The merchant of forgiveness

the-merchant-of-forgiveness

He came like a passing vapour,
embodied with the gift of light and lightness,
the faintest hint of jasmine and sandalwood,
and a buried childhood.

Suppression makes for an interesting man,
a thorough masculinity,
that is more tender than dew on the petal of lemon trees,
and as firm as the roots of date palms.

He held himself inside until he imploded,
it wasn’t diabetes, cancer or kidney failure,
it was a heart that couldn’t contain any more.

He didn’t lose limb and tissue,
but reconciliation and forgiveness faded.

And that was his weapon against you,
he could forgive you,
because he knew by doing so,
he would leave you to your guilt,
to gnaw at you,
to cut you in half,
no one would punish you more than you.

When he could no longer forgive you,
he had to learn to forgive himself,
not for anything he had done,
but his guilt,
his gnaw,
the thing that tore him apart,
was he couldn’t reassure you any more,
that he would be a provider of forgiveness.

Even to his last breath,
he was selfless,
the gurgle of his lungs,
his open mouth,
closed eyes,
soft cold hands,
forgiving everyone in the room.

Everyone was caught up with the spectacle of death,
and all I could wonder,
was how his Lord was preparing his place amongst the elite.

A man once passed in front of the Prophet of God,
the Prophet exclaimed that the man was a man of paradise.
One of the companions, feverish and eager for the works of good,
encouraged by the words and wanton of the fruits of righteousness took it upon himself to follow the man home and pretend he needed a place to stay.
In utter custom and tradition, hospitality was granted.
For three days, the man watched the man of paradise and noted his every move and saw nothing out of the ordinary.
Finally on the third day, the companion came clean and admitted that he had heard the Prophet of God proclaim him a man of paradise and that he wanted to know what his secret to attain such a status was.
Perplexed, the man of paradise replied, “As you see, I do no extra activities than the layman, I pray, I fast, I pay the charitable tax, but every night when I sleep, before I lay my head on a pillow, I forgive everyone that I know.”

And that is where my father was,
his childhood whatever it was,
lived inside him until his last day,
and the act of a child,
the ability to forgive and forget so easily,
was his unsheathed sword slaying the hatred in the hearts of all.
He passed, and slayed us all with forgiveness,
there’s no recovering from that.

W.E.

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