Ramadan Notes, Late Evening, Day 28

Kazim Ali
September 18, 2009
Comments 2

Another day in bed. Granted, I was working the whole time. I had a pile of books, a manuscript, my laptop.

I finished an essay I’m writing on the work of Agha Shahid Ali, I wrote emails to contributors of a collection of essays on the work of Jean Valentine that I am editing. I worked a little bit polishing on a hybrid-genre prose manuscript I have been working on sporadically for about six years now.

The more I stayed in bed, the more I couldn’t bear to get out. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining.

At a certain point I had to go and get groceries for our fast-breaking meal. There were nineteen people here tonight. There is some odd satisfaction in cleaning the kitchen fully after a big meal like that. I say that as someone who is not a “cleaner.”

Still, I’ve picked up a lot of habits this month that I haven’t normally had, most all of them good ones.

So why is it that I have so dramatically and quickly run out of steam in the last few days of the month.

Is it actually a secret boon, as I was explaining to some folks tonight?

There is no ascetic tradition in Islam, no monastic tradition, no celibate orders. One practices always as a lay person. You practice the pilgrimage and then you go home. You fast for a month and then the month is over.

The bare crescent of the moon will appear in the sky soon. The month will be over. Then I will return to my ordinary life and if I am lucky I will take some of the lessons of this month with me.

It’s also the first day of the Jewish new year. What a lovely hinge, reminding of very recently when Ramadan started on Yom Kippur. We’re being told in the most poetic (and ephemeral) way to sort ourselves out.

We have a chance today, as we did on September 12, 2001, to choose to see one another with empathy and love, to choose not anger but understanding.

My body is a boat on the ocean of endlessness. In the Quran the storm lasted forty days and forty nights.

And then the bird came with tidings in its mouth.

Well, I think we are each others’ bird now. If peace seems a long way off it is only because it is actually right in front of us but we haven’t yet opened our mouth to take the leaf in our teeth.

2 thoughts on “Ramadan Notes, Late Evening, Day 28

  1. Lovely Kazim Bhai!

    Emapathy for a fellow human being, without taking his caste, creed, religion or race in to consideration, can easily make our beloved planet called earth a beautiful place to live on. Amen!


  2. I think we are each others’ bird now.

    That’s lovely.

    I’m doing my phd on Shahid Ali’s poetry, and would love to compare notes, if you’re interested.

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