Before Tomorrow Comes

You well know, that you

won’t be the same again

Tomorrow, not even your sorrows-

before we lose to sleep

and absurdity heals the scars deep

and in case we are replaced,

at least you’ll have me to

pull you to the surface.

So pour me a cup of your thoughts

and let me untie those knots

before Tomorrow comes to

make you forget

all that I’ve tried

to say in this sonnet.

 

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من تراب إلى تراب

Re-posted by demand. This was initially from my yemeni blog which no longer exists.. If you haven’t read this, I hope you enjoy it! :)

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من تراب إلى تراب

As I walked down the dusty streets

from دائري to ستين,

one of the busiest roads in Sanaa

with the hem of my black robe

gently brushing the earth

catching the dust particles

which have probably been there since last season,

just moving from one district to another,

from small roads to bigger ones,

greeting every student, every teacher and mother,

from the little child to the father who have both tried to stay dust-free

from morn till dusk

no one really escapes from being greeted by the turab-

not even the professor and his squeaky clean shoes

and the stylish young chap whose jacket spells ARMANO instead of ARMANI…

 I thought to myself- why do we repel change?

Turab is soil or dust in Arabic

and the turab stays on through the Winter and Spring

And Summer and Fall

it remains through whatever weather and temperature

changing in its forms; it is جاف (dry) andمبلل ,أحيانا (moist)

and always on the move, always traveling,

latching itself onto the soles of the traveller’s shoes and the souls of their owners

from Sanaa’ to Kuala Lumpur

a particle of Sana’ani dust has reached KL-ite soil

such a minuscule thing can testify

that it’s travelled miles across the sky

how marvelous is this phenomenon to behold

and how more marvelous is its Creator?

الأثر of a place remains with the traveller

the effects of a place remains with the traveller

it stays with him on his clothes

as it stays with him in his heart

as is in his personality, in his very being

Traveling. Changes. You.

those who explore the lands of God

are more aware of the changes

that traveling brings to them

as they are aware of the changes they bring to others

living in Yemen has taught me that the poor are more happy

that to have a softer heart as well as a softer speech

is more important than having lots of money

for it leads to a more meaningful way of living

and if you were waiting for a change to happen,

the only way is to…

stop waiting :)

When I first arrived half a year ago I thought I’ve come to a place

where sadness could not touch me

and I busied myself so so much that the pressure hit me

and drip drip drip was all I got

and a stack of cash from teaching

a beautiful, but confused bunch of over 2o’s

who preferred English over Arabic

who never understood why I had come to their city

when they’re dying to escape from the restrictive clutches of their country

(or what they consider to be so..)

and their opinion never changed even when the class began to feel warmer

we welcomed the hot weather by listening to heavily American audio tracks

and playing ice-breaking games even after 4th week

by then I thought the ice would have already melted

but I was wrong- I didn’t manage to make them see

that the language they were raised to speak in

in which their tongues are accustomed to

is far more beautiful than dull old English,

Change doesn’t happen overnight you see

the winds may blow in every direction

but only with their Master’s permission.

Only then will we see that the delay in changes

is meant to teach us the blessing in taking one step at a time

But progress we must, for all great things take time

and they never stop

no matter how small or slow their progress is

in the eyes of others,

for it worked well with the prohibition of alcohol and beer

and the rotation around the sun that takes about a whole year

for it would cost a lot if they stopped-

one cannot imagine the 5-minute absence of oxygen from Earth-

her crust will collapse, and her insides will spill open

So imagine what it does to a heart that stops knowing God.

Just seeing how everything works non-stop round the clock,

..the Earth ages beautifully and so can we

she takes her time and so do we..

nothing moves or changes without it teaching us a lesson or two

nothing was even created without its purpose being to serve us too

And all this, just to keep an ironically-named named nation called Humanity going.

This is why my heart is still beating

this is why my blood still flows through my veins

from the systoles and diastoles of this strong muscle

this is why I’m able to produce audible and intelligible sounds

so others may understand me ,

My irises are warm and my entire body is alive with activity

فبأي الآء ربكما تكذبان

Which of the bounties of your Lord will you deny?

our repayment to them, oftentimes, sound like a broken cassette –

I will smoke my last cigarette today

I will be envious of my sister for the last time today

I will think my last evil thought today

I will steal my last dollar today

I will llie my last lie today

these empties simply don’t rhyme with real change

maybe a nice-sounding poem,

but they don’t resonate with our limbs and desires

The desire to change for the better

isn’t simply grand resolutions and promises and oaths

read and recited to ourselves

it is read to God through actions

it’s the simple things too – to begin with

Like being considerate and soft in speech,

and to hold back when you’re about to argue,

and to think selflessly, and to want for your sister what you want for yourself,

and to love even those who revile you,

and to have beautiful patience even when patience runs out,

and to always have hope that relief is just around the corner

and to swallow criticism and to allow it to build you not grow thorns from within you,

and to caress the orphan child’s head, and to always begin anything with His name,

and to restrain your hand from reaching out for something that isn’t yours-

even a puff of perfume,

even a coin on the street

and a pencil on the floor

a fallen apple from a millionaire’s garden

and a man who is not your husband.

My divinely-inspired way of life teaches me

that i am to be accountable for everything

that God is most Just, just as He is and is an Overseer over everything

but He is Most Gracious and Most Merciful

that a good deed erases a bad one,

and that a good thought can avert a disaster,

that charity purifies wealth as well as the heart,

that no smile will be left unrecorded

no hatred for a bad deed will be unrewarded

no diaper changed in the middle of the night, O mother,

nor a color on your lip for the husband despite the messy bun,

nor a prayer said in the night will be go unnoticed

It is not His nature to forget, it is ours,

so why worry- just be good expansively, lavishly

and most importantly, sincerely.

It’s not our job to count our good deeds,

it’s ours to count our blessings and His favors

but even if we were to do that we’d never be able to finish

Change is everyday, and change takes time

change is the small things that revive a dead part of you,

quenches you, relieves you,

Change is the turning of a leaf, as they say

but more than that, change is a natural state of being

that is happening all around us, every second and minute

and yet we still make it a point to say, “you have changed!”

It is time we learn that just as how

the turab is where we come from and belong to,

change is also from the fitrah, our natural state of being-

an ever-changing state which we need to come back to

with open arms.