To The Greatest Holy Leaf

The kindness and compassion in your oceanic eyes
Enables me to indulge my presumptuous ambition.
Established on the seat of power, you hide your dazzling crown,
Allowing me to approach you with my fatuous petition.

If, one day, admitted unto your holy presence
I’d dare not speak a word, so I send this on ahead,
An impudent epistle to the off-spring of the King.
I wish to link myself to you, though piteous be the thread.

The day you left this earthly plane was the day that I was born.
Does that connect us in some way? A feeble, paltry bond.
For calendars are volatile, the sun and moon at odds.
Gregorian or Persian, they’d never correspond.

In my hemisphere the moon has always been ignored.
She often had to hide herself, the sun took center stage.
But now through high decree, the moon will have her say
The heavens will be synchronized, liquefying our days.

Still I must find a stronger tie to bind myself to you.
Perhaps the claim: ‘I suffered, too, the pain of separation,
The very thing that wakened me and brought me to His door’.
But how can that be equal to your grief and desolation?

His earthly presence was the vernal warmth that held you high.
His loss was like the winter come abruptly to the rose.
And as I read the long list of your many other trials
I cannot find in my own life one comparable to those.

Enchained I’ve never been, nor exile have I known.
Nor have I breathed the poisonous air, the stench of violation.
Nor have I heard the screech of ravens, croaking of the crows,
That evil crew malodorous that bred contamination.

Of all the sufferings you were dealt, there’s not one I can share.
Perhaps Mahvash or Fariba, enchained so many years
Could claim a common bond, the right to sisterhood.
For that requires fortitude as well as countless tears.

What mystic bond unites us? I sense a faint connection.
Is it folly to imagine that there’s something else to share?
Our servitude perhaps, but what a foolish thought.
Your condition and your place leave nothing to compare.

Companion to the Peerless Branch, faithful, soaring pillar.
You sustained the Priceless Pearl, with ironclad resolution.
You helped us see his station and our duty to arise.
Nurturer of every soul and nascent institution.

Yet maybe there’s a quality that I might still acquire.
A feature of your blessed being which favors imitation.
Alas, the task ahead of me, titanic in its scope.
A myriad of attributes, beyond enumeration.

‘Finely tuned and sensitive, yet immersed in daily tasks’1
In sacrifice a scholar, you knew everything of loss.
Long-suffering, but smiling through the worst of all ordeals.
Maid servant of Bahá, you circled round Him like a moth.

Your presence like the summer breeze, gentle and refreshing.
Your semblance like a placid lake, reflecting His good pleasure.
Your heart, crystal clear and radiant as the dawn.
Your life a gift of self-denial, devotion beyond measure.

Your embrace a refuge for the anguished and bereaved
Your leaf like quality a source of oxygen and shade.
To the workers in His Cause, a shelter from the storm,
A beacon of steadfastness, a bastion of faith.

Of all your lofty attributes and heavenly distinction
There is a quality of yours to which I most aspire.
Onerous to comprehend, impossible to fake,
Evanescence is a trait most difficult to acquire.

How to understand this ethereal enigma
Mystic is the adjective that first might come to mind
A gentle mist that vanishes as soon as it approaches
A presence that, while felt, is not easily defined.

Like vapor, which evaporates, leaving not a trace.
Yet vapor has been known to move ships across the sea
To span the continents, to mobilize regimes.
For the power of evanescence, a perfect simile.

The mirror or the glass could also serve as an example
Of this rarified condition, the evanescent quality.
A mirror facing upward will reflect the splendid sun,
Will channel down its heat and light most efficiently.

A window will permit us to look out and see the garden,
While letting all the light come in to brighten up our day.
The pane will protect us from the cold and windy blasts,
Will guard us from the interludes of unrelenting rain.

The soul is also apt as a metaphoric aid
Its essence is inscrutable, its presence a reflection.
Its manifold potential not readily detected.
Unrecognized by those who lack the power of perception.

Without desire, you seemed, to those of limited discernment,
Of slight import, a footnote in the larger panorama,
Never making show of your position or your rank, yet
Your overwhelming influence was central to the drama.

But how does one achieve such an elevated state?
Surrounded by the pounding message: ‘I’m the centerpiece.’
Why do we gravitate to the focus of attention?
What is this tendency to make our prominence increase?

How do you dominate this mass of gas we call the self?
What is required to redirect our self-absorbed ambition?
The center you revolved around was vacant of all else.
He was your primal focus, your object of submission.

Unconcerned with legacy, you stood for what He willed.
With genuine humility, meekness, resignation,
You excluded from your lexicon the use of me and I.
You put to flight the insistent self, the ultimate consummation.

If these high goals are not achieved before this journey’s end
I entreat you to accept me, not as sister, affiliate or friend,
But as a handmaid at your feet, unworthy but redeemed,
To serve at your behest, ever beholden to the queen.