Tiel Aisha AnsariĀ 


Dervish Lion

A wind comes howling across the prairie
blowing dust in front of it like a wall.
Wind, dervish wind
what makes you so loud?

"I have no voice, I am nothing
nothing but the hot breath of the sun."

A mountain stands on the horizon
breeding clouds at its shoulders and holding up the sky.
Mountain, dervish mountain
what makes you so strong?

"I have no power, I am nothing
nothing but the stillness of the earth."

The waves rush in and fill the sands with salt
and they carry the dead wood far out to sea.
Tide, dervish tide
what makes you so restless?

"I have no motion, I am nothing
nothing but the cold dance of the moon."

A lion paces the sand with ozone crackling in his mane
and streaks of blood on his hollow flanks.
Lion, dervish lion
what makes you so hungry?
He springs and knocks me to the ground!
The dervish lion roars:

nothing but the hunger of your heart for Allah!"



Tiel Aisha Ansari is a Sufi warrior poet. Her work has been featured by Fault Lines Poetry, Windfall, KBOO and Prairie Home Companion among others. Her books include Knocking from Inside and High-Voltage Lines. She works as a data analyst for the Portland Public School district and currently serves as president of the Oregon Poetry Association. Visit her online at knockingfrominside.blogspot.com