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Faisal Mohyuddin reads his poem, “The Faces of the Holy”.

Faisal Mohyuddin:

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My name is Faisal Mohyuddin and I'm going to read a poem from my own collection called "The Faces of the Holy" and it's an acrostic poem that's dedicated to Helen Degen Cohen who is a poet originally from Poland who survived the Holocaust and moved to Chicago and became a mentor of mine and I wrote it as a tribute to her after her passing a few years ago.

The Faces of the Holy
for heaven loves the struggle an the brave 
faces of fiction, and no one
no one will look upon the holy, for 
the face of the holy is ashes and smoke.

-from 'The Faces, Up, There' by Helen Degen Cohen

How can the human heart, without ripping apart at the seams,
Ever house the immeasurable heartache of one's own history? Every
Life carries a library of loss, dark corridors lined with the never-
Ending almanacs of tragedy, yes. But where are the ones whose holy
Nature compels them to sing of the ashes and smoke, to render

Destruction into something worth remembering, perhaps
Even beautiful when held against the fire?  They walk amongst us,
Guided the voices of the dead, collecting windswept scraps of grief,
Exhuming from the silences the skeletal remains of ancestors whose
Names must be invented, reanimated by language.  And as poets

Communing every night with the angels of history, heaven
Opens its gates for them,gives each a turn to glance inside, to touch
Hands with the lost, to hear the unutterable prayers of the living
Echoing through their own yearning, even in death.  This is what we
Now know is holiness, to heal the unhealable anguish of others.