RAIN PSALM

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

Fajr

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