Sunday, 7 November 2010

1. Ar-Rahman – the Sun of Love

Suggests compassion, mercy, positivity, action --- ‘think not you can direct the course of love…for if love finds you worthy, it will direct your course ‘ Kahlil Gibran 

In a local, one man shouted to me,
‘There but for the grace of god, go I!’
and pointed at Andrew. Consider the phrase – ‘grace
of god’ – invoking art and truth, commitment:
how beauty and love express through
skill and difference, novelty. Statesmanlike, it seemed
important not to invade an African country
or blame the boss, or thump that man, or scream,
because good beer and band were flowing; bodies
hopping. Boy I was mad!! Grace holds hands, nods,
includes men, women, singing, stars,
and barmaids danced like angels pulling pints.
Andrew smiled and led the effervescent hugs and bops;
thanks to the grace of god.

In the East,
one green blade of grass
far beyond the horizon
catches morning light. 
Two faces of Love
I tossed a coin.
It landed face-up saying ‘Do it!’,
continued spinning like the sun.
I guess it would have turned
around forever if I hadn’t
grabbed it, stopped it,
tossed again and clocked it in the sky.

It landed on ‘humility’,
flowed across the wooden
man-made table top
as if a glob of honey,
sweet. I gathered up the syrup and
I tossed a coin again.


2. Ar-Rahim – the Moon of Love

Suggests compassion, receptivity, creativity, abundance --- ‘The harvest moon painted the sky orange while my veins raised and turned a violent blue reminding me I’m alive’ Rilke

Although special, singing
has never been my forte:
I find it hard to feel for sound

and coalesce my heart and mind
with earth and fire without a crowd of
apparitions getting in the way.

But, yesterday, six of us drove out
to a raging riverbank in the frost
and sparked a little fire to dance and sing around

under blue sky. A dusky moon
lit up a warning light. Open mouthed,
carousing to a churning

water slap, we floated cares downstream
and harmonized a rich, brown god
who turns and never stops, as far as

I can tell. At the end, our fire roared with wind
into a start of silence.

Back in
the kitchen, all talk stopped, all
bodies quiet: the moon, floating, somehow
in its blackness, chose to call; to shine.

The sky of sixty nine;
look up at a screen,
absorb black and white sparkle:
Armstrong strides the moon.

I’m on this diet you see,
it means I can look at you
for only 5 seconds a go,
(even though you’re lovely).

I blocked up one ear
and my right nostril.
I keep my tongue stock-still
in case it licks an ice cream

but, look, the moon is full tonight,
a brand new showerh
ead of light
and, in the moonbeam zone,

soak up all I can.
My starving lips turn up to a shining face,
flummoxed by a bright, unbidden kiss.

3. Al-Malik – The king who can

Suggests master, king, counsel, vision --- ‘Men at some time are masters of their fates’ – Shakespeare

Down’s before birth

If you could change this life
for a real one,
- say - with a fulsome story
and a master’s hand
to maraud in a spanking world
maybe to spots more often lost
- would you go?

And feel?

Imagine you’re ready;
standing moments before birth
in pounding rain,
shivering with all anticipation
and calmly
turning down your little mind
to nothing – wanderer -
with such a lot to give:
perhaps it’s not so dark and cold
as you fight your way into a sweeter handicap:
as fool, magician, simple wizard, king.

Here’s a hand from the right side
holding a tangle of cotton.

Finger and thumb from the left side
(turning before the wind catches)
take up the end of a blue one
and master it under the sun.

King Andrew sits upon his camping chair,
gazes round a breakfast circle; cooking
on a campsite, frying sausages;
eggs are cracked and smells of coffee

snake along a breeze to rise and enter
into now. Everything is set for feasting,
look, a sunny time’s on hand;
his vision’s clear and King surveys the land!

But wait – what is this quality called King-ship?
Why do people rush to cook him breakfast?
Why do people serve a man, this elf?

Because a warm and gracious King
adores his people more than judges;
loves them for themselves.

4. Al-Quddus - Sacred Space

Suggests peace, union, cleansing --- Neruda 'Other days will come, the silence of plants and planets will be understood and so many pure things will happen'

Writer’s Block in a carriage

Like a stroppy teenager, one blank page defies
my intent to write words:
an empty mind and empty paper.
Silence, blank, nada – until I listen out
and hear this train trundle, rumble South.
I let a pen leak a few words
and some thing’s written down.

I learned the duties of a clown from Andrew:
at home in a world of nonsense,
turning up voltage again and again;
not perfectly perfect but urging
inclusion; connecting the hearts of some people
through smiles – with spaces between all their talking and words,
where, truly, a mystery lies.

In a hubbub, 
noise inside this room is loud.
No voice is ever quite as bold as Andrew,
my autistic son
- his voice is missing here.

He can sing – louder than a horn –
as long as loved ones standing near
listen to his rising tone,
resonate a chest, a core

and now I walk out through a door
to stand in rain, suck in the breeze
and clock a waving tree;
beat my beating heart.

Same routine,
up at 5;
forgives himself
for last night’s

After all,
it’s only words!
Breakfast mind
plots away

and then comes back
to coffee and a roll.
Through a glass, he sweeps

a gaze at folly – every one
- and feels

a sudden thud of peace.

5. As-Salam – Peace at the Begining

Suggests peace, health, wholeness, safety --- 'I feel within me a peace above all earthly dignities, a still and quiet conscience' Shakespeare 

To Innesfree
When Yeats suggested go
to one Lake Isle
to find peace in wind and snow or rain or hail
- and plant nine bean-rows;

he hinted that to hear,
listen and become –
is the real game we play, or else be dumb
to a swelling of hearts and the sea.

Busy, my two hands
tremble, flicker, turn and wave,
drop and lift, cupped.

The One in front
A man who works with his hands
lowers eyes.
Filthy palms and fingers!

He picks a bar of dirty soap,
vigorously rubbing hands and soap
into a stream of impure water,
freshens up his hands;
shakes them, dries them on
a grubby towel:
takes the biggest breath
he ever took to clean his heart

and now he offers hands and heart
as pure as he can make them.
Will you take them?

6. Al-Mu’min - Support

Suggest faithful, earth, growth, embodied action -- "Great things are done when men and mountains meet" William Blake

City and mountain

It's cold as moss
when I exit the station
- graffiti hits on every wall
(graffiti reaching carriage windows)
and desolate, slate-grey, the journey
out from the city, smoke hard as nails
until the ground rises and fields

heave in view and the river we follow
twinkles and sparkles, turns with our train,
and the mist in the valley
climbs to the hills with a first glimpse of snow
and the far distant mountains flume out a welcome,
tinkle my heartstrings in hopefulness,
amber and russet and black and then go.

When I cross the Firth,
sometimes, a tide has come in;
sometimes it has not.

If you came this way along
a climbing path you might sit
a while 
with all kinds of human notions until your mind eventually
slowed, senses awoke,
and you took in that mammoth mountain
in front – bathed into sunlight 

and darting with swifts. 

The wonder of it all
could make you kneel and pray,
overwhelmed and tearful,
until nothing arises
and fear itself flies
with a tremulous influx
of Love.

7. Al-Muhaimin - Protection

Suggests Witness, Protector, Determining True or False --- 'Don’t be consistent, but be simply true' Oliver Wendell Holmes  

To be, or not
It’s not a dilemma
when I ask of Andrew,
‘Are you loving your dinner?’
Simple and true
‘I am,’ he says
‘I do!’

At dinner, after the world burst into flame,
pans bubble,
onions hiss,
all herbs and spices
have entered our mix
and the fire of a stew
will ladle and soon
be about us, surround us,
beyond us, within us;

warm as a life
that survives its explosion,
we’ll share what is here,
(never thirst for what’s not)

and shout out ‘Thank God’
that the garbage has gone.

Imagine looking out
from way inside yourself
as a baby, or a boy with
without any crazy
constructs, rules.

This place would seem
unsafe – a dream!

And your strategy?
How would you get through
a moment, next few minutes, hours,
when you couldn’t hide,
or run, or surf the web a while?
I’ll tell you what – you’d smile!

8. Al-’Aziz – Strength of Form

Suggests form, power, strength, connection --- 'soon these two worlds both leave you, one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth' Rilke 
An inch of your life
One foot – a blur of sense
Two feet – reach and smile
Three feet – donkey’s hind legs
Four feet – to run for shandy in the den
Five feet – parents fall from grace
Six feet – a time of fantasy and hair
Six feet – offspring in the womb
Five feet – a piping whistle at the throat …



  in a red spotted bowl
 almost stable as an anvil
a small orchid with a
green stem so fine
can choose to
ever reach
into a

Putting into Order
always had a
love for the figure
eight, because of the
balancing skill we
display to get

settling into
place, firstly Earth
below(a belay point)
and above a circle
connected into

9. Al-Jabbar - Repair

Suggests healing, compulsion, creation, restoration --- 'No Teacher, Preacher, Wise Man can decide what's right for you-Listen to the Voice that Speaks inside' S Silverstein 

Look, sometimes it sings
and sometimes moans.
It writes of itself through
effort and splurge
from healing dreams

and, in all the words, one
authentic line might catch
a heart in ways not
logical or thought through.
When it works, it's work.

tired, he blinks a lot.
The face in the glass blinks back,
heals each blinking eye.

A leaf like a slowly closing hand
drops off

a great mother of a
tree - letting go

it lets go)

in a shut-down
from winter’s paler light.

How wonderful like a butterfly
to flutter, tumble, still;

only caught by wind - not knowing
that the lattice bark has started on a spree

with sun and rain and waving snow,
of soundness and repair.

10. Al-Mutakabbir - Concentration

Suggests majesty, supremeness, expression, dignity, honour, dissolving boundaries, humility, understanding --- ‘If you love enough you will come into the presence of Love itself’ Rumi 

Sweet Rush 
Is there cake on the menu, mate, cake?!
I’m sure I saw slices suggesting
a cook has been busy with baking
and sweetness is what I crave most.

Look in my eyeballs, mate, balls
to your oranges, apples, bananas;
forget 5-a-day, throw a bolas
at brothers parading with cake and

drag all their cake to the cake stand,
sprinkling sugar deep snow.
I’ve gobbled up meat and potatoes
and now I want glory and joy.

Traveling Man
Train’s tracking north,
when he spots barren trees,
feels an ancient pang
- the missing of a special child.

Even disconnected – like the coldest
winter twigs - he hangs on – and hopes
another summer comes and melts the ice
on hard converging tracks.

Alone, in time and space,
one glance of hares in spring,
of children laughing,
melts his eyes

and turns those rails
left and right – out, away -
into a sunnier heart
- eternity.

…and I travel backwards on a train
knowing I’ll return tonight, back to the starting
station - not in light - in the dark…

…but now, many clouds are hanging
united and disunited,
there – a seal; there – a lying man;
there – a dinosaur and there – a map of Sicily;
and there, and there and there… and there…

…but wait - now look - a shape unrealized
and, no matter how I try,
my mind refuses to conceive
one form that hangs and moves

imperious on high;
a glory…

11. Al-Khaliq – Carving and Forming

Suggests creator, maker, carver, infinite and material possibilities -- 'One
starts an action simply because one must do something' T S Eliot

What shall we talk about – what’s up
(we’ve got a little bit of time)
and who will speak and who will follow whom
(what’s new upon this kitchen table top)

and shall we circle round and round
(with eyes and ears and touch and tongue)
giving little pats-on-the-head
(and will we choose to work, eat, dance or sing or sleep)?

Who shall we please and who not please
(tomorrow and tomorrow’s ace
encounters, meetings, semaphore)

or hate or care or love, respect,
or look across the surfaces
and feel for sudden truth - create?

Magic in my hand,
a fresh coloured pen.
New words can sound when I stop,
tip it up, and start to write.

Meeting T.S. Eliot in Russell Square

I might have plucked up all my courage
and asked him to write a little poem
about love. He’d have grimaced and held
his right hand in his left.

‘Future, now, or past?’ he laughs,
‘Stretching before and after?’
‘Here now’ I say ‘quick, now, always!’
He doesn’t smile, looks away

and I guess he picks up a fountain
pen and holds it in between finger and thumb,
nails blackened by a life of significant toil

and there will be a time when the nib
tips like a crane and the still point
dances and flows like a river, or a god.

12.Al-Bari’ - Creativity

Suggests maker. evolver, wave creation -- 'Thus the world grows rich, grows wild, and you too, grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too were born to be' Mary Oliver


Where from? My self
is feeling for the sea
and all I write in early morning's
pure and sweetly dreamed.

Nice words from an amiable man
scratched with pointed nib on paper
or angry words from an angry man
biting, scribbling, biting heads away?

Could I say more? No, no more.
At evening time the sea will fix the sand.

He stands with his back to you
still as a lamppost,
shoulders tense, head bowed,
feet apart
like Elvis.
You hear him mutter,
clear his throat, murmuring
words of encouragement,
small growls;
an Apollo in very late countdown.
He jumps around
with a yell ‘Surprise!!’
and starts to sing, you think, too loud
before you realise
‘Love, love changes everything….’


There seem points
when even balance is balanced;
like a see-saw or horizontal weigh-scale

or when my car’s milo went through
222222 miles
(all those ducks in a row)

and one day, each year,
every place on the planet
gets almost exactly 12 hours of daylight.

Almost, that is, almost
in balance – more or less mileage,
almost an equinox - but thankfully never,

not quite; a smidgen, a pulse
out of whack and somehow, god willing,
it seems better like that!?

13.Al-Musawwir – Design and Form

Suggests fashioner, completion, perfection, shaper, gradual change --- 'Your children
are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself' Kahlil Gibran  


We look away at the same sky;
a sky that’s always changing.
I fail to make this world benign,
although we see the same sky

and here we are, alone now,
side-by-side with waving trees
and, in a our time, unerring breeze

is dancing down a blinking street,
like dancing thoughts of we, ideal,
the best of me, the best of you.

A poet,
lost in words, sits on a train’s
deluded rails that may converge
like wrinkles on his hands and face
- before and back - through time and space.

Avoiding headlines
but chasing a hunt
for every letter
- like sperm - in word - and sound.

Riding rails,
narrow minded,
cliché trip
up a track:

wondering and gazing,
secretly alive

When a magical child is born,
tiny fingers reach and curl,
little feet are gazed upon,
each nail an obvious miracle

and once I saw a family trot
beside a pram with Grandma pushing,
Father holding up a parasol
to protect a sleeping tot from heat

and Mother used a large and painted
Japanese fan to keep the baby cool:
a focused scene of mad control
trundling down a cloudy seaside

street: immutable and soundly safe
as if a human cage protects a soul, a life.

14. Al-Ghaffar – Small forgiveness

Suggests absolver, release, burning away ---
"He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over
which he himself must pass" George Herbert 


Beethoven bawdily twists, as only he can,
beneath a sparkling chandelier in a
central Bruges concert hall – sweet and clear

when a man and his girl start giggling,
taking photos, yelling like fishwives
intertwined with four-stringed instruments

and I feel strong emotion – ‘Shall I, shan’t I?’ urges – you know;
dare I, well, mention it, ask them to shush? When I do lean over,
say ‘scuse me , would you mind being quiet?’ and the man simply

nods, I turn accusing, burning eyes, ‘Are you sure?’ and he
looks away, a little scared. I sit back, indignant now,
fired by inner anger. ‘What if he thumps me

as we leave?’ I say to myself, completely ruining
Ludwig’s capacity. I know this idea – do you have the anger
or does the anger have you? And the string part seethes higher, more

vibrato than ever. Sitting back, eyes closed, I enter the sound
with hundreds around, transported by melody,
letting it go; letting myself; letting my dissonance go.

Shakespeare knew
a word blows into time
with every glittering chance
to heal our headspace, heart, and fly

lifting humans by the hand,
dancing under Vincent sky;
one chord - and then - the next.

Life is for giving
The conch of a cow syncopates my footfall,
a reaching tree overshadows a smaller one,
a farm lights up and winks with power on
and crazy fluffy sheep cluster up against a wall.

My bag bursts open like a circus clown
and I worry like a mother on tomorrow;
my words come clumsy, stuttering and slow;
I scatter all my change, try to smile, but frown.

I drink too much beer and stumble down a stair,
drive too daring and get myself a ticket,
fall off my bike, on my back, in a thicket,
stare at the sky and cannot name one star.

So what? So what? Shall I curl into a ball?
No, God forbid, yes, forgive them all.

15. Al-Qahar – Natural Power

Suggests irresistible, dominant, beginning, fire, end -- "I go in search of magicians
and of princesses" Frederico Garcia Lorca


Through a perspex sheeting I can see
a massive ocean pushing out her strokes;
knowing, for a time, I won’t be caught
and pulled into her cold eternity.
With all the power sea invokes,
whitened by salt, let’s not fight!

Flight! This is no place for single human power
and not because I’m older, slow in years,
unerringly losing dignity.
No! Because, unending, hour by hour,
those waves push into solid stone with tears;
unlevelled water has no fear or pity.

Poet, move on! Feeling I will stand inevitably
one day and turn back towards the flow;
against those tumblers’ sure retreat, advance,
and so re-enter sweet eternity,
traveling fast but also, even, slow
swimming through the tide with soft intent.

Ishq Allah
On Sunday morning all drops quiet:
sun turns up and rain ‘pit-pats’ to a stop.
Among such calm - silence lands
hard enough to feel another day.
Outside, gardens light, flags drop.

Autumn time is harvest time;
fruit and flowers, muddy roots
but I can move – my hand wags -
every finger independent,
coupled - separated - whole.

Now a thirst of longing - to be ‘Me’
and a deeper aching - to connect
(like rosy-cheeks of any early true-love)
sweet and hurting, stirring up to climb
into my body, out, and find the fire.

At the base we met an old Irishman

‘No way you’ll get up that rocky terrain’
he said, waving a stick at the mountain
‘without a stave to take your weight,
to lean on hard’ and so we bought

his branches of silver birch, shoulder height.
‘They can be used as counterweight,
water diviner, fuel or weapon;
for waving or whacking or wobbling on.

‘You know all wizards have a staff
to channel power in from a shaft
of lightning. The force of Zeus is keen
to whack you with a thunderbolt
and wake you up, push you on.’
Oh yes, we bought a staff – and off we go.

16. Al-Wahhab - Flowing Blessings

Suggests bestower, bounty, blessings, carried away --- "If I were called to construct a religion, I should make use of water" Philip Larkin

Richard of York

Seemingly fleeting,
seemingly fragile.

bright light

and spraying water
arcing reminders

of a mystical pot
and far-flung gold.

On a train
it’s only when
another tunnel comes
that darkness falls
and her old face
reflects back in
the window pane
- smiles again.

When foreheads meet,
that moment’s when
she integrates
her eyes and ears,
mouth and nose;
blesses back
her misty angel soul.

When the shower’s dry
how lucky are you
to switch on a first pulse
of water, feel cold energy hit your
hand, your arm, withdrawing back to shivery
wintry air and fiddle with
dials and switches until
the spray warms up

enough to step into
a new stream of heat
and tingling jets hitting your
thighs, your chest, your face. To wash without
soap; no bubbles or lather or
flannel or effort or work;
how lucky are you?

17. Al-Razzaq – Sustenance

Suggests Provider, Bestower, Nourishment, Blessing, Gifts --- 'If more of us valued
food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it wouldbe a merrier world' J.R.R. Tolkien

I shouted ‘milk!’
at the milk
but it didn’t

I knew it well;
even what it
would become.
Still, it floated
white and flat
in a clear glass

chimney pot
on my black
and mottled
table top until
gulp-gulped, as nectar,
by a passing child of mine.

New Year
Rainfall in the winter
hits a rooftop, grey,
- a momentary treasure
clattering crazy slate
but, hey,
it’s running to the centre

of wells inside the garden
glassy, level, cold
until a human grasps at
meniscus, aims to hold
the gold
and swig it for their pleasure

but when the pleasure’s ended
and hands have wiped a mouth,
how far that person gazes
to east, west, north and south,
for truth
and seeking purer water.

Fast Food
At a time he sensed was right
up he stood like a reluctant schoolboy
twisting keys in his right hand pocket,
excruciating as an amateur only

can be, and he started to sing, quietly
and human, a song we’d all heard before
- at least for the chorus – and he sang the verses,
growing more confident with our support

and do you suppose nothing else happened
that night as he opened his heart like a rainbow?
A melting of oldness and newness ensued
and the tune that was sung by a small Irish crowd
swelled like a wave from our depth, in a song,
and we filled, overflowed, by the beauty I cried.

18. Al-Fattah – Unity’s Breath

Suggests truth, breath, openness, key -- 'O Love, O pure deep Love, be here, be now. Make me Your servant, Your breath, Your core' Rumi
The key

Trees are hunkered in the lane,
still, like stalking owls today;
winter dropped their old display,
now they hunch and crouch again.

Stony statues not asleep,
working harder than the spring,
working up a flagrant song;
fiery cores transforming, deep.

I found a door
locked tight;
another door
tightly locked.

Behind a corner
- there – a door,
a corridor
and then – a door.

Mummy – give me keys!
Daddy – help me!
I’m terrified at staying put
(locked inside a boring zoo)

so when the keeper lifts the latch
there’s light – I’m bounding through.

Warm welcome
Some mornings I reckon
it’s gonna be frosty;
nose-tingling hoary,
unsafe to walk on

but today, before a new dawn,
I came out my front door
and the sigh of a zephyr
came up from the earth.

Unusual near winter
that the ground sends a balm,
a hot breath, an out breath,
a generous kiss,
rekindling my centre
to let out his warmth.

19. Al-Alim – Names and Forms

Suggests inclusion, source of knowledge, all possible
worlds --- 'You may think at first I'm mad as a hatter. When
I tell you a cat must have three different names' T.S. Eliot 


‘An omen for me?’ asked the seeker
‘Go read Harry Potter’ said God
‘Show me the way’ said the traveller
‘A rosebud’s your guidebook’ said God
‘Give me a sign’ said the seer
‘Watch for tsunamis’ aid God
‘Build me a house’ asked the mother
‘Go knock holes in walls?’ said her God
‘but I need a model’ said father
‘Mary’ said God
‘Hold me in faith?’ asked the preacher
‘Big decision’ said God
‘Guide my two feet’ said the student
‘Get lost’ said God
‘How do I balance?’ asked judge
‘Tsunamis’ said God
‘Light up the path!’ said the prophet
‘Step forward’ said God.

New Year
Rainfall in the winter
hits a rooftop, grey,
- a momentary treasure
clattering crazy slate
but, hey,
it’s running to the centre

of wells inside the garden
glassy, level, cold
until a human grasps at
meniscus, aims to cup
it up,
swigging for their pleasure

but when the pleasure’s ended
and hands have wiped a mouth,
how far that person gazes
to east, west, north and south,
for truth
and seeking purer water.

when they wet my head,
I never quite got over it;
water in my eyes, stinging,
and all that cooing, praying, singing

but (worse) the name they hung on me!
I’ve carried that old monica
from here to Timbuktu.

They didn’t even call me ‘Peggy Sue’,
‘Cecilia’ or ‘Suzanne’
like in all my favourite pop songs.

I wonder whether
(if they’d stuck me with a different handle)
my life would’ve had more scandal,
been suitably re-formed ---- or better?

20. Al-Qabid – Contracting Boundaries

Suggests … enclosure, restraint, contraction, incubation
“It’s dangerous business walking out your front door” J.R.R. Tolkien

This year
put all
of our scarce
and clear attention onto
a shiny
and bright

Traveling Man
Train’s tracking north

when he spots barren trees,
feels an ancient pang
- the missing of a special child.

Even disconnected – like the coldest
winter twigs - he hangs on – and hopes
another summer comes and melts the ice
on hard converging tracks.

Alone, in time and space,
one glance of hares in spring,
the sound of a child laughing,
could dissolve his eyes

and turn rails - left and right -
– out, away – and back - into a beating heart.

Sleep Tight

Today I walked past loads of doors
and, do you know, I had an urge
to reach and turn every handle;
see what lurks on the other side.

Something within us loves
hidden rooms, locked;
a key, a push, a creak,
a prisoner running free,

but tonight
when earth turns;

doors will bolt,
locked like clams,
holding tight
onto watery dreams.

21. Al-Basit – Expanding Boundaries

Suggests open, spread, radiate, expansion --- 'When I admire
the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul
expands in worship of the Creator' Longfellow


I walk into a café’s mouth
and wander lonely as a soul
amongst the faces; people laugh
and grin and point at purple sea and
mountains on the wall.

In here, ice cream; knickerbocker
glory; outside, snails are sliming in the wet
and, as I gaze, a waiter (‘Peter’ on his name badge) says
‘It’s not self-service,’ wafts a menu in his hand
‘what’ll you get?’ 

Far out – nothing -
fancies everything
so (under the covers)
they make love to each other
- spirit and form –
and then something is born.


We had a chat
about a rat;
yours a giant,
mine - a tyrant.

We made a jigsaw
like a sunset;
an orange (I saw)
you saw red

but only when my fruit
and your new fangled colour
merge do we, in truth,
create an apple’s figure

- the rat, of course,
was a very helpful chap.

22. Al Kafhid - Diminishment

Suggests hidden, just enough, seed, growing --- ‘Tyranny would
end and every hair on your head become an oracle.’ Rumi 

Stories from a train

Begin with context
(from an inner blank), all you’ve got
these last few days.

Open your mouth and start
to talk. Waggle your tongue and grate
a larynx, poke an index finger

away from the dyke and let out a flood;
a torrent of words that finally, finally,
finally, will have their say.

Winter: central heating;
Spring: try garden wall;
Summer: where you’ve been;
Autumn: snow and branches start to fall.

More fleeting than characters in any book,
twaddle-words fly fast and empty
up to a hole-in-the-sky without the need
for smoke and mirrors, or an aching heart.

Double Word

Writing a poem’s
like playing Scrabble; letters
have shape and value.


hair on the
front of my eye-
brows I put there
for no reason I see
that it’s utterly futile
but still I sprout a small mane
maybe only because
I can when I choose
grow and inflate
to co-create

a moon

23. Ar-Rafi - Exultation

Suggests refreshment. redemption, healing, recovery --- 'An endless fountain
of immortal drink, Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink' John Keats


King’s Cross station and the trains are on time
(as far as I can tell that is a truth)
and tangerine sun has risen again
lighting up our sky's inherent joy.

I even get a seat upon the tube
(hooray the underground is running healthy)
and Einstein’s greatest question’s on my mind.
Today I will consider this world friendly.

When the world’s abundant,
I pick the flower, yes.

When the world’s connected,
I reach for a handshake, yes.

When the world is loving,
I hug the answer yes.

When the world’s deciding,
I bet the answer yes.

When the world is dawning,
look up, the answer’s yes.

When the world is learning,
sorry, the answer’s yes.

When the world is teasing,
oh yes, the answer’s yes.

What if God’s a Gas
Nod a bottle at a brittle glass
and fizzy lemonade arises,
toxicates a nostril,
titillates and fills:

more than ‘satisfactory’,
popping at their birth-point,
bubbles sharp and piquant
instigate a sneeze:

higher than high,
brighter than light,
way beyond planets,
rippling laps
up to emotion,
quivering lips.

24. Al-Muizz – Self Esteem

Suggests exaltation, honor, certainty, strength --- 'Live in
terms of your strong points. Magnify them' TS Elliot 

Hey feet!
Two pins!!
What tricks?
the fact

your strong
me on
so long.


I looked into my brother’s eye
and saw a tree there waving.
I passed beyond a garden gate
and heard a mountain calling.
I walked a long a stony path
and tasted waves a–spraying.
I looked into my brother’s eye
and felt a fire – burning.

Deep beyond the black, black sky,
I looked into my brother’s eyes
and saw myself there waving.


I jump on a train
but every seat’s full;
I buzz up and down
like an ant in an anthill

looking for my place;
trying, trusting god,
but every gaze avoids
my eyes, my eager face

and, deep inside, I pray,
pacing like a dad.
that I will find a friend
that, if I trust today,
a gap will open, smile;
my heart is thudding still.

25. Al-Mudhill – the Degrader

Suggests reduced, led astray, division, diversity ---
“So vast is art, so narrow human wit” Pope 

Self Pity on a train

On a grey winter’s day, this cold’s no joke!
I’m on my way into the Smoke
where clouds won’t break, the sun won’t show her face.
No one speaks, there’s no embrace.

So, what is this grieving for a body’s loss?
In the end, I’ll get my sweet release from pitch and toss

but now it’s time to sow some seeds –little deeds.

2D or not 2D
I dream of old an old man in a boater
sailing East to West across a page

and, when I turn the paper, well, he floats there,
a silhouette, a china man, serene.

I dream a rocket takes off into space-time,
climbs across the page from South to North;

black, these silhouettes, like paper puppets
long to turn their souls into 3D.

Dot and Dash


26. As-Sami – Awakened Hearing

Suggests vibration, body awareness, sound, wave --- 'There's
music in all things, if men had ears' Lord Byron
One morning, lost, he
sits exhausted in an airport
hoping for a pretty sky;
hearing words from nations’ update,
jumble into purple sky.

Every word intends connection
- hopeful – casting line and fly.
Once outspoken, lost in motion,
kisses in a pretty sky.


I’ve heard all the clichés before
like ‘you’ve one mouth and two ears’
‘children should be seen and not heard’
‘what’s the furthest sound you can hear?’

the loudest, the quietest,
the longest. the shortest,
the highest, the lowest,
the hardest, the soft one

because, like rainfall hammering the ground,
a tiny drum-skin sitting by my brain
vibrates (as long as blood can pump around)
suggesting I’ve a fish upon a line.
It never stops - a shell held in my ear
- tense - and aching for a feeling near.

27. Al-Basir – Awakened Sight

Suggests understanding, insight, perception, awareness ---
'From the beginning of my life I have been looking for
your face, but today I have seen it' Rumi

Twin Towers

Many lives depend
red faced
running with rain
far above the grey

She blew, blew, blew – blew – blew

Paddington loco heads off west;
grey the concrete, grey the steel.

Square as lego – tenements rising –
blue veranda, blue verandas.

Blue the lorries, blue this Westerner,
blue the railings, blue containers,

grey the landscape, old potatoes,
humble winter, blue, blue, blue.

Face value

Looking at the face
of a clock, it seems pretty
simple – all about hands
washing a face - time and time again

but I know, behind the numbers,
a faithful engineer has expressed
in manifold tiny detail
torque and cogs, design and energy

(worked loads out) and, even when features
seem fine on the outside, lots
of whirring’s going on behind scenes
- winding up, turning and ticking along -
crafted by skilful hands;
whenever I look into a face.

28. Al-Hakam – Sacred Sixth Sense

Suggests alchemy, sacred sense, precise wisdom, clear headed, subtle,  insightful
 “Intuition is the supra-logic that cuts out all the routine processes of thought" Robert Graves

Pearly Gates
'God' said a man
'I am honest, been faithful,
cared for my children;
manly and strong.'

'Man' said God quietly
'honesty's bollocks,
caring's inconstant:
I need your truth.'

White Goddess

Three times she came to visit me,
three times she looked into my eyes;
maiden, mother, ancient lady
singing pretty lullabies

and, on the fourth, in starlight dance,
she howls one wolf into the skies;
leaps astride another branch
and flies.

One banana, two banana

I hope
when I go
‘banana’ you
know there’s no
fruit there, don’t you,
only a few dots on a page
in black and white. So whose
banana is it then, the one we are
seeing and tasting? And why a banana,
considering all the other fruit we both know
about and all the other words we’re sharing here?
Some even have b’s and a’s and n’s but, despite that,
who decides whether your banana’s voluptuous and perfectly
yellow and curved slightly, zipped up, and/or marginally over-ripe?

29. Al’-Adl – Putting things in order

Suggests balance, mediation, harmony, reintegration - 'Only when you 
are empty are you at standstill and balanced' Kahlil Gibran 

Down’s balance
When muscles are loose
and joints a bit shaky,

standing feels safe,
tipping forward’s dodgy

but, for strangers, you'll walk
or run from your silence;

smile like a torch
and hug – they need balance.

The moon’s a cube tonight
- so square I drop back in my
house – terrified by corner, angle!

I have another look outside,
pulling back my floral nets -
thank God the corners have evolved
- the moon become a parallelogram,
a few new stars chipped off!

And, as the moon descends,
it turns and squashes
back into that perfect O
I used to know
and sinks, a lonely tear,
down into a slowly rising sea.

Not Seven

always had a
love for the figure
eight, because of the
balancing skill we
require to get

settling into
place, firstly earth
below(a belay point)
and above a circle
connected into

30. Al-Latif – Subtle Mystery

Suggests grace, awareness, softness, subtle love, charm, beauty
--- "Silence is more musical than any song" Christina Rossetti

Wordsworth’s Beer
Today, Lake Grasmere
lay milky brown; until white
mist rolled from the west.

‘That’s a first’
says Fred, the train guard,
when Andrew hands him tickets
and smiles ‘I love you!  

That day, when you sat down,
I had a plan of what
to say; O yes I knew
how the conversation would go

but you parked-up with hands on knees
refusing to express
hardly anything at all - except quietness –

that’s when I got flummoxed,
because of the wobble of
what you weren’t saying; not in my screenplay,
not on my radar, not of this planet.

A mystery - budding in springtime,
stillness of wells, terror of silence,
lovely; spot on.

31. Al-Kabir - Seed Potential

Suggests awareness, knowing, small, growth --- 'With every breath,
I plant the seeds of devotion. I am a farmer of the heart' ~ Rumi

The key
Trees are hunkered in the lane,
still, like stalking owls today;
winter dropped their old display,
now they hunch and crouch again.

But stony statues aren’t asleep,
working harder than the spring,
working up their flagrant song;
fiery cores transforming, deep.

An Eden Conception
A raindrop, unaccountably round,
plunges into Mallerstang;
Eden valley, Victorian dark,
the last great wilderness in England.

People come here briefly;
a monarch, a highwayman,
a thief, an earl, a tramp to see

rivers rise – the Ouse and Eden -
and if this raindrop falls an atom’s width
to the East, it runs to York;
a molecule West, Carlisle.
On and on, the future forks
and this drop will not travel both.

Race into a great valley;
ginger gorse: an undomesticated,
wild, wet second world, happy

when earth and wind decide
what’s right and left, that it’s worth
a surging newborn driving to
a source, a smash, a violent birth.


He likes to rabbit on, old Tony, giving all
and sundry gobfuls, earfuls, chatter
box, old Tony can’t half natter, talks
for England, verbal diarrhea.

Does it matter that he throws his words
out willy-nilly? Aren’t they just like seeds
or skimming stones or pips or dandelion clocks,
hoping one might stick like chucking pasta at a roof?

And Sigmund Freud, he knew
that smaller words will hold you;
id or ego,
if but try or is how no
just now so
me and

32. Al-Halim – Dissolving Chains

Suggests forbearance, spiritual states, dreams, harmony, vision ---
'the sunlight in the garden hardens and grows cold, we
cannot cage the minute within its nets of gold' MacNeice

Last night in my sleep
we damped down a fire;
to soften the heat
- so delight wouldn’t fly

but the feeling of dreams
is to zoom to the stars
rage across fields
not knowing how far.


Dear Andrew, Thank you
- all of you – the other evening,
for a pub of drinking men,
drunks and fat boys, teenagers:

all a father needs when out for a pint
with his wife and special son,
walking up cobbles and drinking down
lemonade, fosters, ice and a slice,

but it was dancing at the juke box
- retro rock – loud as a propeller
that got the locals up on the dance floor
- oh yes, and the Down’s boy

smiling like a sunrise
turning. With love. Sincerely yours,

In a restaurant,

it’s business we’re talking;
competitive advantage
cost cutting, numbers,
developing niche

and we get straight into it;
where to put people,
strength in our strategy,
huge hairy targets.

‘How’s Andrew?’ he asks me
(they’d met at a social)
and a lump in my throat rises up from down deep
and it’s only when eyes wet and lips start a-quivering
that we soften our truthfulness;
start to do business.