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Poems by Ruhiyyih Khanum, Giuseppe de Marco, Gilbert Robert, Martyn Burke, Audrey Marcus, Anneke Buys, Geoffrey Nash, Judith Partelow Provost, Adelbert Mühlschlegel, Larry Rowdon, Victor de Araujo, Shirin Sabri, Roger White, Bret Breneman, et al.
See Bahá'í World volume 18 table of contents.


published in Bahá'í World, Vol. 18 (1979-1983), pages 983-993
Haifa: Bahá’í World Centre, 1986
page 983

On Hearing of Enoch's Murder

Rúhiyyih Khánum (Amatu'l-Bahá) (Limassol, Cyprus), 17 September 1979

The sunlight is black
The sunlight is black
What raven wing
Covered my sun at noonday?

In my mouth is the salt of tears
I cannot swallow so much salt . . .

Blood is so beautiful
Blood is so pure
Why do the people let blood
Run in the street?

So long it took
To make this man
Noble and good
His mind and his soul
Expanded like sunlight
At noonday.

Why did you kill him?
Are you pleased at this riddled shell,
This mangle of bone and flesh?
Did you think your deed in the dark
Was a bright light?

Everything is pulsing,
Throbbing and throbbing!
There is no answer
And the sunlight is black.

Go Enoch go!
Go to Musa on the hill
Go to your Master
Go to your Guardian
Go to the Kingdom of Light!

But ask not of us
Nor of your people
Who have plucked a sin
Big enough and dark enough
To blot out the noonday sun!

Woe to Africa!
Weep as you have not wept before,
Weep on your knees,
Weep your eyes blind,
You have murdered Abu'l-Futœh,
The Father of Victories is dead
At your hand, at your hand!
Your jeweled crown
page laced by God on your head
Is rolled into the grave---
Weep, weep, weep your heart away.


Translated by Hushmand Fatheazam

A translation from Persian of a poem written by a Muslim woman who was a cell-mate of
one of the recent Bahá'í women martyrs. For the author's protection, her name is withheld.

Do you remember that you told me
`How tight is our cage! How difficult
to breathe in this close and terrible place!'
You wanted to sacrifice yourself.
I wanted to be freed from prison,
but you wanted to sacrifice yourself.
You looked at the door of the cell
in such a strange way, as though
someone called you from heaven.
I saw in your gaze the look of a
fulfilled and proud lover.
I saw the desire for flight in your eyes,
as though you were going back to the nest.
At that moment you murmured into my ears,
`Life is vanity; why should we stay
till we rot?' We both said the same thing,
that life is meaningless, that at the end
we have to go in any case. But behold
how beautifully you spread your wings,
broke your cage. Your umbrella was of flowers.
Now even the Seven Heavens are not vast enough
under your feet.
How well you knew that to take wing
is the best way to go home.
You had a power equal to the whole world;
your heart was like an ocean.
It is my humiliation to see that you are up there
and I am still here.
I am in this swamp of the earth
and you are with your Beloved.
I am still drowned in wonderment
and you have arrived at your destiny.

Do you remember that you told me,
`How tight is our cage! How difficult
to breathe in this close and terrible place!'
Are you aware that I cannot erase your
memory from my heart throughout eternity?
You are a proud eagle. My heart
is a captive bird.

Even if it were not imprisoned,
it is a captive in the world.
You are not here
but have taken to your wings.
I stay, and I rot, and I die.

page 984

From an Iranian Prison

[see also Prison Memories of Mr. Amoui (Feb. 1984 - March 1989)]

In mid-1982, a Bahá'í was told that an Islamic court had decreed that he should be
put to death. On hearing the decision, he composed the following poem for his son.

My Soroush, behold your father and see how
      perplexed he is.
He keeps to himself and muses.
He is captive in the hands of the oppressors,
like Joseph in the well of Canaan.
My Soroush . . .
I miss your love and your sweet voice.

See how the enemies ruined our home,
at this fall season which is followed by winter.

You trembled like autumn leaves in the bosom of
      your mom,
when you heard that your father was in the hands of
      the enemies.

They attacked our home . . .
Books, pamphlets and notebooks were all taken,
picture of the Beloved too, which was so dear . . .
At this time I heard a sweet message:
Why is the bird of your heart so sorrowful?
Don't be so sad; this is the bounty of the Beloved
that you are in this prison corner.
His calamity is His providence, rejoice.
Good for the head which is given for His path.
Drink the everlasting wine from the cup-bearer's
If they took `Abdu'l-Bahá's picture, why worry?
it is engraved on the wall of my heart.
If they took the prayer book,
many tablets are hidden in my heart,
If they broke the tapes of the voices of the friends,
the bird of my heart is a sweet-singing bird.

They cannot drain the fountain of the Sun
even though clouds are now ruling in this region.

Look at the tiny prison cells
which are filled with the melodies
of prayer and the mention of God.
Listen to the cry of `O Bahá, O my God',
which echoes like a thunder and roars.

The sound of the `remover of difficulties' chanted by
      the friends, flies to the Heaven of God like an

One friend is saying the song of `Praise be to my
      God the exalted',
and the other is chanting the verse of `O Beloved
      look at Thy lovers',
One is full of joy from the song of `O God',
and the other is weeping at the chanting of `Al-
One is drunk with the wine of `Our God the Most
and the other is astonished at the inebriety of the
      wine of `if there were no calamities'.

We must make the most of these various-colored
since the cup-bearer is the beauty of the Beloved.
I wonder from which cup I should drink, since there
      are so many wines in this happy feast.
Although the cell is filled with absolute darkness,
the beauty of the Beloved is shining in the garden of
      my heart.
If the judge finds out about my joyous state,
I am sure that he will regret his decree.
Drink from the wine of true understanding in
      secret, O friends,
and whip lashes will be your punishment.
Look at the degree of the ignorance of the guard,
I am fully drunk and he wants order.
Thanks to God since with the help of the Beloved
prison has become a palace to His lovers.

[no title]

by Giuseppe de Marco (Sicily)

E al calar della notte
quella strada scintillante sul mare
mi portò in un mondo diverso
dove l'oro nei duori e le gemme nel petto.

page 985

La Ballade de Mullá Husayn

Gilbert Robert (France)

Yá Sáhibu'z-Zamán! Á cheval, ô héros de Dieu!

Bien-aimé, avec humilité, j'ai orné ma tête de ton turban vert
Avec orgueil, j'ai hissé bien haut l'étendard noir, en marchant á découvert.

Avec mes trois cent reize compagnons, pour Toi, j'ai chevauché dans les ténbres
L'ennemi a fui; pourtant, Tabarsi m'accueillera avec des cris funbres.

Avant que mon âme ne s'envole, á mon confident qui extirpa mon doute
Au Tabernacle vivant de Dieu, je dis en mourant: mon bien-aimé, écoute!

Avec mon sabre, l'arbre, le fusil et l'homme, je les ai coupés
Avec ton nom, Báb, j'ai fendu l'erreur de tes ennemis regroupés.

Avec mon cheval fougeux, j'ai porté l'épouvante chez les impies
Avec ma foi, j'ai effacé la honte de ma patrie assoupie.

Sous la pluie et les balles, j'ai combattu le vice et la corruption
Sous les malédictions, j'ai découvert ton ineffable dilection.

Sous les outrages, sans faiblir, j'ai combattu ces mullás éhontés
Sous le lourd tourment de ton absence, j'ai bu au miel de tes bontés.

Sur mon corps amaigri, mes vêtements flottent comme des oripeaux
Sur mes lvres, tes prires vibrent, pour claquer comme des drapeaux.

Sur mes os, ma peau livrée aux morsures de la glace s'est tannée
Sur le feu ardent de mon amour, mon reste d'égo fut calciné.

Avec mes frres, j'ai bu longuement au calice de la souffrance
Avec eux, j'ai humé au champ de l'oblation ta subtile fragrance.

Avec nos poitrines nues, nous avons couru au-devant du danger
Avec joie, nous offrons notre sang pour que Toi, tu puisses l'engranger.

page our la vérité, nous avons rongé le cuir, mangél'herbe et l'écorce
page our ta Cause, j'ai voulu te servir jusqu'á l'extinction de ma force.

page our ta lumire, j'ai chargé les canons, afin qu'elle puisse éclore
page our le monde qui attend, nous avons brisé la gangue de l'aurore.

La poitrine trouée, mourant, je retourne au fort, au pas, l'âme inassouvie
Maintenant, bien-aimé, maintenant, puis-je frapper á la porte de la vie?


Martyn Burke (Belgium)

Bridal-white and calm
this was her hour.

`Yield or be death's cold sister!'
And she:

`Beyond this point--no quest.
Beyond love's talk--no tale.'

For she would be victor
by the silk scarf she carried

when the execution knot
would close love's halter home.

page 986

Paul Haney: A Reflection

Audrey Marcus (Israel)

No one will stand that tall
      among the columns of the Báb's Shrine,
Your back in its lean grey coat
      bending to us in the dark,
Ushering us delicately into firm belief,
      like a benediction,
      like the long, arched curve of humility
      that bows from self to nothingness
      before Him.

No one will approach the Threshold
      from such special height,
Nor in that same long-boned, sparse-stepped way---
Sway so like the reed to the darting currents
      of God's will,
More obediently gather greatness
      down to the scattered petals there.

Oh, blessing---that once we witnessed this,
Witnessed you backing to the door
      so awkwardly graceful,
That we were privileged to walk
      the gravelled path beside you from the Shrine,
page acing our steps with yours
      over the acquiescent stones . . .

No one will walk that tall.

Bahíyyih Khanum (15 July 1982

Anneke Buys (The Netherlands)

We zijn
over donkere paden gegaan;
zacht knerpend grind
onder de voeten;
een knikje, een glimlach,
maar allen zwijgend
in de stille cypressenlaan.

bij de marmeren koepel
in schijnwerperlicht
dat schaduwen werpt
hoger dan de bomen reiken
herdenken wij haar
met ons gebed.

Daarna stilte,
aandachtig zwijgen,
allen naar haar toegewend
terwijl boven ons
de motten fladd'ren,
aangetrokken, als wij,
door haar licht.

The Gift

Geoffrey Nash (United Kingdom)

. . . somewhere in the list could we perhaps slip a plea for consideration that we surrendered our lives that men may be happy and free?
  —   From last letter of Mihdí Anvarí executed in Shíráz 17 March 1981

Do you remember now as you went
on your way many a holiday
with your rogue children running on
and the whole world blue and gold
under the blazening sun
and the ornamental streams whispering
paradisal promises in Sa`dí's Garden
and the scintillating roses scented
like rose-water---do you remember
if perchance you saw him---
that silent man who gave his life for you?


Kaluba Dibwa Lumbaya Muadiamvita (Zaire)

Aux enfants bahá'ís de par le monde

enfants du monde
le royaume d'Abhá
au royaume d'Abhá
enfants du monde
seules les danses et les joies
enfants du monde
le royaume d'Abhá
sont sujets d'amour
d'unité et de fêtes
au royaume d'Abhá
enfants du monde
le royaume d'Abhá
le royaume est á nous
qui taisons nos préjugés
et qui aimons les autres
au royaume d'Abhá
enfants du monde
le royaume d'Abhá
de par le ciel de sa Beauté
Regardons Bahá nous sourire
      et le Maître nous appeler
au royaume d'Abhá
enfants du monde
le royaume d'Abhá.

page 987

Bemba Song

Simon Chanda Fesenge (Swaziland)

Heloline Nasumina
Mulinani, Bahá`u'lláh

Chorus: Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá (4 X)

Natutashe kuli lesa
Watupele nkombe ipya

Bushe chinsi tulolela?
Nkombe ipya naise lelo.

In this day I believe
In Whom? Bahá`u'lláh
Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá (etc.)

We give praise to God.
He has given us a new

Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá (etc.)

Why then do we still seek?
The new Messenger has now come!

Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá (etc.)


Rufino Gualavisí Farinango (Ecuador)

Words sung to a Quechua melody

Ya Bahá Tu reinarás.
Anunciamos siempre Tu Reino.
Unidos siempre en rezar,
Unidos siempre en cantar.

Viviremos en nuestra Fe,
Con la ayuda de Bahá`u'lláh,
Con la luz de un nuevo día,
Que brilla en nuestras almas.

Con la luz de la verdad,
Quitarás nuestra tristeza,
Con el pan de vida eterna,
¡Perdonad, Señor, perdón!

Hacia Ti levanto mis ojos.
En Dios pongo mi esperanza,
page or la justicia social.

[no title]

Audrie Reynolds (Alaska)

Does the brand go to the burning,
or the yearning brow
Go to the brand?

Does the knife curve to the killing
Or the willing flesh
Curve to the knife?

Does the rope coil to the hanging,
Or the martyr's neck
Coil to the rope?

Cup of Martyrdom

by Judith Partelow Provost (U.S.A.)

This is no tepid milky tea-drink
for swallowing mildly in shallow conversations.
This drink burns strong and bold on tongues yet
tastes as sweet as honey.

It gathers courage thrusting forward
the prior timid towards lands of crawling grasses
and stands them under flying bat-wings
to test the bitterness.

The hearts beat louder with each deep drink
slowly drawn from the cup of golden utterances.
A zealous song begins its bleating
on lovers' battlefields:

`Loving, loving' (in new translation)
`for dying ties the lovers' knot,
in a chain a dancing chorus
chasing down a worldly rot.
Slipping through the hangman's fingers
from the noose escapes the sigh;
they cannot slice a soul in splinters;
they cannot quell the joyous cry.

Churning, churning' (amalgamation)
`the bones can pile to the sky.
They cannot break the throbbing spirit;
they cannot char the name, Bahá'í.'

Die Seele

Adelbert Mühlschlegel (Greece)

So zart und klein
bin ich, so rein
und so vom All durchglüht
Du gibst dem Keim
den Leib, das Heim.
O, bleib'um mich bemüht!

Ich wachse hier,
Du, glaub' es mir,
was heimlich in mir ruht.
Da leuchtet Er,
und das ist mehr
als Hirn und Herz und Blut.

Noch ferner Klang
zum schweren Gang
ins Zeitliche gebannt,
zu Freud und Zwang,
zu Jubelsang,
zu dir, mein Heimatland.

page 988

The Banishment

Larry Rowdon (Canada)

Accompanied by a number of frail-bodied men and children of tender age1 . . .
It is how one imagines
that long winter trek
over bleak and wind-scarred ranges
as this day, reaching its sparing light
forces us to spend another night
against a whispering mountain.

Three months the journey lasted
through hardships and hunger
and the sharpest embrace of cold,
sometimes He road in the howdah
ill after being so long in chains,
into that frigid strangulating air
whose sharpest gales extended
so negligently against them
through sweeps of drifting snow
that often blocked their passage---
until the single officer
from the Imperial guard
yearned only to turn back.

Caught in the currents of air
we slip into the deep
crevice of blue-gray rock
as the evening advances,
all manner of thoughts
retreating somewhere
out there above the tree line.

One sees---
the opal mists gathering them in
drawing together like glassy pearls
the cluster of frozen tents
so stark in the scaling wind,
the pungent scent of horses
breathing heavier than before
their frosted manes now silver
against the extending dark

His eldest Son, barely a youth
chanting in chilled air
within a frugal atmosphere,
everyone lapsing to silence
as the gentle sounds of the prayer
ascend the lamplight shadows.

Through purple daybreak
between rain and singing wind
we descend, impatient to catch
the sun's clear warmth
continually caught up
by that deliberate banishment.
One is overwhelmed by just the thought---
a throat accustomed to the touch of silk
scarred and insensibly maimed
by rusted iron fetters.

And there---
      His daughter-child
      cloaked in the mistral morning
      a shield to the negative cold,
      her attitudes transform the day
      rekindle their tranquility.

      Beyond each obscure summit
      they move so slowly forward
      into a dazzling austere sun
      which soon expands to merge
      one vague plateau into another.
      The world, like those callous heights,
      indifferent to His journey.

Yet picture---
      the peasantry blinking
      into the white light, no doubt
      insensible to frost bite
      leaning forward, anxious
      to meet those Exiles:
            to see His face---
                  to touch His robe---
                              to catch one glimpse---
      might soften the untamed heart
      obliterate the harshness.

One overhears---
      `The gentle Lady offered us
      golden buttons in exchange
      for a little cooking oil
      and a small amount of rice.'

The village people sensed
a Great One passed among them
accepting deprivation
that man might gain
immaculate Fire . . .

      When He departed
      they would see Him again and again
      in memory, recalling it
      through an ever-changing light,
      the arching winter sun
      framing His shoulders.

Crossing this icy scree
each pebble seems to shine
in pristine glaze
a mass of beauty---
but oh, how profusely
in the flush of spring
can one visualize
the fragile mountain flowers
blooming where He had rested!
    1 Bahá`u'lláh, referring in part to His exile towards `Iráq. See God Passes By, pp. 106-109, and Balyúzí, H.M., Bahá`u'lláh, the King of Glory, pp. 102-105.

page 989

Indivisible from Us

Victor de Araujo (U.S.A.)

I believe many of us share today deep pain for the waste of the precious lives of children everywhere . . .

Indivisible from us, these children walk
their last inevitable miles---
a marathon from no free choice--
hoping to snap the finish line
alive. When they cross bridges
they cannot recall a starting
point, nor see how near
to the race end: just catch their
breath, and take one further step.

They die and live in us, these children,
holding spirit tight to body, as if
a loosening grasp might mean a stop,
an end too soon---without
a second chance, no way to travel back.
Tomorrow, brothers, sisters,
may well not start the trek, lie
under blankets at some camp, having
overslept their human time.


Martyn Burke (Belgium)

---for the sleeping ones---
In the heart of a stone
A bird grew wings
Grew eager to break
Fsrom gravity to flight.
He thought: `there, in the air's open cage,
Is my realm---my first and natural domain.'
Bird into bird he then became,
His wings opening in ecstasy
The stone ceasing to function about him.
The air became a kingdom of waves and paths
And he had motion to express, to celebrate
Becoming a truth in the joy of a truth found
As much as you in the empire of dreams may know.


Mary Carmen Lozano (Spain)

Un mundo mortecino
extiende sus alas hacia
la Infinita Luz del Alba.
¡Pobre humanidad adormecida!

Ya llegó el Día
con resplendoras de fuego,
ardiendo en alegría.
Ya el Gallo cantó
con clara y profunda voz,
dando la Buena Nueva,
inundando los corazones
desde las Altas Ramas
del Reino de Abhá.

Pero ellos . . .
Sienten la Luz en sus entrañas?
Desesperados, bostezan los hombres.

¡Oh tú, Pueblo!: Amanece,
puntea el Sol en las colinas.
Nunca más podrás cerrar los ojos
ante la belleza del Paisaje.

Abrelos, pues . . .
No dejes que el egoísmo
nuble tus pupilas
y no veas más que
transfiguradas apariencias,
cayendo en el fango
de tu existencia.

Abrelos, pues . . .
que tu espíritu vivificado
por el Esplendor de la Aurora
aleje, día tras día,
las vanas fantasaís
de un ego moribundo.

¡Vuela hacia la Luz, Hermano!


Shirin Sabri (Cyprus)

Here in the Gardens, on the paths
Where sparrows with brown tabby wings
Skip bright and simple
Catching up each pilgrim's crumbs,
On the shaded sward where blackbirds
page rance and cock their saffron beaks,
Where a red crowned woodpecker, upside down,
Hammers at silver twisted bark---

Here in these Gardens we walk and grieve
The scars on one child's downy leg,
The mark of every stone that's flung,
The deaths in prison, told,
The loss of every dear and helpless man.

Yet in these gentle Gardens, at dusk
A robin trebles undisturbed,
And, at dawn, surprised by prayers,
Frail ears flick, a rabbit scuds
Breathless among roses, unpursued---

And stories weep from lip to lip,
The honour of dishonoured names,
A peasant woman's burning hair,
Raped innocents, their souls unstained,
And payment for each bullet used.

While here, in our sweet Gardens, still,
Green wood-sparrows will bow the twigs
Of Cypress trees, and sunbirds
Flicker among shifting leaves
Where purple bougainvillaea teems,
And blossoms ripen into fruit, even
As the broad summer's flame tree flourishes.

page 990

[no title]

Carol G. Handy (U.S.A.)

Having loved Thee first
in contemplation
sweet prayer
and my soul's debauch
(drunken with Thy wine);
dropping daily to the knee
in adoration
to all things as I thought
preferring Thee
(or else that uterine sensation);
I was none the less rocked,
held in holy arms and fed.
Filled were all the empty places
deserts, grey desolate dead
stretches of loneliness
and my bloodless heart
devoid of all graces,
blessed and brought to
moist and beating life.

A living heart, pulsing
with the rhythmic dance of feeling
servant of a serving soul
finds less time for kneeling.

Passando in Treno Davanti a Portofino

Agnese Boerio (Italy)

come bianche vele
sull'azzurro mare
nel sole
di Portofino vanno
sulle ali del vento ...

E l'eco,
di rimando,
in un sussurro
di preghiera,
col treno in corsa
ripete e va:

Alláh'u'Abhá! . . .
Alláh'u'Abhá! . . .
Alláh'u'Abhá! . . .

Why I Like Religion

Charles P. Martin (U.S.A.)

Some people say it's an existential guilt reaction
Due to anxiety repressed during childhood,
And only now coming to the fore.

Some people say it's a miracle.

Some people tell me it's related
To being helpless, and wanting to change the system.

Other people are very sure
That it's because I have a sense of my own mortality,
Or perhaps a vague awareness
Of some of the larger themes in life.

Some people say it's because I hate my mother.

I say it is waking to wind chimes,
The sound of rain,
The smell of bacon,
The sudden jolt of spiders on my skin,
And the knowledge that sometimes
page eople aren't enough.

I say it comes from dying,
And living again.

A Glance at History

Ron Beavers (Israel)

If there is yet time
My children will play by the fireside.
And someday they may
Shake their heads in disbelief
As they stride forth from these ruins
With hands clutching tightly
Their children's hands
And their hearts clinging to
A larger blueprint,
A greater Revelation.
The future is assured:
Millenniums are
More lasting than decades.


Carlos Salomão (Portugal)

Hoje é Naw-Rúz
um dia mais
de Amor
um dia mais
de Luz
em cada coraão
Hoje é Naw-Rúz
neste mundo dos homens
meus irmãos
amai a Unidade
no Profeta
que está junto de nôs
na participaão
das oraçes
na verdade de Abhá

Hoje não estamos sós
Hoje é Naw-Rúz

page 991

Aunque Somos Así

José Luis Marqués (Spain)

Somos los cimientos de una nueva tierra,
somos las semillas de un nuevo jardín.
Ingenuos, sencillos, humildes y pobres,
con mil problemas, con mil deficiencias,
hemos sido escogidos para ser transformados,
para ser portadores de una mueva luz.

      De negros carbones nos ha hecho Dios sus diamantes;
      de granos de arena, ahora somos sus perlas mejores;
      somos las gotas de agua transverberadas por la Gloria del Sol.

Ninguno se puede gloriar de sí mismo,
nada de mérito es nuestro.
No ha hecho falta casi ni valor.
Sólo dejarse llevar como la hoja en el viento
por la Fuerza Suprema que todo lo elige,
lo cambia, lo eleva, lo orienta a su fin.

      Somos las piedras de la celestial Kaaba,
      Somos los ladrillos de una nueva Jerusalén.
      Nuestra fuerza es la esperanza
      de que el Día ha llegado,
      la obra está en marcha
      y surge radiante una Nueva Ciudad,
      la ciudad sin santuario, sin sol y sin luna
      porque sólo la alumbra la Gloria de Dios.

Qué Pudiera Yo Decir?

Dennis Pilarte Arcia (Nicaragua)

-- Para el Báb --

Oh! ¿Qué pudiera yo pensar después de conocer tu vida y tu ejemplo, tu
      prisión y tu martirio; después de ver tu cuerpo perforado por la
      descarga brutal de setecientos cinquenta fusiles infernales?

¿Qué pudiera yo sentir, al ver el santísimo santuario de tu cuerpo .
      colgando destrozado (como péndulo inmolado), marcando el tictac del
      tiempo venidero cuando todos los hombres tendrán que regirse por la
      hora exacta del reloj universal que tú echaste a andar a la hora de
      tu muerte?

¿Qué pudiera yo decir, cuando siento en mí el reflector potente de tu
      amor, que atraviesa lado a lado cual espada enmorada, mi alma triste y
      torturada por el mundo y el dolor?

¿Qué pudiera yo decir, cuando siento que me envuelves en tu hálito
      divino y me llevas tras de tí; que me arrastras con tu manto, tu
      mirada y tu bondad, y me llevas al sendero de una gran tranquilidad?

Báb--Heraldo, Puerta, nacido en Oriente y fulgor de Occidente, rayo
matríz de la unidad, espejo radiante que proyecta el fulgurante anhelo de
la humanidad; yo te declaro protector, iniciador, canalizador, orientador,
océano immenso que baña con sus olas la maravillosa tierra que nos vió
nacer. Sos el precursor de la armonía y de la marvilosa gracia que Dios
maravillosa tierra que nos vió
manifestó, sos la base principal y punto de apoyo espiritual de la fuerza
redentora. Sos el lazo universal que une corazones, sos el alma de
`cristal' que riega bendiciones.

¿Qué pudiera yo decir?

page 992

Lines from Last Letters

Roger White (Israel)

(On reading letters written in 1980-1981, by Bahá'í prisoners in Irán, to their families, within an hour of their execution for refusing to recant their faith.)

How simply the fictive hero becomes the real;
How gladly with proper words the soldier dies
If he must . . .

  —   Wallace Stevens>
I leave a wristwatch and a blanket; please collect them . . .
      Brought to the extremes of our commitment
      Let us not speak of torture but say
death simplifies our gestures, pries us from abstractions.
      The cloak and flourish put aside we seek
      a humble order, a final dignity,
our testament the cordial instruction
of vacationing householder to milkman.

If I have offended anyone I ask forgiveness . . .
      Finality too has its protocol.
      If we die well and decorously
      it is our sanctioned custom.
      We are reconciled to our convention
      though no one sees
      and the world's cameras and microphones distractedly
      avert their glance. We have heroic models in these matters,
      know our end has meaning if only light and shade
      come clear again in a blurred age.

I had no time to finish weaving bracelets for our daughters . . .
      Reasonable men desire to leave mementos
      and we are reasonable men,
      moderate even in our regret and gladness . . .
      Death might blush to call us from our innocent concerns
      but nothing checks that wastrel's rasher whims.

Kiss the children for me and beg them not to mourn . . .
      How simple it all is, the human pang
      domesticated in a penstroke.
      Even the callous might not deplore
      our final modest question,
      the one we cannot put to God:

My dearest wife, are you well pleased with me?
      Lord, Lord! accept these as the proper words.

On Time

Bret Breneman (U.S.A.)

Riding my days like hump-backed whales
or dolphins that dauntlessly dart,
wondering when it will start:
the Day of Light with its timeless sails.

Riding leviathan-style---
above, beneath, and in-between---
can't view the sun-struck scene
or see supernal smile.

Riding the creature He formed for me
that dies when we once arrive,
hoping to get there alive
where the sun is the essence of sea.

Dolphins, whales, must you dive,
must you plunge so endlessly?

Pages 993-1015 are Music sheets; see these in the PDF of image scans here.
back to Bahá'í World volume 18 table of contents
Back to:   Poetry
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