My personal reflections on this blog take inspiration from the Bahá’í teachings.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

The month of ‘Alá’

In the Baha'i calendar, the month of ‘Alá’ ("Loftiness"), is the month of fasting. It runs from 2-20 March each year, so Baha'is around the world are currently fasting each day from sunrise to sunset. Here is a poem about this special time of year.


This first day of the fasting month, I rise
as lines and shapes in black and shades of grey
develop form, appear as houses, trees,
until -- a brighter burst of light breaks out --
the rising sun declares the day's begun!

The month of Loftiness has come
when through the day the tongue goes dry,
the stomach groans, and while the clock
ticks by, the brain goes slightly dull.

Cicadas drone their usual tune
and yet the atmosphere vibrates
with some uncommon rippling pulse --
some rare sweet song invigorates
the normal air -- a mystic strain
interpolates between the beats
of torpid time -- and laggard hours
are livened by its melody.

So gradually the mind resorts
to loftier thoughts -- desire abates
and indescribably a change
unfolds within the inmost soul.

For nineteen days we mark the route
across the sky, the sun must go --
moved thus to contemplate the laws
creation's Lord laid down long ere
the sun and planets came to be.
Deferring, then, till sun has set
our bodies' wants -- we train our hearts
to crave instead the course Divine.

And frequently, the fasting time
yields new perceptions casually.
It throws up chance encounters too
with fellow-travellers seeking light.

The Blessed Beauty said these days
are each endowed with special grace.

The rising sun declares the day's begun.
It climbs to reach the blazing heights of noon,
descends and soon departs, and day is done --
then may our Lord's good-pleasure light our dreams.


Marco said...

Baha'i greetings from Portugal.

John Bryden said...

Thank you, Marco. Baha'i greetings from New Zealand!