6 Poems in Honour of the Bicentenary from Around the World

We are still savouring and relishing in the outpouring of artistic expressions created in honour of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, and in this post we thought we’d share some of the poetry penned in celebration of this historic and jubilant event.

These poems are all found on the official website connecting the bicentenary celebrations around the world (bicentenary.bahai.org) and they include works from New Zealand to Switzerland, Ghana to Canada by poets young and old. Below you’ll find some of the English poems showcased on the Bicentenary website but we encourage you to check out the website for more poems and for poetic expressions in other languages.

1. A poem by an 11 year-old youth

In Honour of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah

 

The Writings told of a Manifestation

Who would rise to His great station

Like a sun lifting into the sky

With joy the children would cry

For near and yonder

Many things were told

By young and by old

That day was the king of days

For all of the sun’s rays,

were shining upon that spot

that we must forget not

For this was the day of a birth

Now celebrated around the earth

The day we said Allah’u’Abha

To the great Manifestation, Baha’u’llah

World-embracing vision

Was the reason for His mission

Peace, love and unity

For the world’s immunity

Equality of men and women

Were of teachings we were given

Universal education

For everyone in every nation

And there is so much more

So come in through the door

And listen to our story

Of great great glory

 

2. A poem from the United States

Beloved

 

I have drunk in your days, Beloved.

Each trek, each room, reach rose.

I have felt your ceaseless strife,

Every trial of your life.

 

I think I was ever with You

As You are ever with me.

 

For you pitched tents in Badasht,

At Baghdad your tablets washed,

Carried your bowl at Sar-Galu,

Picked roses at Ridvan too.

 

At Takur trailed you into the cypress,

Later rowed you across the Tigris,

Shadowed you through the alleys of Edirne,

Even crept into the great Selimiyeh.

 

I think I was ever with You

As You are ever with me.

 

Carried water with Hassan,

And gold and tablets with Salman,

With Mulla Husayn swung swords,

With Aqa Jan scribbled words.

 

Stirred soup with Aschji,

And knelt with Badi,

Swept with my turban before you,

Rent my veil with Tahirih too.

 

I think I was ever with You

As You are ever with me.

 

Disembarked behind you in Haifa,

Carried the Leaves ashore at Akka,

In your company entered the Sea Gate,

And in the same strolled out the Land Gate.

 

I think I was ever with You

As You are ever with me.

 

Wept through the bastinado’s bite,

But also at the boy and the skylight,

At the darkness of the cave,

And the ever-lapping wave.

 

Wept again at the chain’s scar,

At the tremor of the poison jar,

At the loneliness, at the guile,

At the endless, endless exile.

 

One tribulation at at time.

 

I think I was ever with You,

As You are ever with me.

 

3. A poem from Ghana

The Dawning of a New Day

 

Tehran, Iran, 1817

At the dawn of the 2nd day of Muharram

The foundation for a global society is laid

He who had come to build anew the whole world is born

O Baha’u’llah

O Daystar of the Universe

O Glory of Glories

Thou art the Bearer of a new Message for all humankind

 

Tehran, August 1852

In the hallows of a pestilential Black Pit

A White Maiden hovers over the Celestial Head of the Ancient Beauty

And alas, a new revelation is born

O Lord of Lords,

O Preserved Treasure

O Most Great Light

Thou hast shed Thy radiance over the whole world

 

Baghdad, April 1963,

On the eve of His departure to Constantinople

Amidst a few companions, in the Garden of Paradise

The Day of God is Dawned

O Hidden Name

O Speaker on Sinai

O Pen of the Most High

He Whom God will make manifest is declared

 

29th May, 1892

The glory of His Presence is withdrawn

And the ocean of His utterance is stilled

40 years of exile and imprisonment come to an end at last

The Light of the Splendour of God is set

Announced from the minarets in the mosque in Akka;

God is great, He giveth life! He taketh it again!

He dieth not, but liveth for everymore

 

Rejoice, I bid thee rejoice

“This is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face,

And hear the Voice, of the Promised One

The Call of God hath been raised,

And the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men

In behooveth every man to blot out the trace of every idle word

From the tablet of his heart, and gaze, with an open and unbiased mind

On the signs of His Revelation,

The proofs of His Mission,

And the tokens of His glory”

Rejoice, I bid thee rejoice

 

4. A poem that was performed as a song

Day of Remembrance

 

Reverently gathered in silence and prayer

In praise of a beauty beyond all compare

Attracted as moths, to a flame so divine

All hearts “on fire” as we think back in time…

 

200 years of unending love

200 years of “light from above”

Rising reflections of “heaven on earth”

A day of remembrance: Baha’u’llah’s birth

 

What greater gift than to hear of His name

To learn of His Teachings and honour His claim

To rise up in service, to further His Cause

To tell of His Faith and establish His laws

 

(For to what other truth may we turn to for relief,

To grant the world freedom from sorrow and grief;

And where now the hope of which mankind despairs,

If not in His answer to all of our prayers?)

 

Heavenly Spirit, born into night–

That people and nations should one day unite

And banners of peace shall be raised and unfurled

Imparting His glorious light to the world!

 

200 years of unending love

200 years of “light from above”

Rising reflections of “heaven on earth”

A day of remembrance:

Baha’u’llah’s birth

 

 5. A poem from the United Kingdom

Nightingale Cry

 

Today, to this melody of the Company on high,

the world will leap and dance: “Glory be to my Lord,

the All Glorious!” But know ye this: save for this

song of God, no song will stir the world, and save for

this nightingale-cry of truth from the Garden of God,

No melody will lure away the heart. “Whence cometh

this Singer Who speaketh the Beloved’s name?”

– Abdu’l-Baha

 

In darkness once with ear to ground

The pure in heart could hear the sound

 

Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!

 

In streaks of day then birdsong came

To stir the world with sweet refrain

 

Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!

 

Perfect notes of the Nightingale

Bid sun to rise and night to pale

 

Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!

 

A song as old as it is new

Warbled fresh in the morning dew

 

Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!

 

With light and beauty so imbued

Guiding lovers to certitude

 

Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!

 

Words once hidden now stream from grace

That faithful souls may find their place

 

Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!

 

Most holy verse with might vibrates

Each syllable new life creates

 

Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!

 

The cry of truth for every ear

That promised day of joy is here

 

Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!

 

Awakened now from heedless trance

At last the world will leap and dance

 

Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!

 

6. Poetry inspired by the life of Baha’u’llah

One

What words could cast a net around the essence of Him?

How can a poet fashion a poem for the Fashioner?

 

Two starts collided in space 140 million years ago

Spinning out from their collapse into one another

Billions of particles of gold

Filled the universe with precious flakes of light

That floated past every moon

Carried over endless ripples of time

To illumine the skies in Iran

And drape the trees in India

Sparkle in the mountains of Uzbekistan

And twinkle in the grasses of America

Glisten in the waters of Pacific

And light up the plains of Africa

What words could catch and hold

The sweetness of such joy?

The softness that folds the corners of the eyes

At the mention of His name

 

No.

It cannot be found in the lines of any poem

Even if written with the ink of oceans

And the leaves of every tree

Utterance was lost before His Words

Flooded the world

Rippling out over every stone to every corner of every heart

How could these words contain what every day

Ever created

Before this one

Was purposed for?

It cannot be.

 

All it can hope to reflect is the breath of the soul

When its wings take their first tentative beat of life

The realization that sometimes renders into

Knowledge stacked like shadows from traditions long lifeless

The shifts

The falling and smoothing out of thought

The vision that sees we are one

That we love

 

Two

In every verse and line I tried to write

To describe Him

Was the spilled ink from my broken pen

That could never contain in its slender form

Such beauty

 

Three

Asked to write a poem

A testament of my love

I tried

I sat with pen and ready

I scratched with words

Pictures of light and stars

But how does one write of the love

From which one’s very breath first came?

I can’t.

My pen broke.

 


We’d definitely recommend taking a closer look at the artistic expressions on the Bicentenary website. For example, if you read Arabic, here is a poem from Egypt and here is one from Iraq. There’s a lot of inspiring content to visit and revisit!

 

 

About the Author

Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

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Discussion 1 Comment

  1. All wonderful but especially appreciated the poem that was performed as a song ( would really like to hear it performed!) the Day of Remembrance.
    Wonderful, indeed!
    Jacques ( Brazil )

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