Sunday, 7 November 2010

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.


  1. John,really like what you are doing with both poems. Ishq Allah had me on the edge of my chair. The last stanza was spectacular. We long for wholeness, yes, and we long for connection, union, yes. "Find the fire." Beautiful.
    I hope the 99 poems will be available in book form.