Diana Woodcock


Here, let me pour light into this cup
and raise it to your parched heart,
as Hafiz did for me. Then come, let's go
together to Salsabeel, that spring in Paradise--
leave behind the noise, even jazz-metal fusion.
We'll keep a night-watch for fluxion
and phantoms of past and future--
strive to forget selves, remember God.

Come, let's sit here facing the suhaili wind,
sleep under the white sheet light of the moon,
take Dogen's advice: cling neither to gold
and jewels nor tile and pebble.

Let's expand with hope till we leave off
the two worlds in one rapture to cast [ourselves]
on a hundred new worlds.*
Let's stretch
toward heaven, become all flame--
desert father Joseph said Make this
your aim
as he stood and lit the sky
with his ten fingers of fire.

Come stand still with me and listen,
inhale, feel, touch all in silence and gratitude
for gardenia, suhaili, bulbul and broad-
billed sandpiper, camel and gazelle,
desert and swale, seif and barchan dunes,
spiny-tailed agamas and sand vipers.

Come sit with me under the sidra tree.
Let's begin afresh like the budding branches,
lay aside our wrathful grapes, realize
how fragile are all the vagile organisms
surrounding and sustaining us.

*Fariduddin 'Attar

Diana Woodcock
Doha, Qatar
DIANA WOODCOCK, 56, widely published award-winning poet, has lived and taught in Tibet, Macau and now Qatar, where she is Assistant Professor, English Department, Virginia Commonwealth University in Doha/School of the Arts. In 2008 her poem “Survivor” was selected by Mark Strand for Best New Poets 2008. Her stateside snail mail address is Midlothian, Virginia. Her rising sign is Virgo.