Down Memory Well
Last night I lay awake unable to sleep,
As I let my soul wander too deep.
My heart was in doubt about Your Promise,
No-one could give me solace.
My soul left my body and my body left my cell,
As I pulled up my pail from Memory Well.
I journeyed back to the time of my birth,
Not knowing then what it was worth.
What I discovered was a chest of treasure,
As I realised You had blessed me without measure.
I remembered all the good You had done for me,
In all my years when my body was free.
I was hungry and You fed me,
I was bare and You clothed me.
I was alone and You gave me company,
By blessing me with friends and family.
When I was sick You cured me.
When I was hurt You healed me.
When I was sad You cheered me up.
When I was broken You fixed me up.
I veered off the path but You brought me back.
I lost my footing but You set me on track.
I went astray but You gave me direction.
I felt afraid but You gave me protection.
When the pack of beasts savaged me that day,
And the racist devils mocked how I pray,
I asked You for death but You gave me life.
I asked it to end but You gave me respite.
As I lay in pain in the cell that December,
You sent me a gift I will always remember.
A dream unlike I had ever seen before.
A vision that made my spirit soar.
What I saw that winter’s night,
Turned my darkness into light.
Even as I bled to the bone,
I knew then that I was not alone.
You set me free so my body could heal,
And my heart and soul could recover their zeal.
You were preparing me for what lay ahead:
A path of peril, fear and dread.
Once again You blessed me with captivity,
And made me into someone I never dreamed to be.
O Allah! I never sought all this attention,
That I got because of my detention.
The more they defamed me the more You honoured me.
The more they detained me the more the blind could see.
The harder it got the more You helped me.
The darker it got the more You enlightened me.
As I then gazed at my memories in the pail,
I began to see beyond the veil.
I truly was an ungrateful servant,
Whose woes appeared ever so fervent.
As my feelings of sorrow turned into shame,
I realised I had only myself to blame.
How dare I moan about my pain,
When others far worse did not complain?
My throbs of doubt transformed into certainty,
As I fell asleep with my soul in serenity.
I had quenched my thirst from Memory Well,
And pulled myself out from my own hell.
O Allah, forgive me for my ingratitude!
O Allah, ignore my shameful attitude!
You were always there when I wanted You to be,
And I know now that You will never abandon me.
Babar Ahmad MX5383, HMP Manchester
September 2007, Ramadan 1428