“I Want” – a poem

Center of the Milky Way galaxy, as seen from Cherry Springs State Park

Center of the Milky Way galaxy, as seen from Cherry Springs State Park, one of the darkest places in the eastern USA. The Milky Way is a vast collection of more than 200 billion stars, planets, nebulae, clusters, dust and gas. Our own Sun and solar system are also part of the Milky Way galaxy. Brilliant Jupiter is the brightest "star" in the image, seen at left.

I Want

I want to travel back in time
and prevent my daughter
from jamming her toe in the shopping cart
and getting a blood bruise.
I want her to laugh so hard
she sprays her cereal and milk.
I want her never to shake her head
in shame or regret.
I want her to love Allah,
to raise hands in duaa,
to feel the deen in her veins
like a pulse.

I want my father
to be given the heart of a mustang,
and barring that
to welcome his Qadr with ease,
not squeezing his hands into fists
or cursing in pain.
Never mind what he thinks of me.
I want him to call on Allah
with joy and relief,
to find sweetness in the dusk of his life.
I want peace for him Yaa Allah;
caress him with endless rahma.

I want the Muslim people
to find their power, art,
science; and the quiet joy
of ‘ibadah and Allah’s love.
Let them step into the century
free from tyranny, standing tall
with Islam as hope and heart.
Let them drink from the bubbling spring
of the Quran.
Let them breathe.
Let them free themselves
and transform the world.

For myself, who knows?
Still I shake my head and laugh,
wondering who I am,
and when I’ll find my secret name.
I say with truth
that I don’t flinch,
no snarl crosses my face,
and I don’t lie about my past.
No acid fills my mouth. No fear,
no hate, no shame.
Instead, I want…
I want

to leap into the night sky
and grab a bushel of stars,
bring them to earth burning in my hands.
Once, in Tucson,
the morning sun turned everything
– the desert, the buildings,
even the men standing in line to eat –
yellow as an egg yolk.
I want to bottle that pure yellow
and drink it into my veins
until I’m hot and glowing
from heart to fingernails.

Laugh, I don’t care!
Yes I am a crazy man.
Let me tell you, somewhere
in a dingy cell a man is being beaten
and starved; somewhere
a sister is being raped;
I want to give my life
to put a stop to it,
and I offer it to Allah:
take it. I understand my words.
Use me for a purpose
and let me be remembered

for saving one life,
making one person weep in relief,
rescuing one soul from pain.
For myself I ask so little:
to be held in loving arms
and a sweet voice in my ear.
Is that too strange a dream?
To take a wife and hug her fiercely,
see my daughter learn the deen,
to graduate to black belt
after all these years.
To bring relief to pain…

For myself, so little.
In the end I forfeit all.
Yaa Allah, I surrender all
but your love! I give up
the stars and sun,
the run of time and coin,
and the embrace of love…
But for others:
my father, Salma,
and those I’ve lost; for the hurt and hungry
praying for relief… for them
I want, I want, I want.

– Wael Abdelgawad, July 2009

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , Read 266 articles by
3 Comments Post a Comment
  1. wael says:

    First stanza: both things that happened with my daughter. I was pushing a shopping cart while she sat in it. She had her bare foot sticking out the side, and it got jammed in the cart rack. She cried so, so hard. Another time she was eating breakfast and I made her laugh so that she spit her food all over the table. It was funny.

    Second stanza: my father has a bad heart, failed kidneys, and generally poor health. He has a lot of fear for the future. I want good health and long life for him, but if that is not possible then I want his spirit to be at ease, not fearful.

    Third stanza: Our suffering Ummah has been bent and burdened for too long. I want our people to taste freedom and pride.

    All the rest: I have no words beyond what I wrote.

  2. Striving Soul says:

    A beautiful poem, brings tears to my little eyes.

  3. María says:

    Wael,

    If I could ask for a wish, I would ask for your wishes to come true.

    God Bless Your Beautiful Heart.

    God bless your Father.

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