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Poetry Teacher

30th Sep 2016


‘…And whoever saves a life, it is as if he has saved all of mankind…’ (Qur’an: 5:32)

I was a lonely, listless soul
A fish out of water, a kite in a storm
Flailing and floundering, my cries
Whistled in the wind and died

Leaving only the silence of a barren home,
Bequeathed by working parents never home
No brothers, no sisters, no-one to care,
To listen, understand… just be there!

And so I ran, I ran far from the pain within
Immersing myself in novels, music, utopian, love-filled imaginings
Yet I soon found, stories end, illusions fade,
An aimless life cannot be daydreamed away

What I knew, I refused to face,
I cared not to heal, only escape
So I turned to alcohol, cannabis, speed
Anything to induce a numbing, dulling peace

I was drunk, I was stoned, yet my cup would not fill
Shame and despair scoured me still
I was falling into a blackness so deep
All hope in love’s light ceased

I would have disappeared into that vector
Giving myself up to darkness forever
I had no purpose, no reason to live
I did not matter, I did not exist

Yet, just when I’d lost all will to cope
There filtered through, a faint ray of love, a bearer of hope
She penetrated the darkness, dispersed it ever so slightly
I could not believe it – did someone really care about my misery??

The dam that contained my frustration suddenly gave way,
Releasing a torrent of tears, bitterness, pain
My barriers down, I shouted, sobbed and ranted without fear
Having found, perhaps for the first time, a true friend, an empathetic ear

Of all the people I had met, she alone cared to listen
Without judgement, anger, derision
When she looked at me, she saw beyond my black and heavy sins,
To their roots of suffering within

This sixty year old granny, a stranger until that day
Saw I was a mess, but did not wrinkle her nose and turn away,
Nor did she offer platitudes, warnings, unsolicited advice
Her open mind and heart healed me more than any words might
I did not find life’s purpose and my soul’s strength, overnight
I struggled for a very long time
But ultimately, it was the love of my teacher that saw me through
Before its light, the shadows of cynicism, bitterness and despair, withdrew

Enabling me to see beauty and love where once I could see not
Opening my heart to divine purpose when once it was lost
Once I could see and feel compassion, it was only a matter of time
Before I saw its source in compassion divine

Many teachers I have had, who have taught me many things
But there was only one who taught me how to truly live
She loved God and exuded this love with all her being
It was through her, that I discovered the sweetness of Love
And for Love, living.

Fatema Valji

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