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Devotional (After a Muslim Prayer)
By Philip Metres
Light my face and light the flesh of my flesh,
Light each my eyes and light inside my sight,
Light the light that makes me light in the bones,
And in my hands, light, and in my loins, light,
And light your light before and behind me,
Above and beneath me, light to my right
And light to left, light to my enemies
Who in the moral dark will use my light
Against me, light the dull swords of my ribs,
The thick fist within, light the blood-hot rooms
Pulsing there, light the gates when they swing wide
To the stranger, light more light on my tongue,
In the light, light more light, in the black, light,
and when it’s time to snuff this wick—light that light.
Devotional by Philip Metres first appeared on the Poetry Society of America Website, winner of the Lyric Poetry Award, 2016. Used by permission of the author.
About the Author
Philip Metres is the author of ten books, including Shrapnel Maps (2020), The Sound of Listening: Poetry as Refuge and Resistance (2018), Pictures at an Exhibition (2016), and Sand Opera (2015). He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Watson Foundation. Called “one of the essential poets of our time,” Metres’ many awards include the Cleveland Arts Prize, and his poems have been translated into many languages. Professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University, he lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
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