Via Basel: Male Spirit Retreat: Grandpa

Mahbubur Rahman

Reading and writing poetry was one of the activities during a Male Spirit retreat I attended a couple of weekends ago. We were asked to write one about a painful childhood memory. Being a new grandfather I recalled my own beloved one, a soft spoken, gentle yet strong man from a long time ago in Baghdad. Hence this poem :


Small packed church, solemn evening service.
The faithful spill out into the courtyard.
Released, disorder reigns.
Detached, unhinged as a boat from its mooring,
Shaking, his young heart pounding,
the little boy yells…GrandpaGraaanpa!!

Crowd disappears,
panic descends. Overwhelms.
Short legs racing furiously,
dark streets and alleys,
menacing shadows
following, closing in.

A firm hand lands on his shoulder.
He recognizes it.

Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Chris Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family, and now he will have more time for that. And for the next adventure.

Sophie Rosalind, the Grandchild!

Via Basel: Patriarch

Via Basel: Male Spirit Retreat


One response to “Via Basel: Male Spirit Retreat: Grandpa”

  1. Joe Kilikevice says:

    Thanks Basel, Yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. Your poem remembering your Grandpa’s funeral is so tender and lovely. Children have experiences that last a lifetime. Loss and grief, though painful and sad, have much to teach us, including kindness. May we all recognize the hand on our shoulder that arrives just when we need it most, and remember that we are never alone even when it seems that we are. Joe

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