A Poem I Like #11


A Poem I Like #11

"Who is the Artist?" by Ammar AlShukry

I've seen the photographers get on their knees to capture an angle,
And painters lay on their backs to complete a canvas,
A lover gets on one knee with ring and heart in hand,
And a farmer bows his back as he tills the land,

So why is it then considered strange,
For a man to fall in prostration in view plain
of all, in the middle of street you know,
Is he not an artist, or a lover, with seeds to sow?

~ ~ ~ ~

The use of a question to title the poem impressively colors my understanding of the poem. My understanding evolves with each line. Given the spiritual genre of Imam Ammar's poetry, reading this title, "Who is the Artist?", immediately calls to mind the description of God as the ultimate artist. This is in turn reminds me of the beauty that God has placed in his creation. The first stanza feeds these initial thoughts.

I've seen the photographers get on their knees to capture an angle

...And a farmer bows his back as he tills the land

Certainly the photographer and the farmer both seek to capture or unlock a beauty that is already extant in nature--a beauty brought into existence by the Almighty artist. The first stanza suppors this perspective suuports this perspective. The second stanza, however, shifts abruptly to put fortht he notion that prayer is an artwork crafted by the worshipper themself. As I'm writing this I now see the parallel between the workshipper with his or her prayer and the photographer with his or her photos. This is an interesting parallel. I presume it is what Imam Ammar is going for...but I like my rendition as well. If we suspend the potential of the worshipper to be an artist, whilst maintaining the potential for prayer to be art, then the second stanza gives birth to an idea both cliche and radically pleasing: Worship itself is a manifestation of beauty God has created. To simply say prayer is beautiful sounds pase. To say, instead, that prayer is a manifestation of created beauty is to be reminded that prayer is a gift. It is to be pleased that God has allowed me to hold such a gift.

Maybe I did just use this poem as a jumping off point for my own reflection. That is not a bad thing. And prayer is a gift. It is a gift Gof has chosen to bless me with. I pray I learn to hold this gift with all the care it deserves.
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