Poem: A Prayer: The Promised Land – Novid Shaid

A Prayer: The Promised Land

By Novid Shaid, December, 2010

Oh Lord,
I cling on to the rocks of your sacred path,

knowing full well I have stumbled
and lost my footing
on the firm ground of certitude and witnessing.
Truly, I have slipped
and fallen into disarray
since You welcomed me into
the Promised Land
Of Your nearness and knowledge.
Forgive me my dear Lord,
For I lost my focus on the centre
the kernel,
the key to everything.
Something caught my eye,
A puppet show in the supermarket of this world,
masquerading as a worthy distraction.
And I followed it,
twisting through the blessed streets and paths,
Until I found myself,
beyond the safety of the city walls
clutching onto my shoulders,
with the mighty doors slamming in my face.
Then terrible winds thrust me in the direction of Hell;
And I suffered
feeling the remoteness from Your blessed space
exclusion from Your overflowing presence
which brings all created things into existence.
And now I struggle
hanging on to the rocks
which gives me some hope that all is not lost.
O Lord
I have truly faltered,
From resting in Your intimate home,
bathing in Your perspicacious pools
and picking the fruits of Divine secrets
in Your prodigious orchards,
I find myself coughing up
the sods and dirt,
clinging on to a solitary jutting rock of hope
while the gaping chasms of my emptiness and desires
await me for their feed.
My errors have been lamentable and gross
My ingratitude unforgivable
But now I call on Your Benevolence
Greater than all the Kings that ever ruled the land and sea
Help me up again O Lord,
Give me the strength
to climb up this godforsaken precipice.
And grant me
An opportunity
to make some recompense
to plead for Your forgiveness
make me a permanent resident, O Lord
A true patriot
An established citizen
Admit me once again, O Lord,
Into Your promised land
Where one truly understands Your Loving Grace,
Where one truly realises
that nothing in this whole universe, ever,
can compensate
for the infinitely intoxicating and sobering vision
of Your Face.

The Drops of Purity – Novid Shaid

The Drops of Purity,

By Novid Shaid, 2005 copyright

The limpid drops of purity
Seep through their hearts instilling certainty.
They rain down on the turbidity,
Which veils their hearts with all things sensory,
And soften the solidity,
And wash away the multiplicity.
The drops increase and permeate
A vision forms in the transparency,
It’s like the rising of the Sun
The lights glisten and dance in harmony.
The dust has cleared; the sight is free
The lights engulf them, veiling their identities,
The clearing shows Infinity
The Endless Light revealing endlessly
There’s nothing in reality
Except the One and Only entity
And all besides is illusory
A picture formed with perfect artistry
Appearing real, diverse, 3D
Behind these sights resounds the order, Be.
All that there is, was and will be,
Are suspended in the timeless grip, hanging helplessly.
And nothing lives independently
Although some find this an absurdity.
If they considered truthfully,
And shed themselves of their complacency
Then wrapped their selves in poverty
And soaked their intellects in humility,
The rain would fall, most certainly
Drenching their hearts, revealing His Divine Unity.
If people find some clarity
In these words and some lucidity
Then praise the One, it’s His decree
The mercy of His sheer sublimity.
But if there are extremities,
Or glaring faults and poor inaccuracies
Ignore them with a conscience free,
They come from him who composed this poetry.
And peace the number of the trees
And blessings on the Prophet of purity,
And on his house and progeny
His friends, helpers and blessed community.

An Ode to My Sofa – Novid Shaid

An Ode to My Sofa

By Novid Shaid, 2010, copyright

Forgive me my dear sofa,
For my wilful arrogance,
It’s only now I’ve noticed
Your uncanny consciousness.

Your seats are so inviting!
Your back so comforting!
We fall on you for joy and rest
And you oblige our every whim.

For sleeping you indulge us,
You accommodate our guests,
On you we share our hopes and dreams,
And our children spill their breakfast.

But one thing, my dear sofa,
That chills me to the bone,
Is that on the day when time stands still,
You will speak in an honest tone.

When I stand upon the plain,
With my history laid bare,
You will speak of everything
That I did within your care.

Every word and every thought,
Whether pleased or overwrought
On that day you will not hold back
To reveal my every act.

So now I gaze at you, a compound
Of leather and upholstery,
Sitting silently and lifeless
Weakening through maturity

But one day you will awaken
With a voice so clear and free,
When the days and nights have ended
You will reveal our history.

The Rich and the Poor – Novid Shaid

The Rich and the Poor

by Novid Shaid, October, 2010

A road sweeper whispered some words while clearing autumn leaves,
which lay below the naked elms that lined a privileged street.
A tear fell from his gentle eyes, landing upon a leaf,
reviving it for just a while from separation’s grief.
He brushed along past wealthy folk, dining in an eatery,
where a captivating cover girl sat smiling playfully.
She luxuriated in the spell she cast upon all men,
who could not help a lingering glance while reading their menus.
A quantum physicist drew praise for winning the Nobel prize,
Behind him sat an oligarch, lavishing gifts on his new bride.
A stand up comedian, top draw, left his table roaring with laughter,
his friends hanging on every word that came from him thereafter.
And many other members of the finest echelons
ate happily, while with the leaves the man mumbled his song:

“Were I to lose the ecstasy of being near to You
And in exchange be courted by the fairest lady of the land
Then I would be the most wretched of losers.

Were I to lose the felicity of seeing nought but You
And as a consequence be the talk of people all around,
Then I would be the most wretched of losers.

Were I to lose the timelessness of Your pure entity
And then penetrate the mysteries of space and time travel,
Then I would be the most wretched of losers.

Were I to lose the serenity of hearing nought but You,
And subsequently be the greatest orator of the times,
Then I would be the most wretched of losers.

Were I to lose Your riches and my desperate poverty
And then inherit mansions adorned with landscape gardens of gold,
Then I would be the most wretched of losers.”

Are you lonesome tonight? – Novid Shaid

Are you lonesome tonight?
by Novid Shaid, 2003

Are you lonesome tonight?
Are you friendless tonight?
Is your world fractured apart?
Has your love turned and fled?
Has your loyal heart bled?
It’s not worth living, apart.

Shall I show you a friend?
Recommend you a friend?
Your woes, His love will consume
And His veil He will rend,
And His charms have no end,
His warmth will comfort your gloom.

Are you troubled tonight?
Agitated tonight?
Have dreams been shattered and strewn?
Has your health turned to dread?
Is your wealth torn into shreds?
And you sense your impending doom.

Will you welcome a friend?
Acquiesce to a friend?
Who’ll mend and replace your dreams,
And He’ll freshen your health,
And enliven your wealth,
His aid will thrill your esteem.

Are you shaking tonight?
Are you aching tonight?
Without a morsel or bed?
And the cold grips your skin,
And the hunger within,
No luck or hope lies ahead.

Can you search for a friend?
Can you feel for a friend?
Who dwells in no time or place,
And His nearness will sate,
And His grace compensate,
Your fare, beholding His face.

Well then, long with your heart,
And kindle in your heart,
The wish to witness His face,
And pledge to Him your love,
Then purge for Him your love,
Your cravings don’t leave a trace.

And convey peace tonight,
And then blessings tonight
Upon His dearest comrade,
And upon his close friends,
Family, companions,
Until there’s no night or day.

The Homecoming of my Old Friend – Novid Shaid

The homecoming of my old friend.

By Novid Shaid, 2003

One day, a painful memory shook my heart,
My old friend had served me since my birth,
And I had cast him out onto the street,
Denying his undying faithfulness.
For my old friend was becoming wearisome,
Especially now I’d made new, trendy friends,
In these progressing times he seemed passé,
My friends would snigger at my companion.
So, I barged him out onto the lonely street
I slammed the door as he began reasoning,
I convinced myself he was an inconvenience,
I assured my friends I had forsaken him.
Many days and weeks passed gradually,
I felt the world vibrating at my feet,
His knocking had halted some time ago,
But still I knew he lingered there, outside.
So I threw off all my guilt and held my breath,
Then leapt into the mires of my desires.
I plunged in hordes of feigned relationships,
I hosted great, extravagant soirees,
Fleeting ecstasies were my preoccupations,
My house bulged with gatecrashers gushing in,
My heart sagged with intruders surging in.
Until one day, as I jigged around my room,
Encircled by my artificial friends,
They closed in on me, stifling my breast,
They pressured me to offer them my heart,
When a slow knock rocked against my door
Its reverberation left a thunderous roar,
My body trembled like a shaken leaf
From deep within arose familiarity,
I staggered to and fro, shielding my ears,
But still the knocks resounded, thundering.
And then the realisation struck me down,
My abandoned friend was waiting in the cold.
And as this certainty aroused my heart,
Tears of shame ran, searing my desires,
Each drop fell, and my heart was up in flames,
The intruders fled, shrieking in agony.
I moved towards the knocking on my door
The tense smiles of my friends stood in the way,
Attempting to divert my attention,
They promised untold pleasure if I stayed,
But when they realised I was intent
They grabbed my legs and fought to drag me back
Their wailed and cried revealing their dismay,
And I just kicked them off with bitterness.
And so I stood there, facing my front door
I turned and saw my friends gaping in horror,
I turned the handle with my quivering hand
My heart lamented as the door opened,
I dreaded facing him after so long,
I planned I’d throw myself before his feet,
When suddenly every single thing vanished
My house, my friends and nothing else remained.
And then I found myself not in my room
But on the lonely street, there, shivering
Before me stood a great, glistening door
It opened and my old friend emerged.
He covered me with warm, comforting robes
He wrapped me in His unifying glow,
He sheltered me from sorrow and the cold,
And I had been a homeless, wretched soul,
And by His love I’d finally returned home.

The Dowdy Muslim – Novid Shaid

The Dowdy Muslim
By Novid Shaid, September, 2010

There once was a dowdy Muslim
whose face looked clumsy and cold.
She would waddle down the street,
looking down at her feet,
covered up in flowing dark folds.

When she trudged on through the markets
or stood in queue like a dull figurine,
the other women so dashing,
with bodies like mannequins,
considered her image obscene!

There once was a dowdy Muslim,
whom the men and women thought glum.
“If I looked so poor
I’d lock myself indoors.
She most definitely has no fun!”

This woman, she behaved so different,
wrapping her body, shying away from men.
When they peered at her dress,
they thought her oppressed:
“How old-fashioned! And so out of trend!”
There once was a dowdy Muslim,
whom the world around misunderstood.
While the people from her town
gave her disapproving frowns,
in secret she wished them nothing but good.

In the night when all were dozing,
she would rise and implore the skies.
Praying for security,
for her cruel community;
gentle tears flowing from her eyes.

There once was a dowdy Muslim
whose neighbour was particularly mean,
so offended and repulsed
by this Muslim’s impulse
to obscure herself from being seen.

This neighbour was a proud professional,
an aerobics queen, with a facelift.
She went out with a doc,
who made a living from Botox.
Every Friday they went out and got pissed!

There once was a dowdy Muslim,
whose neighbour had a startling dream.
She witnessed her own fate
and awoke in a state,
letting off an ear-splitting scream!

This neighbour dreamed she was standing
on a plain with the rest of the world.
Feeling like a silly kid,
she stood there stark naked,
but none noticed or even said a word.

But as she stood and gazed around there,
someone caught her eye, standing so tall.
Beautiful as a pearl,
surrounded by whistling angels,
more delightful than a princess at a ball.

Now the neighbour was extremely curious,
there was something so obvious and familiar.
So she left her place
from the rows of the human race;
the curiosity was nearly killing her.

When she reached this towering individual,
angels turned to her, so surprised.
They looked at her, up and down
giving her ridiculing frowns:
“Why ever have you left your line?”

“Excuse me, but do I know you?”
Gasped the neighbour, up to this glistening head.
When the figure turned it face,
the neighbour’s heart raced
and her spirit was engulfed with dread.

For the figure was no other than the Muslim;
her neighbour, the sad, dowdy one.
Now she stood with such grace
pearls and jewels beautifying her face,
as if she were a chosen one.

“Where on earth am I?” shouted the neighbour.
“Why am I here, and how come you are suddenly so fine?!”
“Truth has conquered falsehood,”
said the Muslim as she stood,
“inner beauty wins at the end of time.”

Then the angels encircled and gambolled
with the Muslim, around and around.
Quick and gentle little sprites,
weaving circles of light
Singing: “she’s the best in town!”

“The best!” Woosh!! Woosh!!
“The best”, Woosh!! Woosh!!
“The best in town!”
With a dance and a giggle
And waddle and wiggle,
The holy angels sang: “The best in town!!!”

So, there once was a dowdy Muslim,
whom her people cackled:  “What a complete clown!”
But little did they know
of her deep, inner glow
as the hidden voices sang: “The best in town!!!”

“She’s the best!” Woosh!! Woosh!!
“The best!” Woosh!! Woosh!!
“The best in town!”
With a dance and a giggle
And a waddle and a wiggle,
the holy angels sang: “The best in town!”

The Meeting – By Novid Shaid

The Meeting

By Novid Shaid, September, 2010

Innamaa hadhihi hayaatu mataa’ – “verily this life is full of struggles”- Young Fata
to Dhun Nun Al Misri– Kitab Ul Futuwwa

Abadan tahinnu ilaykumu arwah – “forever do the spirits find rest with You” – Imam
Shihaabudeen Suhwardi

When I was a restless youth
And my heart was searching for truth
A chance meeting transformed me
And I was born again, weeping like a baby.

It was as I roamed and strode
Through the streets, heaving in a state of overload
My head was grinding and saturated
With worldly worries and grasping faces.

And the world seemed dangerous and malicious
Talk and gazes looked so vicious
About the things that I believed
People burned my book of dreams.

Then I caught a glimpse of him
And I couldn’t help but wince,
At the light which shone so bright
Right on through to a paradise.

He stood, helpless, back to the wall
surrounded by these menacing Neanderthals
who jostled, poked and sniggered,
laughing at his clumsy clothes and rough condition.

And though I was hesitant and afraid
These boys had cruelty written all over their gazes
I couldn’t stop myself from saving
him, the lights pulled me in, amazing.

And when I stood before these guys,
without warning, they dematerialised.
And now I stood before his eyes.
I drowned in a sea of light, then I cried.

He stood silent for a while
Handing me a cloth for my tears to dry.
Then he looked deep in my eyes
And sang to me these unforgettable lines:

“I’m a poor man on the road
I live without abode
Only scraps are good enough for me
Few desire to speak with me.

But when Your sun rose in my life
And Your moon reflects Your light
The warmth eases my pain
And pure cheer graces my days.

And when I meet Your special friends
Oh the joy and hope they bring
As we sing about Your light
While this aging world staggers by.

So take the rough and tumble on the chin
Don’t worry about people and their din
For this life is hope and fear,
The pain rides with the cheer.”

Then he left and I never saw him again
But the anguish was cleared from my head.
And I saw things as they are
Lights engulfed me, spectacular.

Now I roam on through this life
With energetic children and busy wife.
Leaning on each other for motivation
Sometimes suffering the trials and tribulations.

But every now and then, we cry,
With tears of joy and heavy sighs
The lights of heaven shine and glisten
And I can’t help but stop and sing:

“I’m a poor man on the road
I live without abode
Only scraps are good enough for me
Few desire to speak with me.

But when Your sun rose in my life
And Your moon reflects Your light
The warmth eases my pain
And pure cheer graces my days.

And when I meet Your special friends
Oh the joy and hope they bring
As we sing about Your light
While this aging world staggers by.

So take the rough and tumble on the chin
Don’t worry about people and their din

For this life is hope and fear,
The pain rides with the cheer.”

The Man Who Loved to Burn The Book – By Novid Shaid

The Man Who Loved to Burn The Book
By Novid Shaid, September, 2010

Once there was a man, who yearned to burn a book,
which millions loved; it was their special book,
its verses had some of them completely hooked;
they were delighted by just a momentary look.

But this man sneered; he confounded their desire,
to read this book, to follow and admire.
He thought it was wicked to even take a look
The proper thing he thought was to burn the book.

So he ordered many copies new and fine
Some people sent to him and some came from online.
He made a stockpile then everyday he cooked
A raging fire to sizzle all these books.

Suddenly his face appeared on every media
He even had an entry on Wikipedia!
There was great outcry; many labelled him a schnook!
For his intention to burn this special book.

When people heard, they ordered him to stop
His friends said, “Don’t listen or you’ll be a flop!
There’s wickedness, there’s violence if you look
The only thing to do is burn the book!”

Eventually the fateful day arrived
The bonfire ready and their faces full of pride
They gathered round inspecting every book
They couldn’t wait to watch them being cooked.

They filmed them burning by the multitude
Films of it were uploaded on You Tube.
Frenzied people rioted, and their fists they shook
How dare this man abuse their special book!

But as the books were perishing in the fire
It sparked off many to search and to inquire.
What’s all this fuss about? Let’s take a look!
Why does this man love to burn this special book?

And everyday this man prepared his fire
And giggled with his friends, watching those books expire,
More people couldn’t help but take a look,
At the contents of this special burning book.

And finally when this man was feeling better
He was greeted with thousands of complimentary letters.
Some praised him for the work he undertook
But many thanked him for showing them the book.

Because now they read it every single day
They loved its poetry, and the message it conveyed.
And now they couldn’t resist taking a look,
Because of the man who loved to burn the book.

O You – Poem by Novid Shaid

O You
Novid Shaid, copyright, 2010

O You, who love to demonize
our Prophet, Nabi Muhammad,
know this:
that we love him more
than you love your own identities.

O You, who love to satirize
our master, Nabi Muhammad,
know this:
that just our eulogies of him
are enough to fill your libraries.

O You who seek to stigmatise
our leader, Nabi Muhammad,
know this:
however much you put him down
our Lord increases him in nobility.

Oh You who are horrified
by our devotion to Nabi Muhammad,
know this:
that he lives in our dreams
and appears before our very eyes.

Oh You, who love to vilify
the life of Nabi Muhammad,
know this:
that some of us shed tears
by just the mention of his memory.

Oh You, who love to trivialise
our mentor, Nabi Muhammad
know this:
that we instill his acts
we pay homage to his reality.

Oh You, who seek to criticise
our love for Nabi Muhammad,
know this:
that we are helplessly in love
indifferent to your modernity.

Oh You, who seek to neutralise
our love for Nabi Muhammad,
know this:
that were you to offer us immortality
just a glance of him would be our sufficiency.

Oh You, who will never rationalise
our love for Nabi Muhammad,
know this:
were you to wipe us off the face of the earth
our dust would drift to warm Madinah.