The Ephemeral

Poem by
Apr 20, 2012 · 2 min read

I used to be perfect:
Untouched, unblemished, undisturbed.
Yes, I was beautiful before you
Came and changed me.
You seem to forget that
I was made for you
But you were never made for me.

You broke me
The rain leaked
Down.
You started this.
You sent wire missiles, bullets of bricks,
Glass armies, cavalries of concrete .
And you say that I am yours.

The angels are healing me at dawn.
While you sleep, I lie awake
And remember what I was.
Perfect were the days before you,
Beautiful was the seed, the grass, the flower.

Soon enough, the sun sends me a ribbon
And you awake, as you always have,
Stretch, stand, sigh,
Spend another day thinking of anything
But always forgetting
What you are doing to me.

Treat me well, I am here for you
To live on, breathe on, die on, come back to
And leave for eternity.


My poem is about man’s relationship with the Earth and it is written in the voice of the Earth itself. People typically associate the voice of Earth and nature combined with the voice of a vulnerable female, so this is the type of voice that I naturally took, especially since my poem is about the negative effects that mankind can have on the environment. The fact that the narrator in the poem is a mixture of the Earth, nature and the environment may be a bit hard to notice, but the purpose of this is for the reader to pick up hints throughout the poem that allow them to deduce who the narrator truly is. (Don’t feel bad if you took a while to realize who the narrator is; it’s supposed to be a trick!). In a way, I have portrayed the relationship between man and the Earth as something more personal, which is why it is more riddle-like until perhaps the last two stanza. The main aim behind my poem is for people to learn that what we do in our everyday lives can have a long-term effect on the environment and that we ought to treat our ephemeral home with respect.

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26 Responses to "The Ephemeral"

  1. Arif Kabir says:

    Amazing piece, truly. The voice in this poem isn’t dwelling in self-pity. It’s more like a mother who is simply and somewhat morosely acknowledging the situation. It’s resigned to its fate but is filled with hope that you will one day understand and make better decisions. Great job māshā‘Allāh.

  2. Sabera says:

    Your explanation consoled my slowness with understanding the concept. I was never all that good at riddles. But the theme was brilliantly hidden between the lines.
    And that is quite a fine choice of a title, I must say. Masha’Allah, great work!

  3. Khadijah Stott-Andrew says:

    This is absolutely brilliant, honestly. You have captured the message superbly. Kudos. Tweeted & shared.

  4. Aziza says:

    Very beautiful poem dear sister. I was stumped until the end, but I was trying to figure it out…then it was like OH that makes sense hahaha! MashaAllah nice job.

  5. Basiratulann says:

    JazakAllah everybody for your lovely comments!

  6. Raadia says:

    Very nice piece masha Allah! I liked the twist you put on the narration style, very creative.

  7. Abu Yusuf says:

    Salaam Alaykum,

    Uktee Baseeratul Ann Shahid, may I commend you for a job well done with your allegorical narrative, the likes of which ostensibly stimulated the minds of several readers. Indeed, we forget how sensitive our environment is – the very Earth from which we come. Pontificate, if you will, on this thought-provoking ayah:
    {The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them glorify Him and there is nothing which does not glorify His praise.  However, you do not understand their glorification} (Quran Soorah 17: Ayah 44)
    Even the Earth upon which we lay siege glorifies Allah, and to her we owe at the very least a modicum of respect.

    • Arif Kabir says:

      Assalāmu ‘alaikum Abu Yusuf,

      Awesome comment. Thanks :)

      • Abu Yusuf says:

        Dearest brother Arif,

        Thank you for the kind acknowledgement. Muslim men really are the best of mankind, subh7anallah. By the way, you know I will be supporting the blues today against your red devils. May the best team win!

        • Sheenib says:

          er-‘muslim MEN are the best of mankind”???

          • Abu Yusuf says:

            Yes of course. Do you doubt that? We don’t associate anyone in worship with Allah. We maintain and provide for our charges (women, children, elderly relatives, etc). We are chivalrous, handsome, generous, and uphold the highest ethics. Generally speaking, Muslim men are the best of mankind.

          • seriously? says:

             I bet you’re not handsome. You don’t sound handsome to me.

          • Raadia says:

            Hmph. SOME Muslim men, or if you say so, most Muslim men. Not all. :)

          • Abu Yusuf says:

            Come on now, you must ignore any liquor-store-owning non-praying space-between-incisors-bearing pot-bellied casino-trip-taking riba-dealing eating-mouthfuls-in-the-daytime-during-Ramadan unncles from the mix.

          • Raadia says:

            Does any of that strip them of the title of being a Muslim men? I think not. 

          • Abu Yusuf says:

            Exceptions don’t count. Just as some never married hijabi sisters who aren’t virgins don’t count as ‘good Muslim woman’

          • Arif Kabir says:

            Abu Yusuf, I’m sorry, but this crosses the line. You and I are not to judge who are good Muslim women and who are not. From the hadith of the Prophet, we know of prostitutes that went to Jannah due to Allah’s mercy, and we know of ‘ulama among the men that went to hell because of their ill intention.

            This must come to a stop. I’m not sure what you seek to achieve by unnecessarily riling others against you, but you will have to find another medium aside from MYM for this. If there are any more bigoted comments by you, they will be immediately removed.

        • Abu Yusuf says:

          Salaam Alaykum, in case there is any confusion brought up in the minds of readers by the reference by esteemed brother Arif regarding the prostitute who was granted jannah for feeding the thirsty dog, let it be known that in a famous narration we are told by our Rasool that we cannot marry prostitutes. Whether Allah forgives them or not is an entirely unrelated matter. Us not marrying them does not make us bigoted. The Tayibeen are for the tayyibaat.

        • Arif Kabir says:

          The question was never about marrying them or not, but whether or not they ‘good’ people or not, in terms of finality.

        • Abu Yusuf says:

          Salaam Alaykum, the finality is unknown. Whether they are ‘good’ or not can be known. That is why Allah uses the word Tayyibeen (for Tayyibaat) and khabeetheen (for khabeethaat). It very may well be that in the finality of things the tayyib person becomes khabeeth or vice versa. The marriage point was brought up as a direct correlation to ‘goodness’ of a person. Hope that makes it clearer.

  8. sb says:

    This is a good poem, but I disagree with the message. The Earth wasn’t only beautiful and perfect before us; it’s also beautiful and perfect with us. Humans are part of nature, not external to it. 

    I recommend you read William Cronon’s article on this. He explains how the whole concept of a pure, untouched wilderness is an artificial and modern concept that actually has negative consequences for all of us. 

    http://www.williamcronon.net/writing/Cronon_Trouble_with_Wilderness_1995.pdf

  9. I had mistaken it for a heart till I read the note at the end. The beautiful seed reminded me of the Hubb – seed of love for Allah swt that resides in our heart. But it makes more sense when related to earth. Especially the missiles, bullets and bricks that had gone unexplained for the heart =) Nevertheless, a heart-warming poem, mashaAllah. 

  10. IdeasInspireIdeas says:

    Heart-warming piece. Hearing the earth’s voice put a little bit of guilt in my heart.       
    This poem holds two great reminders: 1) We should thank Allah and praise Him (subhanawatalah) for this beautiful earth and how even after its been marred so much, Allah causes it to provide to our needs.2) We should treat the earth the way it should be treated. Allah will ask us on the day of judgement ‘why we didn’t respect the rights His creation. 

  11. Nasrin says:

    I thought this was about the Iraq or Afghanistan before American’s involvement, but after reading your description, I understand your message. This is a beautiful poem.  “You seem to forget that I was made for you but you were never made for me.”–these lines struck me the most. 

    The poem also has the point of view of a lover, which makes it all the more interesting.

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