The Wandering Dog  [1]

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My lollen spine over this baked road
Under the burning Sun of my Self
My lolling tongue underneath
The flickering eyes of an astray dog
Wandering in search of a lost Master
My Master that once trekked along this road
The Searchless Resistless Sultan
Whose lingering Fragrance  [2]
Morphs every human into a yelping dog
When words within the skull effused
Into the hollers of a trembling mandible  [3]

That Fragrance the lure to every dog
Wandering upon this treacherous road
Head bowed in obeisance
Eyes that no longer behold
Legs that know not where to go
Yet underneath the Self’s scorching Sun
A Sun that never sets for you & I
The Moon of my Master’s Face
Drown deep within the luster of our lies
Eclipsed behind the earth of our betrayals

Alas! Squat this dog I am
Heart filled with the sandstorm of amnesia
Eyes filled with the pearls of sorrow
Whilst the quill of destiny dipped
Into this lost dog’s sandy tears
Inscribing upon the broken forehead
The epitaph of a love’s tale
The tale of that lost Beloved
The loss of that unforgettable Beloved
For this dog’s runny eyes squint
The sniffers for that lucent fragrance
Interrupted by mine uncontrollable yelps
Echoes within the stalactites of amnesia:
Who is that redolent Beloved?
The reverberation of the Divine Gales
Echoes back from the dunes cried
Cries from the stoic Dulcified Lips: [4]
“Say: IT is Allah, The Ahad!”
Ah! That Name
The Name of that One!
The Name of that Un-copyable One
The Name of that Un-addressable One
The Name of that Un-fathomable One
The Name of no other!
Not the name of someone or something
But the name etched deep upon mine collar.
At last I am the lost dog of That Name
The name like no other
That Name the fountain
What fountain?
The Ocean! [5]
Where the lovers are its waves
Billowing upon the shores of broken hearts
The Ocean where the lovers dive
To snatch the pearls of Divine Love
The ocean where
The divers, the waves and the pearls
Are all one and the same!

I am half dog and half emptiness
The growl of my belly
The holler of my screams
Thirsting, hungering facing
This moment that is upon I
This clarity away from all lies
This emaciation gnawing at my Self
This emancipation unchaining from my Self
The pangs of mine hunger
The ears for mine empty heart:
“Allah is Samad”
O You the Noble One
Who hungers not whilst feeding ‘all else’ 
The Eternal Master of ‘all else’
The Everlasting Overlord
The Immovable Governor
The Immutable Sultan
The Incorruptible King
Whose Divine Dominion
Transferable to none else

I have been upon this road
I have been down this road
I have been along this road
Seeking yearning for someone
Hollering for something
Forsooth found nothing
And no one in relations to You:
“Did not beget nor is begotten”
All perfumed with the fragrance
Redolent of Your Beginness
Yet ‘all else’ endued ‘so far’
‘All else’ so alien
Yet ‘all else’ nothing but Your Scent

Show me!
Show me now!
Something similar
Something to quench
Mine dried lolling tongue
And against my throbbing chest
Like that of a harsh whetstone
Do sharpen the saber of Your Love
Strike hard at this dog’s heart
Endow me with the sting of Your blade
Alas! Perchance something of Yours
Be it a gashed wound [6]
Or a frightful swoon
Might venture close to this dying dog
And yet upon the dust of Your Steps
Mine blind eyes read the Lucent Writ:
“And none else is similar to IT
This is the absolute end
And I curse my ‘Self’:
That sordid of a veil
That cloak between You & I 
That shroud of all ugliness
Blinding mine sight
The vapid eyes that never saw
Not one glimmer of Yours
The rabid dog that never was
Except by the love of Yours


[1] I believe that Sheikh Kamal Khojandi, a Tajik Sufi poet, was the first who innovated the poetic concept of a dog for a Sufi. This innovation is motivated by a loyal dog awaiting the arrival of the lost master, a master so much loved by it that the dog/Sufi is completely preoccupied with the anticipated arrival of the beloved master, yet at the same time the dog is aware of the implausibility of such arrival. To this class of Sufis, such a dog-like status is an honor bestowed upon very few ‘elect’ from That Divine Beloved, and in no way they are willing to exchange that status with the false honors of the life of this world.

Of course as always there is a Koranic image that has established the spiritual meaning behind the dog symbolism:

If it had been Our will, We should have elevated him with Our signs; but he inclined to the earth, and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog: if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our signs; So relate the story; perchance they may reflect. (Koran [7:176])

[2] Fragrance is a Sufi code-word, meaning a sensation that is omni-directional i.e. you sense something but you cannot discern the direction it is coming from to locate the source.

[3] ‘yelps’ and so on are indicative of the rudeness of humanity facing the Divine Presence. What we consider as elegant soliloquies or poems written for That Divine Beloved in comparison to Hus (ITs) Beauty is nothing but annoying barks of dogs. Be not proud!

[4] ‘sugary lips’ or lips in general are Sufi Farsi code-words for the source of Divine Revelation be it an angel or a prophet or a messenger. 

This ocean is the ocean of Tauheed (Divine Oneness) where no one can cross or to go ashore in this life in any form or manner. All one can do is to drown within its waves, and some Sufis see the Creation as nothing but the waves upon the surface of this Ocean of Oneness. Indeed the waves are the ocean and the ocean the waves. The contradiction is within human logic not within this Divine Ocean of Oneness.

[6] Sufi believes that Hu (IT) is the singular power that can break his heart! And the heartache is nothing but an indication that That Divine Beloved has come very close to his heart! So even if that pain is the only violable option for the Sufi to feel the Divine Presence, then so be it!


Background: Fernando Zarur

© 2004-2002,  Dara O. Shayda