Sacred Verses (22): Walking With Date Palms

Walking With Date Palms

Remove the veil from my eyes O sky
so that I, like you in your finest hour,
may peer out openly at the ascending stars;
whose charted courses still appear mysterious to my virgin eyes,
stripped now of their illusions and in wonder like a child.
I need no veil to disguise my intentions,
no cloud or mantle to hide away my heart from sunset;
he comes to greet me with fiery gold upon his shoulders,
the west wind at his back;
the desert in its jealous rages is quelled by his upright footsteps.

He greets me with the song of sparrows weaving through his clouds;
those ruddy clouds dancing above the sovereign cliffs and mountains,
bestowing their sand to the winds as a chafing gift;
but still I need no veil to hide my naked shoulders.
I would rather wear the cape of the indomitable sky,
whose only industry is to make love to the sun;
to cradle the clouds that come to rise upon the celestial waters;
to give the eastern horizon a mirror to sit upon its golden throne;
to give starry Mother a child to swallow when he descends the western horizon;
to give the constellations a veil of lapis lazuli for their glittering limbs.
It is they, not I, who don the twilight veil to become the house of Mysteries.

I have walked alone these many and opaque ages;
many lifetimes with the pall of ignorance as my inheritance,
with eyes that are open yet carry no sight.
How much cooler to embrace the desert’s mirage
than brave the sands for what they are.
Should I take up that veil again to soften the sun’s glare;
his eager stare blazing over my tender skin like the heat of a lover?
I would rather kiss his fingers where they fall,
offer him the cool luxury of my bed;
these before I would shield his existence from my exposed purpose.

Having run away from the sun when I was only a child,
I turn now and face his scathing embrace;
and what I find in the florid sky is a mirror reflecting
the tread of my careless feet through this world.
Burning through the skins of others, I have become the desert sun.
All along it was never I who needed the veil’s protection,
but the eyes of others whose hearts were burned by my stare.

Now I am walking with date palms,
whose fruit like gemstones falls in my waiting lap.
Justice is loyal to herself; she follows the hands that work for the tree
wherever they have traveled.
Tears are the bounty she brings for the eyes that have caused them;
fear is the edge of her sword drawn to the shield held against her;
thirst is the glance of her ample bosom held out for the mouth
that opposed her;
but she requites with favor the heart that knows her noble labors;
she bestows in kind what the heart has to give her.

Shall I hold out two doves in my waiting hands,
offering to you the peace that wind brought me from the tender north?
Have you heard their cooing voices,
so like the persuasions of my heart when it joins you?
You who have become a journeyer with me,
whose eyes have looked east to face the blazing sun;
you whose feet have tread the thorny and fallen boughs;
you whose lips have ached to kiss my half moon lips;
you whose hands have held the wandering stars to guide me;
you whose arms have never faltered to keep my sky suspended;
you whose names have moved my lips when my knees drew the earth;
you whose words twittered in my ears with the language of sparrows;
you whose wings found wind and sky beckoning above my brow;
you in whose keeping the hallowed Mysteries have remained inviolate.
You have moved your feet on the blare of the desert wind beside me,
and I lift up my two hands to offer you the refuge of my heart.

I lift up my open palm of water to the thirsty sky,
and through its miracle I feed the world.
There is no desert left in me for you to brave with starving feet;
there are no stones for you to cross in your path;
there are no mountains to tear the veil of your peaceful sky;
there is no flame hidden from your cold hands when the sun is devoured;
there is no torrent to blot out the starry courses that go before you;
there is no endless journey in the sky for the swallow’s wings of your soul;
there are no labors in the sun without the moon to reward them;
there is no heaven without the illumination of stars to light it.
These all may be found for you in the open palm of my hand,
which carries the miracle of water to quench the thirsty sky.

Shelter me as does the earth to mountains;
not in my time of weakness, but when my heart climbs high with fortitude.
I am a date palm in the wind of your adept fingers;
my fruit falls into your waiting hands
as do stars through the dusky veil.
The veil cannot hold them, those stars of brilliant ages,
whose lamps form a trail of gold across a lapis dome;
and no veil can contain the far-striding feet of my heart,
light upon the pathways of the earth when nearing you.

If that canopy above us remains parched by the desert gale,
then we will lift up our open palms of water to the thirsty sky;
and through our miracle we will feed the world.
Now we are walking with date palms,
stripped of our illusions and in wonder like a child.
This is our finest hour, beholding the ascending stars
with fresh and virgin eyes as they ascend with millions of ages.
They come down through the paths of the desert sky
as they have always done;
and we come back through the paths of the desert earth
as we have always done.
We need no veil to disguise our intentions,
our stars glistening in their ancient courses.
We need no mantle to clothe our eyes,
walking with date palms through the desert crossroads.
We need only open our palms of water to the thirsty sky,
and through our miracle we will feed the world.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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