I Lie in Wait, Love

The desert sands burn
Grains burrow in every wrinkle in my skin
Hot dust fills my lungs
I should scream, I think
I am on fire

My lips open wide
Like the mouth of a cave
Is that where you have been hiding?
My lips open wide
But all that falls out is your name
Gently, softly, reverently

My prince, they speak of your gardens
Of sweet fruits and cool shade
I imagine that the tears
That trail down my cheeks
Are stray droplets from your gushing fountains
Where we will someday spend our days

Others eagerly seek my hand
They promise glittering jewels and towers of gold
But every beat of my heart calls for you
Save me, O Beloved
Find me in this wasteland
Carry me away in your arms

1 Comment »

  1. nidanaushad

    March 23, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

    1

    This poem utilizes the common device found in South Asian poetry, in which the Prophet is depicted as a bridegroom. Here, the narrator is a young woman pining for the man to whom she is betrothed. The narrator represents the devout Muslim, who feels a deep love for the Prophet and desires to be in his presence. Separation from her beloved distresses the narrator, just as separation from the Prophet and his message pains a Muslim.

    I wanted to create a contrast between the hot, desert landscape where the narrator currently finds herself, and the lush gardens of her betrothed. In the first stanza, the narrator feels as if she is in hell; the sands burn her skin and her lungs, and she believes she is on fire. The distance between her and her love physically tortures her. This is meant to represent what happens if someone ignores the Prophet’s message. In the third stanza, the narrator describes the sweet fruits, cool shade, and gushing fountains found in her betrothed’s gardens. This is a reference to the gardens of Paradise, which serves as a reward for devout Muslims. This imagery was especially compelling for the Muslims of desert communities, where verdure was a rarity.

    The mention of a cave in the second stanza is an allusion to the cave in which Muhammad received his first revelation. In this stanza, the narrator opens her mouth wide, as if to scream, but only the name of her love softly escapes her mouth. Oftentimes, Muslims pray to the Prophet for his intercession. Thus, the Prophet plays a special role in the devotional life of many Muslims.

    In the final stanza, the narrator talks about other men that are courting her. This symbolizes how a Muslim often encounters other messages that may sway them from the straight path. This may be other religions or promises of worldly pleasures and wealth. Nonetheless, for the devout Muslim, these distractions are not persuasive because of their love for God and the Prophet. The narrator beseeches her love to save her from the wasteland where she finds herself. This is a direct reference to the Prophet’s powers of intercession, which he may use to grant salvation to Muslims.

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