Wool gave Sufis their name –
desert ascetics in their harsh prickly robes.
I wear my own hair shirt these days.
O how it pierces, bites and stifles!
Where once they went unnoticed, taken for granted
comes now the stings of my arrogance,
sanctimony and self-satisfaction, my disdainful envy,
the rash flaunting of my cleverness
and my own vaunted exceptionality.
O how now they chafe and bind when in retrospect
I compare my past (and current) sad posturing,
my feeble cloaked disguise
to the mute humility and renunciation
to which I so achingly aspire
and view so unequivocally as the next
fated stretch of the path set before me.
O child of God, self-knowledge is always painful
yet ultimately liberating in its prickly impracticality.