for Habib Ali and Habib Umar

The lakes are quiet and the clouds are low
at the departure of all the giants from the world

Grasses bend in sadness and stones lament
in their lugubrious way because the

great ones have left us and now a silver night descends
and the seas are turbid and cold

Their broad smiles lit places where
even sunlight with all its atomic subtlety struggled to enter

Their buoyant hearts in every weather
reminded us of such a simple thing as our

pure humanity aloft in this earthly littleness and savagery

They walked among redwoods followed by equally giant sheep
they whistled melodious songs and birds fell from the

branches in a swoon

They brandished torches that lit up our frail battlements
and sad battlefields with a ruddy glow if ready for an

early burning

Who remembers them except mountains in their
inaccessible crags and depthless gorges?

The clang of stones dislodged and hurtling into pits of

Time itself measures their passing and space itself
feels the ache of such sudden shrinkage

Nights are longer than usual and
the small fires at the heart of them nearly


Then one or two of God’s saints appears and the
ancient brotherhood and sisterhood of the giants is revived

Highest mountain peaks capped in their otherworldly ice
recognize them as one of their own

Oceans sing from their netherworldly crevasses at their

Small of stature but filled with Muhammadan Light
their giant eyes and lengthy strides span

continents in one glance and oceans in one step forward

illuminating the arctic and undersides of the Northern Lights
as they shimmer their neon fuchsia curtains

with enough radiance for even the blind to
see by and get safely through to the end of night


5/2/2006 (From Coattails of the Saint)