The Poet and the Prophet

For Salman Rushdie

I have been offered
and made my choice
and I have chosen
the kingdom of God—

People fantasize more
about what they can’t see

Lock the door
say your prayers
and the goblin would stay away

Roar of the great wakening juggernauts
rushing awesomely down this long
but narrow pathway

We got a poet in our midst

The strange fellow would appear
and recite a new poem—
each set of verses
lovelier than the last—

Where there is no belief
there is no blasphemy

I am your equal
and also your opposite—

the growth of tree into village
and village into tree—

I have been offered
and made my choice—
I recognize no jurisdiction
except that of my “Muse”

Author’s Note:  All words, phrases, and sentences used in this poem come from The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. Italics, line breaks, and stanza combinations are the poet’s.

Bänoo Zan is a poet, librettist, translator, teacher, editor and poetry curator, with more than 250 published poems and poetry-related pieces as well as three books including Songs of Exile and Letters to My Father. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Toronto’s most diverse and brave poetry reading and open mic series (inception: 2012). Bänoo is the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, Canada, Sept 2022-May 2023. Her social media links are: LinkedIn; Instagram; Facebook; Twitter. Read other articles by Bänoo.