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Usha Akella
Usha Akella

The hidden hand gently opens, reveals
the secret script so concealed from us,
And as the hope-less night moves to morning,
The heart's compass from distrust to trust.
From God's fathomless splendid heart, one ray!
One ray irradiates a dark room,
One divine glance melts sorrow to a stream,
Raises mountains, a hardened heart blooms.
And when divine intimations should come,
Through the heavy machinery of time,
And when the heavy hours of curtains will part
to show his stillness behind all climes.
Who knows? Still my drooping heart begins, begins
to beat its wings again, beats again, again!
Like a raga's sweet call to a mrudangam,
Like a dry drought earth waiting for rain.
Like pristine orchids so each of our hearts,
is porous to its certain air. Perfect,
the Masters match with a disciple's heart,
This, I pare, is God's secret sacred sect.
Do not recognize
Do not find me, I plead
Do not come
Do not call, I beg.
Do not be the perfume in all things,
the thumbprint,
the signature,
Do not brand me as yours,
Don’t stand at the door of my eyes
and look out into the world,
Do not be the birth of my breath,
Do not be the screen of my mind,
The ink in my pen,
Do not be kind.
Do not be the outpost of my heart,
Do not enter,
Do not occupy this house,
Don’t hold my hand,
Don’t hold me close,
Don’t be the present
Or the past
Don’t become my future.
Do not be the pores in this skin
Do not be this solitude
Do not be the space between my words,
Do not be the essence of all teachings
Do not go into the world
Do not come back to me
Do not search across time
Don’t wipe my tears
or hold my anguish quivering like a deer in a fence.
Do not be the gold in my soul
Do not be the hours of the day
Do not be the beats in my heart
Do not be the seasons that turn
Do not be the dust on my soles.
Do not smile
Do not be gentle
Do not be the night sky under which I lie
Don’t be the promise of the stars
Or the games of the moon
Don’t come too late, don’t come too soon.
Do not be the rising sun
and its garments of heat,
Do not be the setting sun
and its garments of sleep,
Do not be the incandescence of my dreams.
Do not be the simplicity of the child,
Do not be the laughter in the breeze,
And the fire that burns in me,
Do not be the embrace against the tides of life,
Do not be the sun giving me light,
Do not give names
as bridges to find you,
Do not leave your footprints as clues,
Do not brand the universe with your signs,
Do not call me ‘mine.’
Do not bless me
and remove your hand from my head,
Do not leave my heart vulnerable as
a new born calf,
Do not leave me living
Do not leave me dead.
Do not be the branches
hurtling to the sky,
Do not be the trunk planted in the earth,
Do not be the surrender of the flowers,
Don’t be the worm turning the soil,
Or the butterfly challenging the air,
Do not be the blessing of falling leaves
Or the oil in which I burn
Do not be the grass trampled under my feet,
Do not, do not be the seed in my heart
And the river in my veins,
Do not be my pleasure or my pain,
The things I lose, the things I gain.
Do not be the road I travel
Or the incense of the days
Do not be the patience between meetings
Do not be the things this poem doesn’t say
Do not be my waiting
Do not be my obedience
Do not teach me surrender
Do not be the humility that rejects this poem
Do not be the silence shielding us from the world
Do not teach me restraint
Do not be gentle my Master
Do not melt me in hidden fires
Do not pull the wires like a puppeteer.
I am breaking breaking breaking.
Will give you
these poems
Will ask
Who gives?
Who receives?
Who writes?
Who reads?
So I won’t give
you these poems,
I’ll wait like a page
waiting for a poem.
Foot Notes:
The poem is written in a Welsh form, the Toddaid. Stanzas are quatrains 10S/ 9S/10S / 9S.
Syllable toward end of first line cross-rhymes in the middle of second line. Syllable toward end of third line cross rhymes in fourth line. Line 2 & line 4 have end rhymes.


Issue 73 (May-Jun 2017)

feature Sufism & Sufi Literature
  • Editorial
    • Mohsin Bin Mushtaq Shah: Editorial Comment
  • Articles
    • Mohsin Bin Mushtaq Shah: Mir Syed Ali Hamadani
    • Omer Tarin: Sufi Poetry of Hazrat Syed Meher Ali Shah
    • Romy Tuli: Baba Bulleh Shah and Walt Whitman
    • Sat Paul Goyal: Jelaluddin Rumi
    • SL Peeran: Sufism – Islamic Spirituality
    • SL Peeran: Who are the Sufis? Who are the Faqeers?
    • Sudeshna Kar Barua: Jalal ud-Din Muhammad Rumi
    • Syed Habib: Spirituality – The Crown of Kashmir
    • Syed I Husain: Nothing is Sacred Anymore
    • Usha Akella: Harmony is the Flour, Love is the yeast
  • Poetry
    • Aiman Peer
    • Anum Ammad
    • Divya Garg
    • Fareeha Manzoor
    • Kainat Azhar
    • Myra Edwin
    • Omer Tarin
    • Rajorshi Das
    • Umar N
    • Usha Akella
  • Interview
    • U Atreya Sarma: In Conversation with Mukunda Rama Rao
  • Book Review
    • Mohsin Bin Mushtaq Shah: Song of the Dervish