A selection of shorter poems by Jamuiluddin Morris Zahuri - an introduction to the
more complex poems in the main website.
Dogged Verse Making
Doggerel verse is alive and is well,
As I hope from this you can tell.
This old dog has penned a fair few;
Yes, with old fashioned rhymes too.
If poetry is a tree, this verse is a twig I guess,
But if this twig God should chance to bless,
Its as likely to get you happy-drunk,
As a branch or even a great, grand, trunk.
Beneath the Froth find the Coffee.
You may think that short, witty, ditties,
Like these, are only intended to please;
Well they are; but blow the froth away,
You may find they have something to say
Though they say it in a humorous way,
A Pretty Wise and Witty Aphorism
The young and pretty are not always wise and witty,
Though may be smart:
But the wise and witty are always young and pretty –
In the heart!
I made an apple pie and it is the apple of my eye,
Here’s a poser, can one pen a poem on an apple pie?
Well in my opinion the question simply does not apply,
If you're pie-eyed* the apple pie the poetry will supply.
If I was an egg,
I would surely beg
To be eaten by you.
That is what Love can do!
The Market Place
Ah that pretty, witty, little market maid,
T’was not the apples or oranges she displayed,
That made the punters flock to her stall,
T'was cherry-red lips, that brought in the trade.
Few, today, care very much for the poet's art,
It seems obscure – and from daily life apart,
Well and good, it may seem to be this way, until,
Some verse reaches in and touches your heart.
For Ramadan 2015
The one who seeks by the One God to be fed,
To this great fortune how have they been led?
This one knows fasting means feeding, inside,
This one, by the One God was given a guide.
The Way of the World
In the way of the world you may conceal,
Exactly how it is your heart really does feel.
Emptiness, and sorrow, and bitter despair,
Is the soul's rejection of the worldly meal.
Savour sadness, it’s just happiness gone on holiday,
Sweet happiness, it’s just sadness that went away.
Listen and look, see and hear, how your heart is today,
Tomorrow it will be behaving in a very different way.
Nothing is lost and nothing is gained,
But, as it was, nothing forever remained.
Whatever it was, it came and left again.
Your smile or frown came and changed,
But always Your face it’s beauty retained.
Poor old Self-pity sought me out and said:
‘By me to destruction many have been led!’
“To the One Who sent you please return”, I said,
“And say, by me you were well treated and fed,
But wherever gratitude and love have their bed,
Old Self-pity finds no space to lay his head”.
O, the scent of sweet sentiments lasts; it lingers on.
The pebble sank, but on its ripples the moon still shone.
My heart was softened by your kindly looks and words,
And the love song remains, though the singer has gone.
Elegiac (On Thomas Gray)
A gentle man in a grey coat in a graveyard stood;
Yes, a poet he was for sure, and very, very, good.
From his pen flew those immortal lines, until,
Not in a graveyard, but in the hall of fame he stood.
Offend not at all the heart of the guide,
He labours very hard for you deep inside;
But for him, the ride through this short life,
At a dreadful destination may have arrived.
Short Sweet Meeting
When we met briefly the other day,
It was as if the wind blew the clouds away.
Your face had grace but the better part,
Was your heart - from the sun a warm ray.
Sunlight on frost-frozen bare branches,
Yes, winter has its beauty too.
Peering out from beneath silver eyebrows,
As your pearl-piercing eyes used to do.
Eighteen thousand worlds shone and revolved,
In the non-space between me and you.
In the spring-sun we buried your winter,
But we never buried you.
For the Murids
I wish I could show you somehow,
The beauty of your souls, just now;
Without messing up your mind;
But human clay must be refined,
For man is surely made that way.
The best I can do is hope and pray,
That you will see it too some day,
And then for me, you too, will pray.
Ah it’s so easy to get caught by culture’s hook,
But those succeed who for a different bait look.
Gain the ruby of a loving heart and pure white soul;
Find the source of all arts, the Mother of the Book.
Those Amazing Moments
There are moments and places in which lovers gather,
Not planned or advertised, they just come together.
A nexus, a point both in and out of time and space,
Where life-lines meet and greet at last, face to face.
Until I get there, I wonder why they don’t linger longer,
When I arrive I realise it’s because it makes love stronger.
On the isle of your soul’s purity a boat of hostility beached,
And your heart it made sad, as your tranquillity it breached.
Time and time again your mind and heart it roughly touched,
It will fail, for by enmity the soul’s essence won’t be reached.
Two cats met in the alley and sharpened their claws
Neither would give way, it is one of nature’s laws;
Do you want to live like animals and eat or be eaten,
Or rise and learn the ways of love and its holy laws.
A blessing-bringing, balmy, spring breeze;
Fragrant blossoms drifting from apple trees,
Kiss the grass below, so lightly they land,
Like a kiss blown from a loved one's hand.
I just want to feel Your Divinity,
Not debate errors of the trinity,
I just want to know with certainty,
Your abounding Love is Reality
Neither of this, nor of that place, try to be,
The true man knows his real nationality;
He belongs to a country both far and near,
Where a broken-heart is proof of identity.
If God’s lovelorn lunatic seeks Love, what harm pray?
In that business such a one will be engaged night and day.
And if that Love overflows towards everyone he meets,
Then is that not the real essence of doing good in its way.
You want to know everything in advance,
Map it out like a choreographed dance,
But the way love arrives, is as a surprise,
You - a leaf in a torrent with no chance.
The Flow of Love
When the flow of love is there, it is there,
We become one and no longer just a pair,
Or a threesome or a crowd or a country,
No longer labour divided from the gentry,
No longer a stranger, refused admission.
That for which all humanity has long striven,
Arrived as a gift and a gift not to be denied.
There is no cause for pride in a gift received,
Only for gratitude and for feeling relieved.
No more concerned with hardship or ease,
The one who has love is an easy one to please.
I saw five-petalled, white, eager little flowers, a mini milky way,
Amidst the glory of the galaxy-spanning rose garden today.
They were content enough, I guess, to shine out in their little way,
Until the first drops of sweet rain on their petals began to play.
A momentary jig, was performed by each life receiving flower,
Till merry dancing, so it seemed, became the order of the hour,
As if citizens hearing good news came out to do a gig or two,
But it was only here or there, till the breeze into their midst blew.
Then the dancing spread and it became common place for all to do.
United, in the breeze, ripples into many waves of happiness grew.
As if the call to love, from stars high above, had reached that array,
Of small white-petalled flowers I saw dancing in the garden today.
The Zahuri Way
The way of a quiet, unassuming kind of loving,
More like a different mode, or way, of being.
Both new and ancient, a simple realistic view,
Of how Love can unite, and very quietly too,
The disparate modes and ways of living,
That today’s life to everyone is bringing.
Not rejection, but reflection and integration,
Adding an unspoken, hidden, dimension,
To the way we live, and things we do and say,
In the very ordinary patterns of our life today.
Not ‘converting’, ‘reverting’, or fruitlessly debating,
Nor sanctimoniously to unearned piety pretending;
Avoiding excess, and from self indulgence abstaining,
But enthusiastically for perfection always striving.
Trying to be ever giving, and readily fault forgiving,
With high thinking and a quiet, simple, style of living,
Guided by a divine Love that is life illuminating;
In short, aspiring to be a genuinely human being.
All these thoughts have in them something good,
But they are really circling what is not understood,
Intellectually, but by heart, mind, body and soul,
Must be tasted as real, life-giving, and whole.
One could call it a way to more sincerely praise and pray,
Zahur Mian called it ‘better living’; I call it the Zahuri Way.
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.
Love is so new and so ancient too,
A timeless sense of being you;
And when each day I wake anew,
That is all, all I really want to do.
Musing on the Beloved
My muse I did not invite, for quite some time,
The one so close, the inspirer of each rhyme.
But I know, I know, my muse is always here,
Sitting silently, close to me, ready to appear.
Folk hear about the ‘beloved’ and imagine a body,
Or a face, or wearing some aspect of humanity.
To the reasoning mind that may well seem right,
But the ‘beloved’ is the heart that’s turned to light,
Each and every circumstance which that light reveals,
Is the beloved’s face – or at least that is how it feels.
‘I love you’ is spoken millions of times every day,
But only one time in a million is it said this way,
That the very timber of the body gently vibrates,
And love takes our breath, and our very life away.
Love is a Prayer
Love is a prayer that asks nothing;
It is an empty begging bowl,
Some call it a receptive soul.
Grey clouds, grey streets, daily we see;
Grey people, grey days, endlessly.
But that cold grey feeling soon departs,
When we meet bright minds and warm hearts.
I bumped into someone I love today,
Two souls embraced, is what I mean to say;
In the vastness of the entire cosmos,
Planets touched, as if intended that way.
Ah! If it seems you can’t love Love,
Then try to love the one who does;
If my meaning eludes you my love,
Love Love’s lover – Gharib Nawaz!
Serene, stately splendour, condescends,
To meet the worshipper as he ascends,
And to assist up those final few steps,
One who on grace humbly depends.
The Beauty of Virtue
A cool head and an honest face,
Is better than the finest lace.
A smiling sweet temperament,
The finest pearls cannot replace.
To pray for wisdom is wise,
To pray for health likewise:
To pray for abundant love,
However, gains the prize.
Do not a cynic be, for in cynicism lies mortality,
A single cliché uttered with complete sincerity,
Has a life in it that each time is 'forever young',
But in a sneer hear the solemn death bell rung.
To hear what Allah to Hazrat Ali, did tell,
You must become an empty well,
Like the one into which Prophet Yusuf fell;
You must also learn never to tell.
Beauty is in the beholder’s eye, it is true,
But the beholder who beholds just You!
Whatever he sees who is seeing You,
Takes on the glow of Your beauty too.
Wind through willows, wistfully wailing,
Oh how else should it be?
Grey waves on forlorn rocks, pounding,
Oh! How else should it be?
Drought dry dust on withered crops, failing,
Oh! How else should it be?
Charred remnants of cherished dreaming,
Oh! How else should it be?
In the far corner of your love, alone sitting,
Oh! Now that is misery!
Time and time again, I turned to You,
Everywhere I turned I found only You,
Whether to East or West, I turned,
Whatever came in sight was - yes, You,
City streets I walked, containing only You,
People passing by – I saw were all You
This state was not by me somehow earned,
It was an unexpected gift from – yes, You.
Even the street signs spoke only of You,
I looked in a mirror and saw just You,
I thought something of You I had learned
Until You turned me towards – yes, You.
I walked towards and away from You,
I turned corners only to bump into You:
And when toward home I finally turned,
Of course there also I found - yes, You.
I am you father and your mother,
I am your sister and your brother,
I am your spouse and your lover,
I am your beloved and every other,
I am your friend, and your pet, moreover.
I am in, above, below, and around you,
I am love, seeking me far, why are you?
Want to be Wise?
Want to be wise and respected too?
I will tell you exactly what to do,
First, find a fool, and study him well,
Any nearby mirror will be just swell.
You can criticise him in any way you will,
Till your critical faculty’s an empty shell,
But please make sure that he doesn’t depart
Till he has taken every single word to heart.
You will know for sure that this is the case,
When he says he’s not fit for the human race.
Then finally kill him, with kindness of heart,
Let him know that of living he’s just made a start.
* ( Ref to Audens's 'Night Mail' Poem)
Ever since that night-mail’s* noisy rhythms clattered
Into every school book, and completely shattered,
The pastoral rhythms as if nothing else mattered;
And the clitter-clatter,
Of the busy go getter,
Or the chitter-chatter,
Of the gossip-monger,
Or the literary litter
Of an on-line twitter.
Or fashion follower,
Or mad hatter,
Or headline grabber,
Or kerb crawler;
Or drug trafficker,
Or fast food snacker,
Or even the odd impatient waiter,
And the hum of wires,
Or screech of tyres,
Or whistle of bullets,
Or splatter of gullets.
That train never really came to any stop,
Just changed lines became, pop or hip-hop,
And even more rapidly turned into rap,
And more comically into - Pow - Zap!
That train’s becoming a computer
Everyone says its heading for the future,
It has only one speed - and that’s accelerate,
‘Cos everyone aboard appears to be late.
Where it’s going no longer seems to matter,
As long as the train owners are getting fatter,
And as long as it gets there a whole lot faster,
Though we know one day it will hit the buffer.
But all I really wanted was to send a love letter.
Breathe a little more easily the salty sea air,
The ocean departs not, but is waiting there,
Tickling the toes that on the shore stand.
See the pile of clothes there in the sand,
They belong to one who left land behind,
To swim with dolphins for peace of mind?
The Lover's Courage
O, it is one thing to take what You give, and to enjoy,
After all, ‘Which of the gifts of the Lord would you deny?’
It is quite another to refuse and insist, (or at least to try),
That it's not Your gifts I came for, but for You alone I cry.
To brave the lion, so real, guarding Your great door,
And enter that house saying, “You are more than more!”
This is the courage of real love, for sure, for sure,
This is the way of those whose hearts are truly pure.
This the way to go for those who are spiritually mature,
The way to be a lover, a lover of God, like Zahur.
The Passing of the Narcissus
Aristocratic overseer of winter’s end and spring’s beginning,
Proud narcissus, like all power-holders, at last ends up losing,
The golden crown; and with it, their very head and life is going.
Now only bright green spears stand guard, guarding nothing,
Just a forlorn stem; whilst all around idol-worshippers turn to see,
The rich red-brown rose leaves, already wine stained, so early.
Gathering energy, making preparation for summer’s wild party;
Lipstick and blushers busy, fluffing up hair, ready for their entry.
Whilst in the lower orders, like fast encroaching blue water,
Forget-me-nots, and various other blues and purples gather.
Invade they will, but such goings-on the roses greet with laughter,
Blues trumpeters, whose sad notes only send the bees into a lather.
Pale the sun is yet, and cool the air; but children’s laughter warms,
The ambience, and mother’s voices regain their winter-lost charms.
Rich grass, (such a gift), shows that its greenness not only calms,
The impatience of lovers, to feel the summer at last in their arms.
O goodly man take the path of gratitude, you should,
To find your way out of the dark oppressive wood,
This is the simplest way to what is fair and good,
It leads to where happy hearts work and play,
Where early morning dew shines in the sun each day;
Where book and brook and loving look bid you stay.
Where sorrows melt like that warming ice-cream cone,
And joyful children laugh at a silent mobile phone.
Where love, human and divine, merges and you are not alone.
And if you want to linger and not go elsewhere,
Then make heartfelt gratitude your daily prayer;
They will welcome you the kind and good folk there.
But understand this too, that place is not somewhere,
It is in your heart, so it’s here and there and everywhere!
It is when ‘better living’ has become your daily prayer.
Want love? Want living? Want the love of the living?
Want the life that love, like nothing else, is giving?
The living are the holy ones that God, to man, is giving;
The ones whose souls are alive forever and are love-giving.
Whose life was a prayer, and after death are still living.
I feel pity for those who from their love are abstaining,
Why be of those when God is so generously forgiving.
Be sweet natured and enjoy the sweet love,
Of people you meet, and of heaven above.
The soft-hearted ones receive every day,
Thousands of blessings and give them away!
Because they know that the more they give,
The better they learn just how to truly live.
From out of the briny ocean's swell,
Beauty emerged! How? None can tell.
Perfect in essence and in detail see,
Her simple, pearl like, luminosity.
No matter with how many words, or
How cutely contrived the metaphor
That I try to cover her with; to me,
Pristine and pure she will always be.
Whether disguised as a natural scene
In music's strains heard, or artefacts seen,
Or in a quiet afternoon in the park;
Or in a human form (fair or dark);
She still seems like a pearl to me,
In an opened shell, waiting to be
Seen as she really is; and to reveal
She is the Truth that forms conceal.
The flowers of your kind thoughts are beauty sufficient,
Though they are not spoken but are as silent as scent.
The heart where they are grown, is a heart I know so well,
A garden I own, and walk in, to hear what those blooms tell.
Those buds open, when the sun rises in the heart,
Because of its generosity, and the gardener’s fine art.
The days come and go – just so,
This we all do well know – no?
Young bodies mature and grow,
And older ones become slow;
The sum total of this we know,
Is that our life passes - just so!
But this secret you should know,
If the seed of love you sow,
And daily nurture it - just so,
It will continue to steadily grow,
And its effect will surely show,
Then life you will truly know.
The Masnevi of Mevlana Rumi: A Universal Inheritance.
How skilfully he dug that trench, just so,
That, from days seemingly so long ago,
The substance flows of a pure spiritual fire,
Into the lives of those today, stuck in the mire.
He knew well that there would always be,
Some folk who could also mysteries see,
Directly from the source that inspired him;
Yet his labour of love was no mere whim.
Grateful we are that the glory of the past,
Is present, still, now - and will last and last.
So take the cup he offers in eternity,
Of ineffable truth manifested in poetry.
And let us say with reverential brevity,
As-salaam to the author of the Masnevi.
(salaam means 'peace and security)
Salaam, in silence can everywhere be heard,
Beneath the spiralling swoop of every bird,
Beneath the whorls and eddies of every stream,
Beneath the metaphorical maze of every dream;
Beneath the roar and cries of the ceaseless daily fight,
Beneath the crickets’ chattering in an oriental night,
Beneath the groans of this rotating rock,
Beneath the tick of life’s untiring clock;
Beneath the hopeless whimper of the poor,
Beneath the last breath of one at death’s door,
Beneath the cry of every infant just newly born,
Beneath the rustle of silk gowns elegantly worn;
Beneath the cry of the starving to be fed,
Beneath the prayer of the pure to be led.
Beneath this, and all the rest, Salaam is quietly hid,
To find its solace, listen, as before you never did.
I intended to walk and to work,
Instead in this poetry I lurk;
Well my excuse can only be,
You got me drunk again I see.
I keep trying to crawl toward the door,
Across the tavern’s endless floor;
But, every time, I take another drop,
I am wondering does this ever stop?
Well love is surely a very fine thing,
But it seems I have lost the ring,
I think I have been here before,
But in this state I can’t be sure.
If one day you find me in the gutter,
And ‘love’ is the only word I utter,
Do not think me quite insane,
Sometime, soon, I’ll be sober again.
Bismillah (in the name of God)
Cascading, from on high, come words that really matter,
A banquet of words that are a joy for lips to utter.
A God-given pleasure, yes! And here's the thing,
Words that sing themselves, whilst they are dancing,
On the page; age-less words, opening the way,
For rivers of bliss; assuaging fears that say,
“Surely it can't happen this way?” Turning every tear,
Into liquid light; strewing jewels both far and near.
Rhythm too, restlessly, drumming up business, as it were!
Scented beauties descending a rose petal covered stair,
Pouring essence into many a waiting jug or cup,
Till with honeyed joy they overflow, not just fill up.
Yes, here is a wedding party that is surely worth attending,
When with Khadim's words, of the Beloved we are singing.