poetry written by the nile


by Alfred Steven Greenberg
Small Heading

when you knelt down to pray

We were sitting there at the table

Speaking casually of many things

At the café set out among the stars

Where fields meet mountains

And mountains touch skies

And trees touch earth

And suddenly,

Yet casually

You excused yourself

Your motions were graceful

As you moved along with what seemed to be

The stirrings of the wind

And took the small mat that was carefully folded over the chair

And lay it on the muddy earth

Then neatly placing your feet at the outer fringes of the mat

And placing your arms across your chest

you cast your eyes downward

And then instantly

So naturally, you took me with you into the presence of the Holy

I sat motionless in my seat

Not wanting to make a move

Not wanting to lose one precious second of this moment

I had never seen anyone pray

In such a manner

Making the ordinary café a


And filling it with Holy light

You softly uttered some words

And while

you were not conscious of my presence at all


The humility with which you prayed

left me feeling naked,

I was impacted

And I was reminded that I am a mere speck upon this great earth

where we are all just little children of one same father

And that the presence of the holy one can be invoked anywhere

At any time

My first impulse 

Was to bow my head softly and join you

I felt light

I felt cleansed

I felt comforted

I felt revived

I felt closer to you

I felt closer to that sky, those mountains, that earth

As if the walls had been stripped down

Any barriers between us demolished

Not by anything we had done

But by the humble power of your prayer

As you knelt down on the mat

I saw you as another man

And you weren’t pretending to be anything

And you didn’t care what I thought

And you weren’t doing it for show

As I read your body language

It told me a story of devotion

And a living relationship

With the God whose majesty reigns over the whole earth

And as your face bowed to touch the little prayer mat

And you bowed to your God in adoration

And supplication

A spirit of humility perfumed the air

And I was astounded

As even though you looked so little and humble

I saw you as a bigger man

And I felt a love for you and for your God

You didn’t hurry your prayer

Because I was there

But just took your time

As If I wasn’t there

And the endless facets of the prayer

Were like being drawn into the plot of a fantastic movie

And even though it was a silent prayer

your body spoke,

Your outstretched hands spoke

The look in your eyes spoke

Your bended knee spoke,

And I was drawn into a bigger picture

And by being there

You introduced me to your God

Without words

In such a gentle introduction

But more powerful than any I had ever known

I love the way you pray

Because it calms my troubled and weary soul

And teaches me that all will be OK

It brings me back to my source

And instructs me of a fresh new way of approaching my God

When you knelt down to pray

I was enfolded in wings of love

I sensed the heavenly

It brought the world of the material and the

World of the spiritual and melded them together

As if daily life should flow always in such rhythms

I was made to feel naked

In a good way

And stripped of any

Worldly pretense

I was made to realize that the natural way

Is -the way

I feel a sense of conviction that I need to invoke God’s presence

More often during the day

When you knelt down to pray

You blessed me

And made me part of your family

And for that

I thank you

If time stood still

If time stood still

And here and now was all there is

And I could lay down my burden

And I could finally heave a big sigh of relief

And just breathe


If time stood still

And I had millennia to just think and ponder

where grass was feathery soft beneath my feet

And the air was cool and pleasant upon my face

I would while the days away in nothingness

And I would release my cares to the wind


If time stood still

I would empty my hand of all that I possess

And I would undress my soul of its burdens

And lay them aside

Warm colors would fall in soft reflections upon the mountains around me

Angels’ wings would lift me up to healing fountains

And I wouldn’t have to be anywhere

Just be

And I could begin to understand

When I finally stopped my mad rushing


If time stood still

I could remove its constraints

Like an old worn out winter coat

And I would madly love you forever

And never feel guilty for love’s indulgences

But would throw myself away with abandon

 to an eternal love


If time stood still

I would slip through into

Another dimension

That lies side by side next to this one

I would escape there and swim in my fantasies

And not even think where those waters would take me