The Last Third of the Night by Marryam Haleem

This poem is from cageprisoners.

Marryam Haleem has a blog here.

In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Mercy-giving


The Guantanamo Bay

Detainees who, I pray,

Will stay on the straight path

And never dismay

Of God’s reward on the Last Day

The Last Third of the Night

Curled on my side

Cheek soft on my pillow

I listen, wide-eyed,

To the crickets chirping

Constant, ceaseless, unending

So unaffected by my heart-rending

Thoughts that are

Constant, ceaseless, unending

On his back, he lays

On a hard board

Listening to the waves

Rush in roaring

Constant, ceaseless, unending

So removed, uncomprehending

Of his heartbeats that are

Constant, ceaseless, unending

I rise from bed

Fixing my mind

On a kind of relief

That will ease my plight.

It is, I know, the last third of the night

Unknown to him,

The sun has risen

Over his prison.

Grim, he gazes at the walls,

So hard, impenetrable, so deaf to his calls

Alone, I stand,

Raise my empty hands,

Fold them across my chest

Over my heart’s distress

So constant, ceaseless, unending

With nothing to his name,

His heart’s all aflame,

Filled with hopelessness.

The worst, though, is his loneliness

So constant, ceaseless, unending

I whisper words so soft,

Melodious and sweet

Of divine guidance,

So comforting, complete

And constant, ceaseless, unending

He sits up sharply. Tense,

Face flushed with fear

Ears pricked to the shouts

And the thumps as they jeer

Constant, ceaseless, unending

I place my forehead

Gently against the cool floor:

O God, bless him I implore,

On him, your mercy, pour

Constant, ceaseless, unending

Enclosed upon, roughly grabbed

Beaten, thrown down

Body hits cold ground

They pound his face

Constant, ceaseless, unending

I turn my head, ending my prayer

Peace, creatures of light,

Ease replaces my despair:

They heard my calls; they care:

It is, after all,

The last third of the night

Shaken, heart and hands grope

The bloodied walls—still unmoved—

Retching, needing a way to cope

Humiliated, crying without hope.

No answer: just the waves

Unchanging, unaffected, removed


But then, at the Final Blast,

When all that’s penned has passed

All walls crumble to the floor

The crickets chirp no more

The hearts beat their last

The waves stop their roar

Then it will begin again.

This time, dear soul,

You will know

The sea heard your dismay

The walls did feel your plight

They will convey your suffering

Wrongs will be set aright

Angelic creatures of light

Will comfort you that Day

On your way to the Garden

But just so you know

Dear soul,

I too heard your calls

Feeling the pain you incurred,

And so, undeterred

I prayed for you,

Dear soul,

The last third of every night

By Marryam Haleem

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One Response to “The Last Third of the Night by Marryam Haleem”

  1. Musa Maguire Says:

    Look at you getting all prolific…now I have a lot of catch-up reading to do.

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