Oscar Wilde Meets Ahmed Al Alawi

In my imaginings, in 1893

Oscar Wilde meets Ahmed Al Alawi

Wilde is on a search for a harem

With Lord Alfred in the streets of Mostaganem

Then above the town, a tempest tossed

Wilde can’t see his lover; Alfred is lost

And in the churning rain, Wilde sees a light

Emanating from a house there on the right

He bounds towards it, thinking of Alfred

Where has my lover gone? He frets and dreads.

And so he enters this humble abode

A simple dwelling glimmering on the road

The door is left ajar; richly shines sunlight

Strange, he thinks, at this time of night

He enters, wondering of this strange sun

Hidden within this house, how is this done?

Then in a room, sitting still, upright

Oscar sees a man encircled by light

A soft white turban crowning his head

And skinny as a rake, he’s hardly fed

But strange! O strange! The sunlight in his face

Somehow in this room from outer space!

Wilde intrigued, now speaks to him in French

Here is a translation of their sense

Wilde begins: “Why greetings my dear fellow!

I have a problem I want to let you know!”

“Welcome my friend,” proclaims Al Alawi

A far look in his eyes, his voice friendly.

Wilde erupts: “I’ve lost my loving friend

Somewhere within this storm; around the bend

I cannot live whilst he is there exposed

And I am safe in separation’s throes

But tell me my dear man what of this light

Which rises like the sun in this dire night?”

Shaykh Al Alawi with piercing eyes

“It is the light of One,” he just replies

“Who or what is One? What do you mean?”

Oscar speaks and more he is intrigued.

“The Presence Absolute; the Only Light

The One True Being shines right through my sight”

Speaks Al Alawi, with overwhelming peace

Oscar thinks- this is nothing like our priests…

“How do I find this light of which you speak?

How do I feel this Oneness so to speak?”

Al Alawi replies: “You must divest

From love of things and people that transgress

The sacred law and balance of the earth

Then you’ll feel this light which comes from birth.”

Oscar Wilde dismisses and decries:

“How can you say that, don’t you understand

I love Sir Alfred though he be a man

And isn’t love what makes the planets turn

How can you censure me as my heart burns?”

“You asked me how to realise the Light

It’s up to you to do what you think right

If you can shun aside love of this world

Everywhere you step, you’ll find a pearl

If you can say the Name on everything

From name to Named you’ll shift, you’ll soar with wings

When He who’s Named effulges through your heart

His love will radiate; and fears depart

His light will shine through you as will the meanings

The sensory will no longer be deceiving

But if you seek Him, you must sacrifice

This love you hold for people of this life

So purge the love of him whom you adore

And filter it upon the sacred law.”

Oscar says: “dear sir how can I seal

This love I feel for him, for me it’s real.

How can I live with authenticity?

If I deny this love inside of me?”

“Well brother,” replies Shaykh Al Alawi

“For me there’s only one reality

Which scintillates the eyes of our true hearts

Which highlights truth and falsehood so apart

For me the ocean merges in the drops

For me the One illumines, and never stops

For me, I read the Name on everything

And every person until there is nothing

And now through Him I live as you can see

So choose the temporal or infinity…”

The tempest ebbs and now the sky is clear

Oscar Wilde now finds this man so queer

“Thanks for your time, dear sir,” and off he goes

In the distance, Alfred waves and glows

In the house, Al Alawi just prays

The Names of Him reveal and interplay