The Reverend Jesse Jackson visited our high school senior class back in 1994 and although I cannot remember everything that he said, I remember the hope for the future that he imparted to us. We were eager for freedom but a little nervous about starting out on our own; we were bright-eyed and new to the goings-on in the world but hopeful about our prospects.
That was more than 20 years ago and today, when reflecting upon the day’s news headlines and the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, I’m reminded of one of the Reverend’s famous sayings, “Keep hope alive!”
It’s easy to get discouraged or angry or fearful when reading about the tragedies and injustices occurring in the world, but we can’t neglect to hope and pray for that which is better.
I share this little anecdote and this poem with you today in the spirit of keeping hope alive – yes we are challenged by this life, but we must remember that God, Allah, is good all the time. We must have faith that there will be better days.
When the land is barren
We plant trees for the harvesting of souls
To replenish that which has been decimated
To heal that which has been corrupted
Because injustice poisons the earth
So much blood has been spilled-
How long, we cry!
The conflict of Cain and Abel remains
Pricks at the conscience of humanity
Still we wait
For the promise of Allah is true
And although we’ve wandered through the dry places for so, so long, there is relief
And the fountains of knowledge are a deliverance
The tender leaves of an olive tree contain so much potential: oil, fruit, life, peace
The gentle touch of a medicine man
Can heal a wounded spirit
What can we do, you ask?
Sow seeds of mercy
Sow that which will sustain life
To reap a harvest deserving of the pleasure of Our Lord
If Allah so permits
The pill may sometimes be bitter and difficult to swallow
But if the life of your child
Of your child’s child – your grandchild
The lives of your family depends upon your willingness to sacrifice – would you not?
Sweetness comes from grace
And sometimes perseverance
Because scar tissue is a thicker, tougher, layer
I allow my heartache to move me forward
And I pray for better days
For a better Time
A New Earth
A New Heaven
When justice rules the land
When children laugh with joy, unhindered by this world’s strife
When mothers can hold their children’s hands without fear
When fathers can rest securely, knowing that their families are safe
When wife and husband can enjoy the pleasure of an embrace in peace
When a garden blooms in fertile land overcrowded by trees
And Life is full
Copyright © 2015 by Mindworks Publishing, Luminous: Collected Poetry