Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Posts tagged ‘religion’

Lock and Key

Today is the first day of Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims. Among other restrictions, they take in nothing by mouth from sunrise to sunset.

The time of year for the fast changes each cycle because Muslims use the lunar calendar, so next year Ramadan will start in late June. I remember when I used to participate in this fast that it was much easier to do during the winter months, and how much more difficult it was to fast during the summer months–not drinking water during the hot humid days with as many as four more hours of daylight before the fast ended at sundown, compared with the winter months.

Ramadan is a sacred month for Muslims because supposedly it was the month that the Quran, the Muslim holy book, was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. It is believed that during the month of Ramadan, Satan and his minions are locked up behind the gates of hell and they can’t get out to perpetrate evil in the world until the month is over.

The implication, if you believe such things, is that because Satan is out of the picture for the month, any evil that occurs during this time comes strictly from the hearts of humankind. There is nothing else to blame. Also, it’s a window of opportunity where every good deed takes on that much more significance.

This whole idea has always intrigued me. I used to imagine, and even now, though I don’t practice the faith anymore, that the world feels a little less oppressive during Ramadan, and at the end of the month, which this year will be around August 7, I’ll sense  the world settling back to business as usual.

Not for nothing. Really. Just wanted to share that.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2013

Poems: Passover, From Faith to Faith

( In the following guest post, writer Debra El-Ramey** graces us with her beautiful poetry.** Show her some love and leave a comment!)


Summers, Aunt Kathleen traveled south
to Bible Belt Land with Uncle Jim in effort
to save our souls from the burning hell
we born-again Baptists believed in.

Mother said the couple had once been
kissing cousins, married in the Christian
faith. A shame, she said – a crying shame
what they became: Jehovah’s Witnesses

of all things. Going door to door. Refusing
war, politics, blood transfusions, and even
Christmas. Icons, idols, images, the Easter
bunny, and hunts for colored eggs on the (more…)


I talked about my grandmother’s way of talking in the last post, but how did she influence me as a writer?

Through my grandmother, I learned how to appreciate individuality as shown through the way people talk. Accents, inflection, dialect, regional colloquialisms–all of these fascinate me. It’s like peeking into another dimension.

From her, I came to understand that poetry does not have to be limited to a particular set of words or syntax. An outgrowth of this is that I enjoy “spoken word” as a form of poetry because it often uses the vernacular. I also enjoy hip hop and rap music. What’s more, these modes of expression are as dynamic and versatile as any other mode.


Poet Paul Dunbar (1872 – 1906) wrote (more…)

The Meaning of Life

There’s a saying that everything happens for a reason. Is that true? Or is this a notion someone invented so that we would not suspect our lives are a waste? The concept of the hereafter, I suppose, serves the same function.

Frankly, I believe in both of these ideas. I mean, we must have purpose, right?

If not, why did we bother to (more…)

A Christmas Carol From the Recalcitrant

Many people are stressed during the Christmas holiday, which can range from being overextended to feeling depressed.

Even for those of us who don’t celebrate Christmas, there is no getting around it.

From television to radio and in my case, to most of the people I know, Christmas is the overriding topic of interest. Sure, it’s a free country and people like me can do what they want, but as someone who has been known to veer from the “mainstream,” I can tell you that sometimes it feels like I’m in the wilderness talking to the wind.

Holiday parties at the job are (more…)

I am still trying to process

the tragic events that befell someone I know. Things never turn out the way you think they will. I suppose we never know how close our lives are to becoming a tragedy and where our lessons will come from.

Like yesterday, I’m driving home from work, in the dark, no radio on, windows up, relative quiet except for the whirring of my wheels–white noise on the newly repaved road.

Courtesy of FreeFoto.com

In my head I’m writing lines of a poem that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of weeks. (more…)

Religion, Part Three: Poetry as Religion

It’s been a little while since I last posted but I needed the sabbatical to clear my head, think.

I don’t like my posts to be too long, but I think this one will be longer than usual, as there is a lot involved and this is very important to me. Whoever reads this can glean what they want from it. I hardly know where to start and I know I haven’t covered it all. These are just my personal thoughts if you care to know them and not meant to be imposed on anyone.

From hell to nonconformity.
When I was taught Islam, I was told that if you believed any of the teachings, then they all must be true, and if you don’t believe in part of it, then you’re a nonbeliever. (more…)

Religion: Part Two

At this point, I think that my take on religion may require three parts. This post will focus on my experience as a Muslim. My intention is not to knock this or any religion; I think in their purest forms, all religions have truths to impart in their tenets. It’s the people, though, that ruin everything. This is hard for me to write because my entire life has been devoted to the pursuit and contemplation of religion in some form or another–more accurately, to religion secondarily and primarily, to love, which I also threatened to talk about in an earlier post, and I will, but this first.

I didn’t become a Muslim simply because my future husband was (he was new convert himself) but because I really bought into it. The Quran, which is written in poetic verse, is beautifully melodious in its original Arabic language and translates quite well. (more…)

Religion: Part One

I was more or less raised in the Southern Baptist tradition that I don’t believe in any more, if I was ever truly vested in it. My grandmother, the matriarch of our family–long gone but someone whom I idolize to this day–was a second mother to me. She took us in after my parents split and was my emotional go-to at a time when my mother, scrambling to recover, had no energy for me.

My grandmother talked in Bible-speak, constantly spouting verses and was relentlessly judgmental. She was a constant source of amusement to me and my cousins. When there was a thunderstorm, she would make us kids sit down quietly (more…)

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