Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thomas Merton

The Burial Place of Ibn Abbad

He was buried in a vacant property, for he was a stranger
And had not built himself a tomb in that city, or in any other.
After a few years the wall of the lot fell down
But later, the City Governor
Built the saint a small dome,
Confiding to his secretary the care
To take up the offerings left there
And send them to the saint's family.

Meanwhile the Guild of Shoemakers
Took him as patron. Each year
On the evening of his death in Ragab*
They come in procession for a vigil there
With lights, readings and songs,
For in his lifetime
The saint was their friend.
He sat in their shops, conversed with them.
He prayed for the apprentices
To save them from piercing awls
And giant needles.
Often in the Mosque
He led the shoemakers in prayer.
Today, however, he is forgotten.

*Ragab -- June

--Thomas Merton

fr. "Readings in Ibn Abbad"
in Raids on the Unspeakable
[New York: New Directions, 1966]


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