Zuhr Prayer in Peterborough, by Joel Hayward


Long John Silver
With eyes aged like stars
In my mosque, on a crutch
Subhana Rabbiyal A’alah
I whisper past bent knees
He has one and sits in God’s sight
On a chair wearing purity
He whispers too and smiles
Not at me or others but at the One
Who took his leg and gave him a prop
Bright-eyed adventurer watching
The horizon searching for land
Where rivers flow beneath
And upon its white shore of sand
He’ll leave footprints as he strides


Long John Silver
With diamonds that see
In my mosque, on a crutch
Rabbana Lakal hamd
He responds in a mind full of gold
Beneath God’s words in a dome
While light stretches to reach his cheek
And strokes it with a mother’s love
As I echo three words and smile
Not at him or others but at the One
Who gave him more than he lost
White haired voyager gazing eyes closed
A journey stopping without ending
When he sinks upon young knees
And scoops living water from the source




JOEL HAYWARD is a well-published Muslim- British scholar, fiction-writer and poet. In 2003 he published his first poetry collection, Lifeblood (Totem Press), and is preparing a second collection for publication by Kube Publishers later this year.