From the bush of our burning grief comes the voice of your singing,
But from the ash of our hearts never a phoenix is springing.

We have waited for you through many nights, our souls keeping fast—
We wonder how much of what we have heard are tales of the past.

You brought Joseph and David with you on your compassionate descent—
But Joseph’s Egypt was not all famine and David’s song all lament.

From our point of view the Children of Moses had it dead easy—
Manna for breakfast each day and a book of laws that read easy.

For Krishna’s disciples life was all army games and flute-playing;
The Rose was not, by indifference, the Nightingale’s song gainsaying.

And the Buddha’s men—robes of honor and the schoolmen’s debate
And the leisurely begging-bowl that never had to wait.

But, after all, what did Jesus tell or show his disciples? Our Master
Has opened before our wondering eyes vistas infinitely vaster.


A complaint but a rather outrageous and humorous tongue-in-cheek one.

God spoke to Moses from the burning bush but we have silence. The phoenix springs reborn from the ashes of its funeral pyre but our ashes do nothing. It seems that miracles occurred only in olden tales. The Israelites in the desert were given manna but our souls have to keep a fast.

In the divine signs to Israel you tested Joseph and David but they didn’t cop it all bad (‘not’ is understood after ‘David’s song’). Although the rose did not reply to the nightingale’s song, her silence was not a denial.

Yet Francis wouldn’t swap his for other masters. Baba has given him such perspectives of knowledge that make the waiting torment worthwhile. And after all a touch of humour makes things bearable.

» ghazal #57 »