Winter Scene, a Poem by Daniel ‘Abdal-Hayy Moore

WINTER NIGHT IMAGE

Cold winter night blue snow crust on the ground
colors bleached out to only a few from the usual spectrum

even multicolored things in black and white now
palladiums of xylophone ice cabinets in a near dimension suspended

just above ground level played on by angels using
devilish mallets to make long low echoing plongs of sound

reverberate among skeletal trees housing the few birds
left in their snow coats trying to snooze heads deeply

buried in wing-pits like tight
feather balls for a sport frozen in space the pitch

suddenly stopped in midair until spring thaw
when all will float freely in space again against

flittering green backdrops and uncoiling scarlet splashes and
a soft golden ubiquitous light even in the middle of the night

it seems with earth’s blood flow pulsing so
youthfully again through the vision screen

and everything again like a golden
ocean in motion with all its leaping arcs and arches

not like the
present suspended animation of the silvery ice-world held in the

center of planetary star-space like a single round teardrop frozen on its
sad descent to nowhere from no particular

origination to no clear destination but dear God’s good
pleasure through all His various weathers rapidly

shifting from hot to cold and
back again in our

hearts
______________________________________________________
1/7/2001 (from Blood Songs, The Ecstatic Exchange, 2012)

Abdal Hayy bio pic

This poem was posted on AH Moore’s blog on Jan 7 2014, during the rather poetically named Polar Vortex that has plunged temperatures on the East Coast down to unimaginable lows – and this poem was written on the same day 13 years ago. As AH Moore added, ‘prayers for the indigent and the needy’ during these freezing times! AH Moore will be giving our first talk and performance on the subject of Sufi poetry at the April Zende Creative Retreat, as well as being our general all-round Zende zeitgeist and talisman.

 

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Nastaliq calligraphy by Asghar Alkaei Behjat

Gholam edited

Nastaliq is a style that is used all over Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was developed in the 8th and 9th centuries in Iran; according to legend a master calligrapher dreamt of flying geese, and when he woke decided to develop a style that imitated that flying, fluid vision.

The name nastaliq is a fusion of naskh (the small, neat, regular style used by copyists for writing out whole books or other long texts) and ta’liq, the ‘hanging’ style that is still used for more decorative purposes alongside other scripts.

This piece is a verse by Hafez, the great Persian mystic poet, beloved by Iranians above any other poet. It reads: ‘I am the slave of the slave of the one who has no attachments in this violet wheel’. The ‘violet wheel’ refers to the Milky Way, that purple swirl in space we call home!

Asghar will be leading the nastaliq calligraphy workshops on the April retreat.

Around Me Grew A Secret

Image

On a bus stop bench today
opposite Crystal Palace park
a sphere of silver appeared
and passing buses warped
the metal melted, ads peeled off
bystanders blasted, eyebrows singed
the trees flashed sauna-hot
a curve of grey and drizzle lifted
I hid my laughter that
nobody seemed to notice and
the orb of clutter-thoughts
that dangle round my head
like strips of ripped skirt tied to branches
vanished. Oh! How they’d obscured the view!
Now it is clear those shabby tokens,
gifts given in hope of something else,
could never reach the Giver.
He does not do cupboard love, a
worship born of wanting –
‘Take this time of mine but
give me what I wish for,
with all due respect. No, not that one –
I said I wanted it in red!’
But on the bus stop bench
around me grew a secret:
This is always here
while we in earth robes walk
as though we’re mountains.
This is always here.
Once you’ve been shown it
you cannot unknow it.
This is always here.

Medina Tenour Whiteman, Jan 2013

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Creativity: The Breath of Life

For most of us, living in the industrialised, automated, pre-programmed world might be productive, but it is also a drain on our vital energy. We get exhausted, sick, depressed, anxious, listless.

We perpetually look elsewhere for that magic ingredient that will return us to the natural joy we remember from childhood – films, music, art, shopping, other people’s output.

By contrast, the meditative practice of calligraphy brings our focus back to the beauty and harmony around us, while diving into our poetic depths reminds us of the beauty and harmony within.

Our worried, chattering minds are stilled. Without hardly noticing it, we achieve a state of tranquility and centredness that so much of our ordinary lives combats with caffeine, to-do lists, and social whirl.

Zende Creative Retreats are a specially formulated treatment for the condition of the modern human, administered in deliciously palatable, intensive dose over the course of four days.

We will be drawing on the deeply transformative Islamic arts of calligraphy and ecstatic poetry and combining them with intellectual enrichment, performance, yoga and a spectacular natural environment to give you the ideal opportunity to find your inner calm again.

We are currently devising a schedule for our first retreat, which will take place from the 24th to the 28th of April, to be held at the Hotel Taray, set amid luscious botanical gardens, in the Alpujarran mountains.

The Alpujarras - land of plenty

The Alpujarras – land of plenty

So far the programme will include calligraphy workshops daily with Asghar Alkaei Behjat (Nastaliq style) and Abd al-Lateef Whiteman (Andalusi style), ecstatic poetry workshops with Nimah Nawwab and Medina Tenour Whiteman, talks and performances from Abd al-Hayy Moore, Nimah, Medina and others, a seminar on Andalusi thinkers and writers by historian Tahira Larmore, a qasida (Andalusi traditional poem) singing workshop, yoga at dawn and lots of opportunities to take long walks in the Alpujarran mountains, discovering rivers, waterfalls and ancient Moorish sites with Ahmed Zaruq Summers of Granada-based tour company Al-Andalus Experience.

Click ‘follow’ to receive updates as we finalise the program and complete the web shop to book your place on the retreat!