Duet of Grateful Longing

Duet of Grateful Longing / by Ihsan Jaffar & Halima bint Ayuba

a response to Ihsan Jaffar’s “My Beloved” interwoven into the original; Ihsan’s original lines are in italics

My Beloved,

You have saved me from myself
How to return the favour?

My gratitude wanders, homeless.
It sleeps on benches beneath stars.

What does a beggar offer
The King of the worlds?

Anything I could bring has already
been in your Hands — what stick
might this dog retrieve to place
at your feet, Beloved Master?

You brought me back from the dead
I was far beyond the edge

I am too small today to reach
the basin, splash water on my face
perform ablutions — I kneel,
that One might lift me.

Now I’m moved by your Power
I have wings to fly

Racing through life, breathlessly,
breathlessly, calling to You:
β€œLook Pa! No hands!”

You have forced open my eyes
I see what I am inside

Before I could see anything,
I had to dust and sweep.

A vessel of your Beauty
And a soul of Love

This cup–You crafted.
This wine–You poured.

Only you know who I am
The world doesn’t understand

None can know the vessel
as the One who shaped it,
placed it in the kiln.

I want nothing in this life
But to sit with You

Burnish me to a brightness,
place me in service
at Your table.

My Beloved,
You give me the strength to stand
You are the one who guides
You bring meaning to my life

What value the cup,
if the Beloved is not thirsty?

Please don’t ever
For a moment
leave my side.

What value the cup,
if the Beloved does not lift it up?

Ihsan Jaffar & Halima bint Ayuba, 04/29/14




21 thoughts on “Duet of Grateful Longing

    • Thank you for reading, and for the kind words…it was an impromptu “collaboration” — hopefully he will like it as well as you. πŸ™‚ I saw his post and could not resist adding a harmony line to the melody he placed, but I don’t know that he has seen it yet.


  1. I have just seen it. Absolutely beautiful πŸ™‚ Absolutely loved it. Every word in so perfectly. I have to admit my ignorance of poetry and ask what the difference is between a melody and harmony line?


    • I meant only as in music — when one person sings, he sings the melody. When another voice is added, the second may either join in singing the melody, or may sing different notes than the ones in the melody, notes that are (hopefully πŸ˜‰ ) in harmony with the first voice, so that the two voices together form chords. (If they are also terms used in poetry, Ihsan, I too am ignorant of it. πŸ™‚ )


      • Thank you Halima. This is what happens when I don’t ‘learn’ anything about poetry! For what its worth, I think the different notes were in complete harmony on paper and with the thoughts in my heart πŸ™‚


      • I’m delighted, Ihsan! I started to just write a response as I have in the past, but the individual phrases wanted to be interspersed with the original. I finally just let go and let it happen…and am glad I did. Salaam!


  2. This is truly awesome….the way you play back and forth to Ihsan’s rhythm. Amazing! Thanks for visiting my blog and following. I am now following you as well and gladly! You have some fantastic work here….nice blog!


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