take your shoes off go outside
tip your face toward the sky
feel the cold clean droplets
streak your chin and cheeks
this blessing is called rain
let it in go to the end of the path
where it gathers inches deep
follow your feet in let them recall
the child to whom they once belonged
let the water wrap its thumbs and fingers round
your ankles silver circlets let them hold you there
let the mud settle in the crescent of each toe listen
the trees are praying
kneel and lift a drowning worm from the puddle
behold the string of blood within a single vein
remember when the world fit in your hand
remember not all blessings fall the same
I stand beside my window
waiting for the call to prayer,
waiting like a lover
for a glimpse of the beloved
against a sky dark as plum skin
dark as the center of an unsplit fruit.
I search the empty streets
where only cats
and the shadows of cats
prowl on padded feet.
The stars have gone some other place
and he has not come.
And then a thread of honey,
a shaft of light from the throat of a man
unrolls in script above the rooftops
and my soul expands.
They say people sometimes fall in love
with the mu'addhin
who sings most beautifully.
First one voice then a second
now vie for my devotion,
from two quarters of the city
they sweep over and under
the silent longing in me, a chord
drawing me beyond the sill, this street,
high above my wrinkled pillowcase.
Awake my heart,
and love what is:
the god of alley cats and damp stones,
the god of dawn, the god of men who sing.
Prayer is better than sleep.
E. D. Watson