Once, Long Ago, In Dar Es Salaam



Once, long ago, in Dar Es Salaam,

A beautiful woman appeared,

where I sat, silent, alone, with a book,

in an emerald garden, to read,

who walked up to me with warming brown eyes,

and a smile like the glorious day,

she moved with a grace that made the palms sway,

she laughed like the ocean kissed breeze,

that made me alive to my state of despair,

how far I had fallen from hope,

unexpected, she sat and talked of old songs,

the mysteries of stars, and the mind,

of kindness and giving, the sharing of time,

of why we are born and then die

why wisdom is rare and often is lost,

that question, to have or to be,

amazed by her words, her questions, her voice,

I asked her to tell me her name,

“I am Grace,” she replied,

with a tear on her cheek,

spell broken, she stood up to leave,

I lay my book down and rose to my feet,

she curtsied to my simple bow,

and as the muezzin began his soft call,

like a vision she parted from me,

and some might claim it a dream,

but standing I was, for me she was real,

so sat to reflect on her words,

still silent, alone, except for my book,

but now with the strength to endure.







2 comments on “Once, Long Ago, In Dar Es Salaam

  1. john ashpool says:

    This meeting with Grace reminds me of a similar meeting in Henry Corbin’s ‘ L’Imaginagion Créatrice dans le Soufism d’Ibn Arabi.’
    A book which changed my life, literally!
    My respects for your work Sir.


    • Christopher Black says:

      Thank you very much. I am only vaguely aware of Corbin’s work with Islam and Sufism but now you have made this connection I must try to read that book. But, yes I was trying to capture something of the mysticism of our existence with nature in this piece. Thank you for the encouragement.


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