Peter was the rock that crumbled, turning from his Lord.
That dearest canine instinct was lacking at the higher end.
Millenniums were required to hone the human heart,
Broken through betrayal by the lover, confident and friend,
Instructed by fidelity of furry mate and constant stars,
The sun ever-rising, the light on which we all depend.

Isfandiyar served his Master’s house as if it were his own.
When all had fled, he stood alone, the pillaged house laid bare,
Fearlessly he ventured out among the raging, vengeful herd,
The safety of His family first, their lives before his own.
Attending to their needs, trying to settle their affairs,
A prelude to the waves of devotion that would surge.

So many would be garnished with the badge of loyalty
As if the word had taken on a luster far beyond,
Incongruous to say, the usage commonly applied,
Once thought to be chimerical, now bona fide reality.
The Master kept a roster of those many precious lives.
This quality, in meek or strong, was that which He most prized.

Sádiq, whose name foretold the wonders of his constancy
Was driven through the streets like an animal to market.
Hunger and thirst could not defeat this battler at Tabarsí,
A faith no fire could consume, no cannonball could target.
Once freed from the dragon’s maw he’d enter in again,
Eloquent, unstoppable, defending his Belovéd.

Alí-Akbar, always first in line to be arrested,
No prison bars, no chains could undo his equanimity,
Waiting patiently for the hatchet to descend,
A knower and a lover, though plunged into the sea,
Enveloped in the flames, he was a stranger to calamity,
Impervious to the maelstrom, unwavering till the end.

Mishkín-Qalam, the artist unsurpassed in all the land,
Yet fame and veneration would proffer him no detriment,
The Most Great Name became the hallmark of his gifted hand.
Exiled and enchained, his only aim the presence of his Lord.
When freed, he winged his way to make the Most Great Prison home.
A bondsman at His door, to the miscreants a brandished sword.

Ismá’íl, the builder, renounced his enterprise and gain,
Obliged to leave his country, then lost his cherished wife.
They called him crazed, his trade now selling trinkets on a tray.
Attaining to the threshold of his Love, his one priority.
Rumi’s ode would succor him, he sang it through the lonely nights.
The Piper would enfold him, this tempered, hollow reed.

Salmán, the messenger, our Gabriel without the wings,
Through decades of endurance trekked the rutted, risky trail.
Fidelity his coat of arms, delivery without fail.
Mirzá Mustafá, of famous locks, would often bare his chest,
Tenacity the armor used, bemusing ruthless enemies,
Those howling, rabid dogs would be reduced to buzzing pests.

The Master mentioned many more, their names immortalized.
All refused to abandon their Belovéd, though the price was high.
Some changed their palaces for prison, some would give their lives.
Constancy, a mystic chemistry, of late has multiplied,
An oil that catches fire of itself, no need of outer flame,
Matchless in their fealty, trustworthy as the tides.