Sufism and Sensuality: A Deep Dive into Bá Sabouke’s A Meccan Spring – Ibraheem Uthman

The essence of poetry lies not merely in its words but in its ability to transport readers to uncharted territories, evoking emotions and thoughts buried deep within the human soul. Bá Sabouke’s A Meccan Spring is one of such literary journey that beckons readers to explore the interplay between spirituality and sensuality. Akin to “The Rain Is Like You” by Nasiba Babale, Bá Sabouke’s collection was also released by Konya Shansrumi as part of its GAZELLES series of multi-media poetry from selected poets.

A Meccan Spring is not a book for the faint of heart or the passive reader. It’s a collection that unearths the deeper layers of human consciousness, guiding us through an intricate maze of mysticism, desire, and the eternal quest for the divine. The title itself, “A Meccan Spring,” is evocative, conjuring images of rebirth and rejuvenation, akin to the changing of seasons or the blossoming of new life. It serves as a prelude to the extraordinary journey that awaits within the pages of this book.

Sabouke’s poetry resonates with a fusion of Sufism and eroticism, creating a balance between the spiritual and the sensual. As the reader delves into the verses, it becomes apparent that the poet’s exploration of these two seemingly contrasting realms is not an attempt to dichotomize them but to transcend such limitations. The beauty of this collection lies in its ability to bridge the gap between what is often perceived as the sacred and the profane, reminding us that they are not mutually exclusive but rather intertwined facets of human experience.

In the opening poem, “Sacred Bosom,” Sabouke thrusts us into the heart of his exploration. The poem alludes to Mansur al-Hallaj‘s daring proclamation of “Ana al-Haqq” (I am the Truth), a statement that led to his execution, and subsequently, his revered status among Sufis. Hallaj’s declaration echoes through the ages, challenging the conventional boundaries of identity and divinity.

“I looked at him and there’s no bulge in my pants,” Sabouke writes, immediately confronting the reader with the embodiment of desire. This raw, unapologetic admission sets the tone for the entire collection. In the same breath, the poet invokes the poetic wisdom that “in the woman’s body is the face of God.” Here, he melds desire and divinity, suggesting that the sensuality of the human experience is intertwined with the divine.

The poem continues with references to Laylat al-Qadr, the night of the first revelation, and the profound connection between human existence and the divine. The imagery of “the shivering and the return to the divine blanket hidden in the sacred bosom of Khadija” portrays a sensual yet spiritual journey. This poem, like Sabouke’s entire collection, hints at the mysticism of Sufi poetry, where earthly desire serves as a metaphor for spiritual longing.

Comparatively, this poem finds resonance in the works of renowned Persian mystic poets like Rumi and Hafez. Rumi’s “The Essential Rumi” and Hafez’s “The Gift” both explore the themes of divine love and the intoxicating influence of spirituality on the human soul. Sabouke, in “Sacred Bosom,” follows in their footsteps, blurring the lines between the material and the ethereal.

Seven Couplets for Madinah” is a poetic narrative that hints at the promise of miracles and divine intervention. The poem is infused with a sense of hope and expectation, painting a portrait of a future where miracles will be so profound that skepticism will be impossible.

The reference to Moses and Kidr’s prophecy of future miracles is reminiscent of the biblical tales of Moses parting the Red Sea and bringing forth water from a rock. Sabouke’s poem echoes the belief in the possibility of the extraordinary, suggesting that a time will come when even the most hardened skeptics will be compelled to believe in the miraculous.

In “This Path,” Sabouke takes a more intimate approach to his exploration of the human experience. The poem delves into the physical and emotional aspects of love, highlighting that the journey itself is the destination. It portrays love as a transformative force, awakening the senses and altering one’s path in life.

The concept of love as a transformative journey is not unique to Sabouke. The renowned Persian poet Attar, in his work “The Conference of the Birds,” presents a similar theme. The birds in Attar’s poem embark on a quest for the mythical Simurgh, and in doing so, they undergo a transformation that mirrors the inner journey of the soul. Similarly, Sabouke’s “This Path” is a testament to the transformative power of love and the profound changes it can instigate in the human heart.

“Balcony of Reason” delves into the intoxicating and mind-altering aspects of life. The poem invites readers to embrace the chaos and ecstasy of existence. The poet’s reference to a line written three hundred years ago, which seems to beckon readers to “jump off the balcony of reason,” emphasizes the allure of irrationality and sensuality.

Bá Sabouke’s work is not merely poetry; it is a testament to the transcendental power of the written word.

Ibraheem Uthman

Sabouke’s approach in this poem echoes the celebration of the human body, sensuality, and the connection between the physical and the spiritual. This poem encourages readers to embrace the sensory experiences of life and to delve into the intoxication of the senses.

Bearing of Truth” is a lamentation of the fading of daylight, symbolizing a loss of hope and faith. The poet’s inability to navigate the bearing of truth reflects the confusion and disorientation prevalent in a world where meaning appears to be slipping away. The poem serves as a cry for clarity and meaning in an increasingly chaotic world.

Sabouke’s work in this poem resonates with the existentialist themes often explored by renowned French philosopher and writer Albert Camus. In Camus’s “The Myth of Sisyphus,” he examines the human condition and the search for meaning in a seemingly absurd and indifferent universe. Sabouke’s “Bearing of Truth” reflects a similar sense of existential crisis, where the poet grapples with the absence of meaning in a world that appears to have lost its way.

In the final poem, “Master of Transgression,” Sabouke boldly declares his identity as a disciple of the “Master of Transgression.” The poem challenges traditional norms and beliefs, celebrating the sacred in the contours of the sensual. Sabouke’s fearless and unapologetic style forces readers to confront their own preconceptions.

Through “A Meccan Spring,” Bá Sabouke has crafted a poetic masterpiece that invites readers to traverse the boundary between desire and divinity. His work seamlessly weaves mysticism and sensuality into the human experience, challenging traditional norms and calling for a deeper exploration of the self. The collection reverberates with the echoes of mystical Sufi poets, like Rumi and Attar, who also embraced the transcendental nature of love and desire. Sabouke’s poems resonate with their timeless themes of divine love, transformation, and the sensual path to enlightenment.

Additionally, the reflections of Western literary figures like Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg are unmistakable in Sabouke’s daring exploration of sensuality and transgression. He challenges preconceptions, similar to Ginsberg’s provocative style, and embraces the sensual, akin to Whitman’s celebration of the human body.

Sabouke has elevated the art of poetry to a level of profound thought and introspection. His words are not mere text on pages but a gateway to a world where the spiritual and the sensual coexist in harmonious discord. It is a collection that demands careful, contemplative reading and rewards a deeper understanding of the enigmatic nature of human existence.

To read “A Meccan Spring” is to embark on a transformative journey, much like the Sufi quest for the divine, where the sacred and the sensual dance in a perpetual spring of desire and divinity. It is an invitation to plunge into the depths of one’s soul and explore the ever-mysterious realm of human consciousness. Bá Sabouke’s work is not merely poetry; it is a testament to the transcendental power of the written word.

Ibraheem Uthman is the author of the poetry collection “Mind of a Bard”, a two-time recipient of the National Library Prize, and the secretary of the Northern Writers Forum (NWF). Although he majors in the sciences, he considers himself first and foremost an artist whom the mechanics of literature and art inspired in general. In his spare time, he enjoys reading & writing poetry, programming, and contributing to open-source technology. His writings have been published and are forthcoming in various literary magazines and journals. He takes great pride in belonging to the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation.