The Jester

By on September 24, 2013

Nothing comes, nothing comes
like the setting of the sun,
like a song already sung,
nothing comes, nothing comes.

Still he stands there, getting redder
as the silence starts to fester.
Still sad silence from the jester:
nothing comes, nothing comes.

People wait and watch and grumble
as the jester starts to mumble
lines of lyric, lines of woe,
to himself as if a fool,
yet nothing real and nothing new;
nothing comes.

No one talks and no one speaks.
The jester’s bells just barely squeak,
protesting silence at its peak,
for nothing comes.

No ideas, no inventions,
no silver stories, tales of pension,
no remarks on the king’s venison,
nothing comes.

Then he rises, gently, slowly,
rises up and bows as lowly
as a servant, fawning solely
on the only hand so holy
as the king’s,
for nothing comes.

Blue eyes dart from side to side,
hiding fear and wounded pride,
hiding, hidden by the guise
of a smile, a voice full of honey, full of lies,
for nothing comes.

“My lord,” he whispers softly
in a voice so full of mockery
that the people eye him hotly,
grind their teeth, glare at the motley
of the jester of the king,
but nothing comes.

“My lord, your grace, I tell you,
I cannot find a single venue-
Not a word to entertain you,
Not a punny joke to please you,
Not a thing,
for nothing comes!”

Now the people start to leer
At the jester, full of fear.
Then the king begins to sneer,
“Nothing comes?

“You, a jester, you, a joker,
One that’s far from mediocre.
You, of whom I am the owner,
Nothing comes?

“Think of something, foolish slave,
Or I will show you what is pain,
And give you up to serve the maids;
How dare you even try to say
That nothing, no how and no way
Nothing comes?”

Then the jester stands in anger,
Now without fear and without languor,
And without a trace of humor,
Shouts to all the court the truth there,
“Nothing comes!”

“So kill me slowly, kill me soundly,
Do what you will, have you not bound me
enough, sir? Nothing comes?
Let nothing come!”

“Come one, come all, come,
Tell me something,
For this jester’s full of nothing,
And I need somebody’s something
To erase the vile nothing
That pervades this hall of somethings-
This vapid hall of vile somethings-
Come, someone, come!”

“Sir, I am tired of your somethings,
And your nothings,
And your everything!
My king, I own myself,
And I say nothing comes,
So nothing comes!”

Standing tall, the jester
Takes his stand,
And he stands
Against the man
Whose death a dozen times he’s planned.
Standing tall
Once again,
Recognized as a man-
A man for whom,
A man for which,
A man for whom
Everything comes.

***

The beauty of poetry is its dichotomy. Its words may tell one story and its meaning another. This poem tells the tale of a jester in the court of his king, at first doing what is asked of him, and later resisting his bondage. I wrote this poem with the intent of relaying to the readers another story, one that can be related to by many. In this world we as youth are carried away by society’s standards. Like the king’s fool we do the utmost to objectify ourselves and to pander to the wishes of social norms. To be thin, to be beautiful, to expose ourselves, to restrict ourselves from growing spiritually and intellectually and to instead recreate ourselves as shallow, superficial creatures– these are the demands that society places on us.

As Muslim youth, these demands are especially hard to fulfill. For example, girls who wear the hijab may feel out of place with their non-Muslim friends. Modesty becomes something to be embarrassed about. To say that being a Muslim teenager is hard would be an understatement. Yet the way this problem should be addressed lies within this poem. The jester at first submits to the king’s will, but after realizing that nothing he does will ever be enough, he rejects his king. He chooses, as we should, to live the rest of his life owning himself. He does not hold himself answerable to the king any longer. In the last lines, he takes a stand far stronger than he ever has before, raising himself to a pedestal greater in character and deed than the king himself.

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3 Responses to "The Jester"

  1. Sabera says:

    The flow of this poem is impeccable masha’Allah. I particularly enjoyed the message and the concept of the jester. It’s as if we allow people to steal our color and our happiness when we try to conform to what they expect of us.

  2. Mehraj Hassan says:

    The Jester might just be killed for his actions, but he will die standing for something he believes in.

    Masha’allah, Good Poem

  3. Aysha says:

    What an incredible story you strung into poetry! MashaAllah <3