1317 | Tabriz

A Fancied Dot

Mahmud Shabistari stands alone in a wide desert.

The past has flown away,
the coming month and year do not exist;
Ours only is the present’s tiny point.

Time is but a fancied dot ever moving on
which you have called a flowing river stream.

I am alone in a wide desert,
listening to the echo of strange noises.


Mahmud Shabistari

From “Time.” This poem is contained in Shabistari’s best-known work of Sufi poetry, Rose Garden of Mystery. Born in the late 1280s in a small town on the shores of Lake Urmia, in present-day Iran, the poet is believed to have been a religious scholar in Tabriz who also traveled to Egypt and Syria. Elsewhere in Rose Garden of Mystery, he wrote, “That man attains to the secret of unity/Who is not detained at the stages on the road.”