Friday, February 19, 2010

Khidr's Riddle by Mohja Kahf

This poem from E-mails from Scheherazad by Mohja Kahf has fantastic imagery. In fact, I love pretty much everything about it.

Khidr's Riddle
by Mohja Kahf

It is a tiny hearing aid.
You will be able
to detect the sound
of grass growing, the thunder
of a thousand blades raised
under your foot.

It is a vial of eyedrops.
You will discern the epic
unfolding in every mote
of matter, the poem being written
and unwritten in every face.
Civilizations rise and fall,
whole species speak sagas
in that stone you kicked this morning.

It is a medicine.
Take it to perceive
worlds under the world, realities
cupped inside the belly
of reality.

It is a warning.
Your nerves will tentacle
across the globe. Rivers
will delta into your bloodstream.
The burbling liquids of Mars
will boil your medulla oblongata
and the rocks of Saturn's rings
will ice the base of your spine.

Joys, innumerable joys,
like the coming back of children
grown and bearing children,
each bearing baskets of harvest
berries, will fall into your lap.

It is a bucket into the well
of the world's soul.
Be careful. You will also
drink the pain of those you hate
and hear the last pleas
of the mad and butchered of the earth.

The wall of your back will crumble
under the weight of our heritage
of cruelty to each other.
The dam of your mercy will burst.
Consider: Will the flood ensuing drown
or irrigate, at last, the small field,
you have been hoeing
in your heart?


Posted with permission of the poet.

Poetry Friday links are located at Irene Latham's site this week.

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