This Too Shall Pass…

Nothing satisfies the heart like poetry.  So I’m going through a blue phase (thus the lack of posts), and I’ve found that when that happens, I seek one of two (completely opposite) sources to restore my balance.  One is du’a and the other is Emily Dickinson.

There is of course no comparison between the two and there is no doubt that I only have to open a book of translated supplications and I am guaranteed an answer, and one that will lift every weight clean off my shoulders.  But sometimes, the ache is so sweet that you want to suffer its existence just a little bit longer before cleansing yourself of it.  Perhaps this need to indulge it is an indication that it is not such a big deal after all; that deep inside I know that this too shall pass like all the others before.

And thus, I present you with an Emily gem:

Heart We Will Forget Him

Heart, we will forget him,
You and I, tonight!
You must forget the warmth he gave, 
I will forget the light

When you have done pray tell me,
Then I, my thoughts, will dim.
Haste! ‘lest while you’re lagging,
I may remember him!

– Emily Dickinson

(I’ll get to the du’as soon enough, they’re calling me already in fact…)

bint Ali

The Damascene Dancer

The Damascene Dancer
Oliver Duillier – Syria


I saw her under the flicker
of a damaged street lamp.
The music of ancient Damascus
dissolved in the busy street
but she remained undisturbed;
the beat resonated in her bones.

She swayed like the branches
of the white jasmine trees,
moved sporadically and erratically
by the unpredictable wind.

The city surrounding her
flowed; a river around a rock,
unmoved by the untamed beauty
marring its urban rhythm.

White scarf in hand
and ebony hair swinging wildly,
she danced with the dervishes of old,
spinning, spinning, spinning,
until she could spin no more.

"I love you," I told her
and begged her to marry me,
for her dance had intoxicated me
as surely as the strongest wine of Bekaa.

"I love you," she said,
"but we cannot marry
for you are not Muslim."

"I will convert," I replied
and tore the cross from my neck
to prove my conviction.

"What sort of love is that,"
she asked me,
"that you would reject God for?"

Her brown eyes shone
brightly as the clouds parted
and the stars perforating the black sky
smiled down acceptingly.

"What sort of God is that,"
I asked her,
"that you would reject love for?"

Published in damazine – Summer 2008

Born in Helsinki, Finland, Oliver Duillier is a would-be writer currently based in Damascus, Syria, where he is hoping to complete his first novel without losing the last of his hair.