for Donald Revell
Even Death won't hide the poor fugitive forever;
on Doomsday he will learn he must live forever.
Is that nectar the cry of the desert prophets?
See angels pour the Word through a sieve forever.
On the gibbet Hallaj cried I Am the Truth.
In this universe one dies a plaintive forever.
When parents fall in love with those blond assassins,
their children sign up for Western Civ forever.
With a brief note he quit the Dead Letter Office--
O World, they've lost Bartleby's missive forever.
Am I some Sinai, Moses, for lightning to char?
See me solarized, in negative forever.
In the heart's wild space lies the space of wilderness.
What won't one lose, what home one won't give forever!
A perfect stranger, he greeted herself in joy--
Not to be Tom, how lovely--she said--I'm Viv forever!
Jamshed, inventor of wine, saw the world in his cup.
Drink, cried his courtiers, for he won't live forever.
He lives by his wits, wears blue all day, stars all night.
Who would have guessed God would be a spiv forever?
Will the Enemy smile as I pass him on the street?
I'm still searching for someone to forgive forever.
As landscapes rise like smoke from their eyes, the blind hear
God swear by the fig and the olive forever.
The Hangman washes his hands, puts his son to sleep.
But for whom, come dawn, he's decisive forever?
Alone in His Cave--His Dance done--He's smeared with ash.
The Ganges flows from the head of Shiv forever.
You've forgiven everyone, Shahid, even God--
Then how could someone like you not live forever? Read More
Agha Shahid Ali