You are currently viewing “Billowing” by Medina Tenour Whiteman

“Billowing” by Medina Tenour Whiteman


Medina Tenour Whiteman


With my son cradled

                 in sleep’s arm-boat

I switch my thoughts

                 from idle chatter to 

Surat al-Ikhlas and feel my 

                 being billow out

in gold embroidered 




We glide; a swell of

                   wonderment picks up, 

impels our craft into the 

                   surf and through, 

aimed for our vanishing 




That is a moment’s

                    glimpse of one 

momentous being who 

                     never ceased to

surge into the Now,

                      setting a course by 

stars embedded in his fabric.



This was a being who,

                      so inspired with all the 

heavens’ breaths that there was 

                      no room left in him for

anything earth-heavy.



On land, his wife had said he was 

                     the Recitation walking;

out here, though, where

                     earth melts to water and 

clouds sponge the

                     stars’ geometry to grey

there is no doubt

                     —the words he channelled

tidal in my chest—

                      that he, God’s peace and 

blessings be with him, 

                   is sailing.

Love is a Traveller and We are its Path by Medina Tenour Whiteman

This poem appears in Love is a Traveller and We are its Path by Medina Tenour Whiteman

“With Medina Whiteman’s lively, metamorphosing voice, we have here finely detailed poetic stances on whatever attracts her and her pen, and her heart is here, and its centripetal ripples edge out to our own world and wash over it as if with our own sensibilities — and it is a welcoming thing, a sweet and healing thing to know these enlightened trails.”

– Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore (Poet, Publisher)

“‘Love is a Traveller and We are Its Path’ is an astonishing, accomplished, heartbreakingly beautiful work. Ms. Whiteman writes as a girl, a woman, a mother, and a wide-eyed, reflective observer of her world — as seeker, believer and sage. For her God is truly in the details. Each observation, whether earthy or supernal, is internalized and suffused with a piercing awareness of meaning, and a deep, abiding faith that shines through a world full of mundane and transcendent particulars.”

– Michael Sugich (author of Signs on the Horizons)

Medina Tenour Whiteman

Medina Tenour Whiteman is a British-American Muslim writer, poet and singer based near Granada in Spain. She is the author of the poetry collection Love is a Traveller and We Are Its Path (Ecstatic Exchange, 2016), Huma’s Travel Guide to Islamic Spain (2016), and The Invisible Muslim: Journeys Through Whiteness and Islam (Hurst, 2020). Her work has appeared on BBC Radio, Critical Muslim, Sacred Footsteps, Amaliah, and other international platforms, as well as being anthologised in A Kaleidoscope of Stories by Lote Tree Press (2020), The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human (2024), and Meanderings: Art, Ecology and Metaphysic (2024). She is cofounder of the Muslim Writers’ Salon and regularly holds creative writing workshops online and in person.

Join us on 23rd April at 6pm BST for a free online poetry book reading of Love is a Traveller and We are its Path with Medina Tenour Whiteman.

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