Tag Archives: Poetry

The Golden Shovel

Hi there! Today’s poem is an interesting one. It’s called a “golden shovel” apparently, which is where you take an already existing poem and you use each word in that poem as a last word for each line in your own new poem. Sound confusing? Just wait, it’ll make sense in a minute.

This is the already-existing poem I used:

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–

It gives a lovely light!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

So look at each word in this poem above and then look at the last word in each line of my poem below. See it? It’s the whole of First Fig right there. Pretty cool, but was pretty tricky too.

Enjoy.

Oh, The Light!

by Ruqaiyah Davids

As I began this journey of my heart – and to my

Heart – I felt warmed with happiness as I became swarmed by the light of this candle.

It illuminates my path and my past; the want for more burns.

I stand looking down the way ahead, and looking back, and at

Once, I want to go both

Forward and back. The questioning never ends.

To go forward would be wise, to go back would be dangerous, yet it

Plagues me so, the wonder of what lies there. Will

It ever be enough? I wonder and I wonder, not

Living now but impossible to live then, too. It’s been long since I last

Knew where the road was headed; long since I journeyed on my own. But now the

Enlightened trail is darkened. The sure way is shrouded by night.

There lingers still a faint light. A glimmer. It is dark still but

There is light! Ah,

There is always light. Sometimes only a spark, sometimes only a flicker, but sometimes a fire. My

Path has not yet ended. I will travel on with friends and I will travel on with foes;

Both will help me to my ultimate end. There is purpose to it all. And

There is light. There is still light. Oh,

There is light! It is small, it is shy. It is not yet strong or bold enough to show itself proudly. My

Thoughts linger; they sit for a while and breathe in the smell of old friends.

They take time looking around. Much too familiar, and yet much too strange. It

Is still there – the path. Waiting for me. It gives

A fair chance. But too much longer and the light might dim. Too much longer and a

Wind might change the course. But for now it remains. And how lovely

It is know and to feel the light.

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It’s April!

And you know what that means, right?

Time for me to come out of hiatus! Why? Because it’s National Poetry Writing Month!

Yes, I know it’s pretty despicable that I’ve last updated pretty much a year ago (I don’t really suppose that my one lone post last October counts for much). But… uhm… Okay, I have no acceptable excuses. I’m all out. I’m just really terrible at time management. Like, really terrible. And way too easily distracted. Like, while typing this post right now, do you have any idea how many times I’ve navigated away from this window? To Google something that has just popped into my head that I’ve meant to Google for a while now; to talk to my mom; to reply to an e-mail; to drink some water… I’m terrible.

But anyhoo, here’s a poem that will hopefully make you forget all about that! Yay.

Write it out!
Write it out!

NaPoWriMo Day 1: The Kind of Lives We’re Living

by Ruqaiyah Davids

What kind of lives are we living?

Weren’t we meant for more?

Our innocence and youth has just gone through the door.

Nothing left for us to fight for anymore.

You had big dreams

Of simple things.

Not important any longer, it seems.

I had visions of happiness;

I saw days of what-seemed-like-bliss.

I never thought it would be like this.

We were meant for more,

We were meant to be better.

You were meant for greatness

And happiness.

We are meant to have goodness.

What kind of lives are we living?

Stuck in the past.

It was not meant to be like this.

It was not meant to be like this.

We’ve got to stop wishing.

And missing.

We’ve got to start living.

And giving

From the deepest parts of ourselves.

Stop grieving for a life lost,

One that was never meant for us.

The kind of life we should be living

Is still waiting.

To be honest, I’m not all too fond of this poem. I don’t hate it, I just feel that it needs (quite a bit of) tweaking. I suppose I’ll get back to that some time, but in the quest of writing a poem a day, I wanted to get this up for Day 1. Day 2 will be up shortly. Yes, yes, I know it’s the 2nd of April already! Hush!

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NaPoWriMo Day 29: “I Love it When You Talk Foreign”

Yes, I know it’s very late. Very, very late. And it’s not even April anymore. But well, it’s here anyway. Read it or leave it.

(I know you’ll read it.)

So NaPoWriMo originates in the U.S, and the ‘national’ part of the term refers to the nation of America. But even so, there are many, many poets and participants in the challenge who are not from America. Because it’s not only Americans who love poetry. And I am one of those ‘foreigners’ who gate-crashed the party. So the lovely people over at NaPoWriMo decided to honour us by asking everyone to write a poem which contains at least five words of a different language. I chose Arabic. It’s the closest I’ve come to speaking a foreign language–though, truly, it’s not foreign to me. It’s the language of my people, of my Book, of my land, and of my Lord.

I’ll be leaving for ‘umrah soon, in shaa Allah. The minor pilgrimage to the holy land of Makkah (note: ‘Makkah, not ‘Mecca’). A journey my heart can hardly wait for anymore. And this poem is about that.

Sabah an-Nur

It’s almost time to go
To a land my heart already knows.
Ahlan wa sahlan!
I will stand on the Mountain of Light
And see the rising of the sun.
Sabah al-khayr!
Wa sabah an-nur!
Joy upon joy!
Light upon light!
My heart will rejoice at the sight
Of the Ka’bah,
Standing tall and strong.
It’s been there all along.
And I will prostrate
With my head and my heart
And pray for a new start.

tumblr_ml8x6o77dJ1s35quwo7_500
A close-up picture of the Ka’bah taken from the ground, looking up.
macca-holy-the-kabah-station-of-abraham-golden-blond-matter-on-right-220724
The Ka’bah from afar, with hundreds–very possibly thousands–of people performing their religious rituals around it.
Jabal an-Nur, The Mountain of Light. The mountain where the Cave of Hira is found.
Jabal an-Nur, The Mountain of Light. The mountain where the Cave of Hira is found. Where Light was found in a time of darkness.

Translations:

Ahlan wa Sahlan: This is a common Arabic phrase used to welcome someone, however, its literal translation is not just ‘welcome’ or ‘hello’, as it is widely used. For a better understanding of the meaning of the term, go here. Or here, for a much more in-depth look at the term, its origin, and some very interesting and enlightening information on its implications.

Sabah al-khayr: Good morning.

Sabah an-nur: A reply to ‘sabah al-khayr‘, literally meaning ‘morning of light’.

Ka’bah: A sacred building in Islam; the direction to which all Muslims, all around the world, face while praying. For more reading on this, go here.

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NaPoWriMo Day 28: The Black Heart

The Black Heart

Her black heart beats
Quietly.
The sound is almost indiscernible,
Strangled by all her black words.
Black words muffled by black verbs.
What is left for her in this black world
For which she lives?

Grey spots of dishonesty and hypocrisy
Cement her black heart.

The black hurts.
The more it hurts
The more she spurts
Forth black words,
Littered with traces of red pain,
Oozing from her veins.
And it is hard for her to refrain;
She paints the walls
In her hurricane
Of mistakes,
Breaks
And the masked face.

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NaPoWriMo Day 23: Who We Would Be

This poem is called a triolet. What that means:

“A triolet is an eight-line poem. All the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.” [NaPoWriMo]

Well, I changed the rhyme scheme a little. Just a tad. You could say that I’ve re-invented the triolet. You can call it the Ruqaiyah Triolet. Okay, that name can be worked on a bit. So my triolet rhyme scheme goes like this: AAaAaaAA. Genius.

Who We Would Be

Still to become who we would be
Our paths would meet through destiny
Start the journey of you and me
Still to become who we would be
A rocky path we would soon see
You and me were not meant to be
Still to become who we would be
Our paths would meet through destiny

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NaPoWriMo Day 22: Earth Day

The Earth Poem

The One who created the earth
You are
The One who gave me birth
You are

You fashioned the trees
The bees
You sprout out beauty from seeds
You are
The One who paints the sky
Leaving notes of love for us, so high

A glorious ball of fire
Leaves me with an insatiable desire
To acquire
Knowledge of who
You are
The One who lights up the night sky
And lights up my life
I want to challenge the liars
Who say that this is all science
Do they ever stop to enquire
If there is something higher?
If this all happened with a bang, then why here?
On any other planet, I would not be a survivor

You tell stories of love
From the ground to above
It’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard of

You colour the oceans
Cause them to erupt with explosions
Your Beauty fills me with all sorts of emotions

You are
Splendour
And anyone who ponders
Will have no choice but to surrender

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NaPoWriMo Day 21: Fortune Cookie

Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! I’m so proud of myself! 😀 However, I do realise that I didn’t quite post ‘a poem a day’. Rather, I often posted 3, 4, or maybe 5 poems a day, while skipping 3, 4, or 5 days prior to that… oopsie. It’s all good though, because the challenge is to have 30 poems in 30 days, however you choose to go about getting there. So yeah, still good. Thumbs up for me. And thumbs up to you who are reading, especially to those who’ve read every poem I’ve posted so far.

Today’s prompt is to re-write Frank O’Hara’s poem Lines for the Fortune Cookies. This is one which, initially, I didn’t feel comfortable with since I don’t believe in fortune cookies, and added to that, I think they’re dumb. However, clever me, I decided that I could still write lines about random people’s fortunes while not going against my sanity by doing something so insane as to pretend to predict the future. All I had to do was be clever enough with my words. And well, I’m good with words.

Here’s number 21

Fortune Cookie

You will meet many different people in your life.
You may someday become a wife.
It will rain in winter. You may get wet.
Your life has changed since the invention of the internet.
No, you shouldn’t have that last slice of cake.
You will be lucky enough to find a man who doesn’t mind that you don’t bake. (Okay, that one’s exclusively for me. A not-so-silent prayer more than a fortune.)
Hunger will find you.
There are blessings in rising before the sun.
Yes, God is only One.
The mountains have a lesson to teach you.
Turns out you actually like chilli, who knew?
Everyone puts their shoes on one foot at a time.
Use your days well when you’re in your prime.
You’ll find the most peace when you put your head on the ground.
You were once lost and now you’re found.
Why are you looking for your fortune inside this cookie?
Put your trust in your Lord, fully.
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NaPoWriMo Day 17: Hello To You

Hello to You

Goodbye.
Hello.
Sometimes words seem shallow.
When I saw you,
You intrigued me so.
I was happy to spend all my time
Getting to know.
For days I followed your shadow.
But it took two to do this tango.

Goodbye.
Hello.
You shot me straight, like an arrow.
There were days that I felt hollow.
There would come a time
That my words would be swallowed.
When I saw you,
The world seemed to slow,
And my words seemed to know.

Goodbye
To all the times
That I tried to hide.
To all the times that I shied;
When the words tumbled to my lips
And then there just died.

Hello
To you.
You were always on my side.
Words were born.
The mask was torn.
You were my very own unicorn.

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