FATIMA’S TOUCH: Poems and Stories of the Prophet’s Daughter, Ruhaniat Press, SF, 2016 by Tamam Kahn
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Annie Finch wrote this beautiful tribute! http://anniefinch.com/a-mentors-pride-fatimas-touch-by-tamam-kahn/
This is daring poetry that tries to examine and heal some of the great spiritual and political divides.
Coleman Barks, The Essential Rumi
Each and every one of the poems in Fatima’s Touch resonates in the mind and in the heart long after the page is turned. Speaking for the woman known as ‘the radiant one’ with empathy and soul, Tamam Kahn opens the door to the essence of Islam and invites us in. Lesley Hazleton, author of After the Prophet and The First Muslim
Tamam has done a fine job of portraying Fatima, her family and the historical milieu. This is the best of her work that I have seen so far. These are important pages for those who are ignorant of the whole cultural history, and also because the historical record is so spotty, so ravaged, so dismissive. This deserves to be known, and I congratulate her on the research and artistry of the poems and the courage and determination of this admirable achievement. Fred Chappell, Former Poet Laureate of North Carolina, author of Shadow Box and I am One of You Forever.
From Fatima’s Touch, pp. 43, 44…
While She Sleeps: It was a hot day. Umm Ayman looked in the window and saw Fatima asleep, with the millstone spinning, the cradle holding Husayn rocking itself, and a hand raised in praise. She went to the Prophet and told him what she saw. She asked him, “Who was grinding, rocking, praising?” He laughed and told her the names of three angels.1 Husayn holds the tender place in the story, as the son constantly remembered in Shia history, assassinated decades later in the massacre at Karbala. Umm Ayman was the servant of Amina, mother of the Prophet. She assisted in the birth of Muhammad and years later—his children. She was the rock of the family.
While She Sleeps
One grinds. One praises God. One rocks Husayn.
Uplifted gesture in the air—what’s this?
Two angels brought by Gabriel—one mills
the grain for Fatima, one gestures praise.
You see it and you don’t. Not flesh and blood,
nor anything like that. Transparent hands.
Who rocks Husayn? What fingertips can nudge
The cradle? In the room his mother sleeps,
exhausted, fasting, ripe for angel aid.
Her grindstone turns, as if it were a top
and bread could make itself. Who rocks Husayn?
A touch so light, the child smiles in his sleep.
The outside world is still, the stems of thoughts
curl tucked inside, while Gabriel bends down
to stroke his cheek, his heart-shaped face. Don’t ask
Who rocks Husayn, that little cup of love.
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1 Encyclopedia of Fatima, 17:119, 120. See also Muslin, The English Translations, 4, #1701. Form iambic pentameter — blank verse.