In this poem, I have attempted to dramatize a beautiful story
from the life of Hassan al-Basri.
The river broke its rush and slowed,
As frothy waters calmly flowed,
Where olive, palm and fig trees growed,
Stood Hassan and the other man.
And standing thus, Hassan perspired,
The journey had him very tired,
But its completion still required
Engaging with the ferry man.
Then in that good and blessed place,
The other turned his kindly face
And looked at Hassan full of grace,
"What keeps you though proceed you can?"
"The ferry boat is on its way",
Said Hassan with a sweet display
Of gentleness; the long delay
Would have worn down a lesser man.
The other served a rev'rent nod,
And in the name of the one God,
Upon the flowing river trod
While 'neath his feet the waters ran.
Two angel forms did Hassan see,
Make firm the pathway watery,
They kept the other company
Until he did the river span.
Then Hassan went back to his wait;
The ferry boat was surely late.
He then began to contemplate
An alternate to his day's plan.
The sun descended some degrees,
To hide behind the date palm trees,
Then with a mild and balmy breeze,
Arrived the poor, old ferry man.
"You're late, my man. What kept you so",
Feigned Hassan with an angry show,
Then listened to a tale of woe
As only men like Hassan can.
The other man was gaining ground,
When something made him turn around,
And look towards a tasbeeh sound,
That came from where the river ran:
A ferry boat was bathed in light,
Enshrouded in a column white,
Of angel ranks all shining bright,
Each waiting on the waiting man.