To My Dear Habib

Five months ago for the last time on this earthly plane,
I basked in the attentions of your cherished company.
The anguish that belied my calm demeanor was exposed.
The last chance for my battered heart to share with you its woes.
As always, you were careful to protect my dignity.

It’s the Covenant, Habib, that vast, majestic ocean,
That lofty wall that looms unassailable before me.
And in my darkest hour of wavering devotion
The frightening force and rage that could throw me on the sand –
Gasping for the breath of life, deprived by my own hand.

We are birds of a feather, you and me, Habib.
Impatient, sometimes prematurely jumping from the nest,
To satisfy desires that could deliver us to death.
Yet you, kind friend, were always there, helping me to see,
That cows, and birds and fish are the lords of liberty.

We shared the same desire, to get the wagon rolling.
To push and shove and get it done, with full determination,
No obstacle could hinder if the mandate’s from above.
Seize the opportunities, the Guardian would approve.
He said we cannot vacillate, there is no time to lose.

The Divine Plan is our compass, on that we all agree.
The institutions there to help, but not to do our pleasure.
Not to wield approval, not to castigate
. Not to hamper us, but to set the tiller straight.
It has always been that way and always will it be.

But what of those, who like you and me, date back to earlier days,
When Plans once read were liable to myriad applications,
When parameters were open and the guidance less precise.
. No borders on the map or any other limitations.
Cowboys in the wild, where only courage would suffice.

Now the guidance from the House must be our daily bread.
Read constantly or memorized, the message in our head.
Relatively speaking, the field of battle’s been compressed.
The targets more defined, but the labor is no less.
Transition is the reckoner, the apex of all tests.

Still, all ideas are welcome and enterprise well-favored,
Within the framework of the guidance, nothing to detain us.
Why then feel over-looked and sometimes even chastened?
It’s understood the old guard wants to serve, to have its say.
But how to keep short-sightedness from getting in the way?

Yes to new blood, yes to youth, to everything pursued.
Let’s be there to sustain them, to ensure their passage through.
It’s the “modus operandi” that God has always used.
The fallen leaves assure the saplings growth to greater heights.
Its evolution, undeterred. It cannot be disproved.

Shortly after your demise the House sent us a message.
They mentioned some heroic deeds – her Highness Martha Root –
But they also spoke so lovingly of other unsung heroes.
The admiration that they felt for ordinary folks,
The busy ants, the worker bees, the likes of you and me.

They spoke of those who for their Love were persecuted, jailed.
Those who took on prejudice and painful isolation.
Loneliness in foreign lands, an abundance of privation.
They spoke of those who cultivated the coming generations.
Those who till their last breath served and knew no hesitation.

The tears that filled my eyes, would’ve filled yours too.
It’s as if they knew our minds and saw the stark reality
Of our remaining years: the crumbling of confidence, the spent-up energy,
The waning aspirations, the injuries unhealed.
And all along we had assumed our secrets were concealed.

Those twilight secrets may be kept from everyone but us.
To know God is to know ourselves, to pin point our condition.
But, oh what courage it requires to shine the naked light
Into the corners of the soul, to face the work undone,
Lay bare the not so noble deeds, expose the hearts ambition.

But our ambitious efforts were no quixotic schemes.
Our highest motivation: to do our best for our Beloved.
Not to elevate ourselves, or promulgate our dreams,
No aspiring to self-renown, no finessing self-promotion.
But certainly, to register the depths of our devotion.

And if our footprint was to last, we’d have to forge ahead.
The path of high endeavor, the only one to tread.
If our ideas were not embraced, we’d go it all alone.
How could we let them go to waste? The warrior path we chose,
No lesser vision to impede us, no other will imposed.

Then through our tearful prayers come the stinging accusations.
Is it lack of interest or maybe lack of love? Are they over-looking
The battles that we’ve won? Is adherence to the Plan what’s gotten in the way?
Is their rejection envy of everything we’ve done?
The lapses in our reasoning have filled us with dismay.

We are the steadfast, towering oaks, solid to the core,
Surrounded by the tender herbs and multi-colored flowers
That sway and bend in the gentle wind according to His will.
It’s you, Habib, who taught me that God’s gift in every age
Is a Messenger Who comes to bring the garden to fruition.

His gentle voice beseeching us to love Him and submit
To His command, for if the tree cannot produce this fruit,
It’s only fit for kindling and how sad it is to say,
That any feat of knowledge or accomplishment will vanish.
The fire will consume it and its ashes blow away.

Let not a lifetime of exertion blind us to the present,
Let not the fruits of our endeavors wither on the vine,
God forbid the harvests of our days be turned to ashes,
Our efforts be forgotten, our acceptance be denied.
Let His mercy harbor us, His graciousness provide.

What irony, Habib, that our achievement most sublime
Is to bow down like a willow, our impotence confess.
To have a pristine heart, devoid of all desire.
To consecrate our will to His. He asks for nothing less.
Is there any higher goal to which we can aspire?

And if we do conform to the mystic algorithm,
If our movement and our stillness be attuned to its decree,
What destiny awaits us, having made this free decision?
We’re heading toward a state that even Darwin couldn’t see.
To a novel and elusive permutation: unity