Asha’r li Habeebati (a rubaiyat)

Asha’r li Habeebati (a rubaiyat)

Quatrains for my Beloved
{Inscribed for Aisha Gumi}

Turn, Habeebati, and hear once again
The strings of the gwogie singing
Of what only your heart could feel
And what only my eyes could see

Turn, Habeebati, and let me catch your eye
With this tale of Arabia’s eternal sands
It is the metaphor of a barren poet
Who, like the desert, longs for the rain

Turn, Habeebati, and listen to my verse
Lest you vex the angel of history-to-be

I love because it is all I can do
I love because it is in my heart
I love because you are my beloved
I love because I have no choice

I confess my guilt of having transversed
The earth in search of knowledge
Now my feet are weary and I am wise
And confess I shall live for love

I have seen you truly and I remember
Your eyes, dark as sloes, your eyelashes
And your laughter of a hundred rainbowlets
I confess I have not forgotten

There is a rhythm about my memory
It throbs like a thing still alive
I can hear its beat, yet you say
You can stop your own heartbeat

Can you stop your heart’s beat
If your heart beats for love?
Can I stop my own heart’s beat
As my heart beats for your love?

Might I not say never to write
Another line?; might I not think
Never to open my eyes, never to think
And yet dare believe I am alive?

I confess I have seen the rainbow
And I have danced unshod in the rain
I have looked at night and seen the stars
Resonating the music of spheres

I know you hear these things, you are guilty
As I; of being the rain and I the desert

Close your delicate fingers around this pearl
That I put in your hands, clasp it tight
“We can keep for as long as we hold on”
It’s for us to make pearls of our dreams

Tomorrow unfurls like a fraud
You are afraid and hasten to safety
Can you not see there is no tomorrow
And our lives consist of here and now?

Tomorrow is a dark and rainless cloud
But today is the soil on which we plant
Our dreams, sprouting tendrils of corn
Let us tend the corn and not the harvest

The devil whispers to you, he tells you
That I serve a Arab while you serve an Jew
But Christ and the Prophet, both said love
And cannot be excuses not to love

Listen, Habeebati, to the cry of angels
Each time we choose to be sad forever
Because we fear to trust in love
And color it with shades of self-deceit

Forgive my many words, falling as cascades
Understand I am a dam, you are my breach
And now the torrent of truth comes crashing through
I shall not apologize for my truth

I have never told you a lie, never will
And even if Society frowns upon me
And throws arrows of “custom” and “faith”
I will not lie about our love, never will

The rainbow follows the rain, my love
I am the sun, you are rain; we, a rainbow

Who am I to desire to hold you
What impudence initiates my song
Who is the farmer’s son to aspire
To hold the waist of gold?

I am a poet, Habeebati, a singer of songs
I am a painter of lives, giver of dreams
I am everything that ever can be
If only you’d believe

A poem is beauty frozen in time
A poem is a perfect moment forever
A poem is synchronized heartbeats
Hurting and bleeding and sighing and loving

Dreams used to be the mask I wore
Yet I have unmasked myself for you
Thus you see my heart and how blooms
Our tomorrow from the choice you make now

I have no gold, I have no diamonds
All I have is poems of my penning
All I have is the heart to feel
A poem in your eyes and your every smile

I have not beauty, like your princes
All I have is this gwogie in my hands
And lungs that can sing of you persistently
Forever if you say the word

But there will be gold for us when needed
And together we shall be beauty forever
For I will strive for gold to beautify
The beauty and gold I see in you

I fear you might choose “what-the-hell”
And let yourself be swept in the maelstrom
Of fate unchosen because you chose not
But will you answer the tears of “what if”?

I am but a farmhand, son of the fields
And the sun has darkened my skin so much
I fear I scare you, delicate flower
For you are fair as petals of a lotus

If for these humble birth I won’t do
If you choose another because you won’t me
I shall break my gwogie and never again sing
And die from a heart that breaks

They say I am indecorous, have said too much
But rather that I have said than I silent die

I love because it is all I can do
I love because it is in my heart
I love because you are my beloved
I love because I have no choice

You speak of friendship, o Habibati
But can you say how one can be friends
With another whom one must only love?
Wouldn’t that be the sin-without-pardon?

I could cry a hundred thousand tears
I could starve and grow lean and die
I could do all these, if you wish, silently
But do not pretend not to know why

I could cry a hundred thousand tears
I could starve and grow lean and die
But I shall not chase you forever
What if I run mad before you say “yes”?

I’ve giving you the power to send me to hell
But look at my face before I go
Don’t say a word, look, don’t even think
“Am casting him out because of his love”

I give you the gift of this verse, it is mine
And now it is yours and all I have

Turn, Habibati, and hear once again
The strings of this gwogie singing
Of what only your heart can feel
And what only my eyes can see

Turn, Habeebati, and let me catch your eye
With this tale of Arabia’s eternal sands
It is the metaphor of me, a barren poet
Who is the desert, longing for your rain

Turn, Habibati, and listen to this song
That I have sung from my heart to yours.

8 thoughts on “Asha’r li Habeebati (a rubaiyat)” by Richard-Ali (@Richard-Ali)

  1. A very sweet and touching love poem. ”I have not beauty, like your princes/ All i have is this gwogie in my hands…”, so unabashed. Me likey.

    @writer: you used two different spellings for the poet’s object of love (‘Habeebati’ and ‘Habibati’), was that delibrate?

  2. @Richard…I’m sorry,but where have you been? This is the kind of poetry I’ve been wanting to read on naijastories….THIS is poetry!!!
    Goddammit! You is goooooodddddd!!!!

    I’m in love with the near perfection of this poem..rhyme,rhythm,imagery…everything is making my sign in satisfaction…I hereby crown thee undisputed king of poetry…finito!

  3. very nice poem this is bro, 2nd to the last stanza is my best…well done…
    i noticed the point made by @kay9 too
    the sub-title says QUATRAINs [a poem or stanza of four line?] but i think i see some 2line stanzas so these are not just quatrains

    @estrella, but there seems to be no single rhyme in the whole poem o!

  4. Wonderful lines…i am so so in love with this.

  5. I will ditto @Estrella…

  6. This is a very wonderful piece. Felt like a story and a poem and a song at the same time. Can really see why @estrella is kinda going lady gaga. Reminded me of Don Williams’ Country Boy somehow. Hold the muse that inspired this very tight for she is the best. Really enjoyed reading this. Saw something like ‘giving’ instead of ‘given’. English is my third language so might not be right but check it out. Then ‘am’ instead of ‘I’m’.

  7. Carefully chosen words, it’s an extremely expressive work of art. I relished reading it.

    Nice one.

Leave a Reply