just a ruse;
It’s the pert nose, sweet smile, bright eyes and red lips,
That inspire the selection of the words I use.
A Bright Spark
A good poem should always be quite terse,
Not dreamy or vague – quite the reverse.
Nor like lightning, a flash in the dark night,
But like a spark that sets the wick alight.
Then if in the mind a true flame grows,
In the heart with love everything glows.
Some say ‘ Ishq’ translated into English cannot be,
However with them I respectfully disagree.
The word ‘love’ is that universally known bond,
Which means that of one another we are fond;
Ishq is love in a different degree it is true,
But just capitalise ‘Love’ is all you have to do.
O these words and these rhymes just come to me,
Like messengers of Love they appear to be.
I hope and I pray that the One Who sends them,
Will one day deliver them to me personally.
The Contented Man
Ahh yes to feel quite content,
And wisely time to have spent,
In the company of one’s muse,
This is the life a man might choose.
The Demands of Poetry
A few more rhymes came my way, today,
They are not happy till the light of day
They can clearly see - i.e.
Till they are written down by me.
Where they come from is hard to say
From somewhere both near and far away.
Or to put it a little differently
Neither far, nor near, apparently.
Like a prayer they just appear in me,
A reflection of Your infinite Capacity.
So I duly write down what in my mind
Appears; and hope the reception is kind.
I said to my wife, 'God, where is He?'
She said where He is supposed to be!
The implication is quite clear to me,
Not just sitting and writing poetry.
Thank You for Poetry!
The gift of rhyme,
Came just in time,
The art of scanning
Takes more planning,
But the important part
Is from the heart.
They say it’s about finding a voice,
But when it is Yours, there is no choice,
Except to be silent, inside, and hear,
Your musical cadences ringing clear.
You are the Poet, I am the pen,
You know what to write and when.
I never know what You are going to say,
And in a sense it may be better that way;
For the less my mind interrupts Your flow,
The more Your words show the way to go.
Guys and Girls
Diamonds and pearls entice many nice girls,
And many good guys fall for lips and curls.
All this can add up to a fine new equation,
Though, to be frank, not on every occasion.