She sees herself in black and white:
No vibrant hues, no trace of life.

No shade, no texture, spark of hope
Just insufficient paint-brush strokes

The centering is off, the nose misplaced–
It hangs off in a sorry state.

The eyes too small, too dull, too lidless,
Narrowed, lashless, doleful, listless

A mouth too pinched, too hard a line,
Crooked, bent, a river of wine

The rough skin covered in craters and scars,
A moonscape, crumbling, a palace of stars

Dull hair, sparse locks, thinly drawn,
Miserly strokes, artlessly pawned

The body, lumpy, misshapen in size,
Twisted with secrets, ugly with lies

The Artist’s pen glided, extra curves here and there.
Too fat, too plain, mistakes lain bare

She spurns the Artist, she loathes His design.
She hates His gift in the depths of her mind.

Incompetence! Oh, cruel twisted fate
The word seems to come to her much as of late.

But the eye of the Artist sees what she cannot see,
Not mistakes, not hate, but imperfect pure beauty.

Made by nature and marred by man
Hollow cheeks, withered eyes, thin, frail, fluttering hands

A body deprived, a heart that is torn
Shattered hopes of a girl who tried to conform

Fine bones show, piercing delicate skin,
The pain outside reflects the ocean within.

Yet she turns away from the truth and seeks comfort in lies,
Bows over porcelain throne in the palace of sighs.

Wistful, weary, her search must not end,
And the Artist Who loves her is the One she condemns.

***

As summer comes to a close, a new chapter of our lives begins. Whether the prospect of another year in school gives us ease or anxiety, we must remember not to lose ourselves in the sea of image-issues and shallow personas that we find in our respective schools. This poem tells the story of a girl, one who is so impacted by the concept of image that society has impressed upon her that she sees herself as, not a person, but an image. I exaggerate the way society objectifies people by writing of the girl as if she is a painting, one that is marred, disfigured, and detestable.

When she holds herself up to the standards that society sets, she finds herself lacking; her attempts to conform to society damage her body and mind, distancing her from her goal of perfection than ever before. Throughout her journey, she turns away from “the Artist”- who is, in this case, Allah. In “loathing His design,” she hates the way Allah has created her and cannot see the life she has been blessed with as a gift. Rather, she sees it is a curse, one that she has in actuality created for herself. I want this poem to be a reminder to us all that we need not struggle to blend into the pages of society. We don’t need to be perfect, to fit in. We need only to be ourselves, to be happy and thankful to Allah for the lives we have been blessed with and the opportunities we have been given, and we will be able to live much fuller lives.

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18 Responses to "The Eye of the Artist"

  1. Sabera says:

    You, milady, are a true artist of words, masha’Allah. The styling of this piece is so rich in many ways. This is always a relevant topic for the youth as well. Jazakillahu khayran for writing about it.

  2. Fatimah Waseem says:

    I love how the artist image could easily be seen as the many hues and pastes used for makeup, masha’Allah. Looking forward to your next piece!

  3. Attiya Latif says:

    Thank you so much!

  4. Shahin says:

    Loved the way this was written; I think it’s a must-read for every young person, esp. with the multiple messages ingrained within!

  5. Raadia says:

    This topic needed to be addressed, and my, did you do it artfully! My favorite lines were “The rough skin covered in craters and scars, /A moonscape, crumbling, a palace of stars”. It went perfectly with the part about imperfection being pure beauty. Jazakullahu khairun!

  6. Sam says:

    wow! just wow! this was an amazing piece! I can almost see the painting! great work ms. attiya latif!!

  7. Silent_Observer says:

    Really,just WOW!! Loved the whole thing,but my favorite line : “But the eye of the Artist sees what she cannot see,Not mistakes, not hate, but imperfect pure beauty.” we are all equal and perfect in eyes of the Creator,if only everyone could realize this.

  8. Sanaa says:

    Great work, mA!

  9. Guest says:

    This was sooo beautiful masha’allah. such a powerful impact, can’t wait to read more. you haven’t left your name?

  10. Guest says:

    Thank you for all of your kind comments. Alhumdulillah, I’m glad that this poem could convey its message :)

  11. zaakira ahmed says:

    Wow…

  12. Marwah El Kamil says:

    I just loved how you Described Allah as “The Artist”. Made think through another angle of function and physicality of any object of his creation. And still sum up to end in perfection, beauty, and in correlation on how it could affect our lives and surroundings.
    Well written dear.

  13. Aysha Samjoo says:

    I can’t explain to you how incredible I think this is. MashaAllah, speaks volumes and hits home to every female. Well done Attiya! MashaAllah beautiful!