Reprimand

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

after/inspired by Dave Bonta’s “Youth Revisited

It is said
Malek ibn Dinar
was asked by
his neighbors
to confront
a rabble-rouser.

When he offered
to report him to
the sultan, the
youth just laughed,
proclaimed himself
too favored to be
punished locally,
so Malek pointed
upward, threatened
higher authority.

Still the youth
refused to cower,
proclaimed God
much too generous
to inspire fear. Malek
could not dispute
this, he left
speechless.

Another day in
the market, crowds
gathered to grab
that young man
and restrain him,
but before Malek
could join them,
he heard a Voice:

Do not touch him.
He is my friend.

When Malek passed
on the message,
the youth said: Ah!
If it is like that,
take my possessions.

And he left, alone,
after the Friend
who did not permit
even a saint to raise
a hand against him.


Based on “Malek ibn Dinar: Malek and his licentious neighbour” in
Muslim Saints and Mystics: Episodes from the Tadhkiral al-Auliya’ (“Memorial of the Saints”) by Farid al-Din Attar, translated by A.J. Arberry (Rutledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1966)

Blessed Arrogance

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

each one a small loyalty
to what lies in the hive.
—Luisa A. Igloria, “Extravagance

It is said
Hasan of Basra
once wrote out
a legal document
requested
by an old man
upon his death-
bed, and had it
witnessed
properly, signed
by two just
men. In this
testament,
Hasan promised
God would not
punish
the dying one
for sins.

The old man
then surrendered
his ghost,
was washed
and buried
with the signed
document
between cold
folded hands.

Hasan questioned
himself regarding
arrogance:
who was he
to make such
promises
on behalf
of the Beloved,
who was he
who boldly
wrote out such
a contract
committing God
to mercy?


Based on “Hasan of Basra: Hasan of Basra and the Fire-worshipper” in
Muslim Saints and Mystics: Episodes from the Tadhkiral al-Auliya’ (“Memorial of the Saints”) by Farid al-Din Attar, translated by A.J. Arberry (Rutledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1966)