fatherly subtleties


fatherly subtleties

You know you’ve had a good father,
when he allows you to be yourself
when he’s alive
and when he passes,
all you want to do is be like him.

-Wesam El dahabi

Today, I missed you.
Whilst others see you in their dreams,
They only see you whilst asleep.
In every corner and crevice of my waking hour.

I find you in the hair on my forearms,
Did you know we share the same colour?

I feel it in the belly of my being,
This distant longing,
Of un-belonging,
Now I know why silence was the closest companion you had.

There’s much to be said,
About boys growing up,
With or without a picture of their father in front of them,
I don’t know if your passing will be my biggest growth spurt,
Or I will remained dwarfed here forever.

What I do know, is that forging an identity,
Is the most subtle art,
The softest paint stroke,
In a calligraphers brush.

Know when to press hard,
And when it is too much.

And somehow,
All the bravado,
All the pomp and high horsed-ness of a son,
Becomes what it is,
Because of the fathers silent dismount.

Aloof he trots, viewing nothing but himself,
And there he is gently caressing the ear of your horse,
With silent whispers.

A father knows,
When to take the limelight away from their son,
But mostly they are the light,
And the son never realises until they’re blinded.

When your father is alive,
You fight with every ounce of you to be your own man,
To be so unique,
A better and upgraded version.

These all come with the notion of your arrogance attached,
That somehow your father isn’t your ideal.

When He passes away,
You will skirmish every inch of your existence,
Just to be as he was,
To feel him one more time.

You want nothing more than to feel his being,
By complete imitation of what he did, how he was,
So you can be who he was for your son.


Dear Daughter


Dear daughter,

If you read this and I am no longer here to tell you myself, know that I will entrust your brothers and uncle with this will.

You will not be permitted to marry a self-absorbed arse-hole.
I don’t care how many houses he can buy you on different beach fronts in different countries. Or bracelets of gold, necklaces of pearls, believe me almond locks, he will not please you.

Know that since you could grasp a pen, you’ve been an artist. I watched you travel into your world and seat your soul there. You switch off and trance into your fingers, caressing pages, pen subservient to you, paper the altar of your souls sacrifice. You draw, you love it. I know it because like you I zone out into various arts. You’re me, introverted, happy to be on your own.

You’re a sensitive girl. I don’t know what life may throw at you and how you react, nor how it may harden or shape you, but I am telling you this to give you the treasure map back to your core,  that core is sensitivity.

You might get lost along the way; your experiences might drive you off the path, so we all need a compass. Some people go through life and have to struggle to learn where theirs is. I’m blueprinting it for you so you can shortcut back to your essence at a finger click.

Your true north will be buried deep into your DNA. It can’t go away, the purpose of DNA is to wire your whole being back to its reality. This is not only physiological, this is spiritual. You were born innate with it.

Don’t let a man convince you that true north is external. This is what is meant by misguidance, people who pull you away from truth, your truth, everyone’s truth that they were born with.

Live as a beggar if you must but be surrounded by love and truth. A beggar is nothing to look down on, if humankind had any sense they would realise that in their outstretched hand they receive kindness, beauty and selflessness of souls. Who in this world is receiving that in utter purity?

Things aren’t always what they seem, my teacher reminded me that everything that glitters is not gold, so I too will remind you.

Find a man who feels, a man who weeps at words, but can draw from them strength to protect you with the sword of his soul and grit of his teeth, he’ll gnash the heart out of anyone that comes to corrupt you or your children.

He should not be a meek man, he has to burn his back with labour should he need to, he has to stand in front of tyrants with a gaze so fierce he will stare them down. A lion only has to walk through the jungle for everything to be silent and still. So too should people be in awe of him, but let they be in love with him when they hear him speak and notice he is just and fair and does not transgress the laws of nature and men.

Let your husband be of wind, cool and tranquil to dry the sweat of necks of the farmers but a hurricane of destruction should anyone disturb societies peace.

You want that man who’s embrace will feel like he’s swallowed you whole and you would rather be devoured by him than be away from his watchful gaze for a moment. He must possess a mad jealousy over you, never to allow another man’s gaze to enter your realm.

He must teach your children love, art, poetry, music, physical culture and above all, in this chaotic world of worship of self, to worship God.

He must be willing to sully his nails with soil, know his eventual worth is only that, soil… We’re all soil.

You in turn must be his ever burning lamp, keep him awake and alert with your warmth. Keep him seeing when darkness might prevail. You have to keep this blueprint and refresh it so you can stay true to him.

My dearest almond locks, don’t settle for tongue prattlers, nor smooth actors. If you stay true to your blue print, he’ll be magnetically pulled towards you and you will know because all of societies rules will fall to the floor and you will not need to think about him. Your soul will decide for you.

He won’t be a nights deliberation, nor a week’s emancipation,
He’ll be faster than a moment’s hesitation,
A split second decision.

You’ll know, your soul will recognise him from the pre-world where all souls existed prior to the physical world. That sight is all you need and you’ll know.
If you have to think about it, it’s not him. Look elsewhere.

Don’t worry almond locks, even if the noise is too much and the colours are too bright and the map seems a blur, your brothers and uncle will know and their Lion souls will stare intruders away but recognise another Lion. They will welcome him into your kingdom.


Know, my sons.

code for my boys

Know my sons, men have codes.

Bravery is calling fear a liar.

Courage is proving fear a liar.

Chivalry, is knowing when to use courage or bravery.

Nobility is having the fortitude to follow through your conviction in both.

Honour is not straying from the code.

Honesty is the light that the code is illumed by

Truth is the gnawing at the soul that flat lines your ego.

Love is the energy that fuels all.

I hope that whatever I teach you or whatever I leave behind become firm foundations for you to build mountains upon and your progeny to build mountains on but no matter how mountainous you all may become, you remain grounded in the valleys of humility,

with people,

serving them,

being exemplar with the codes of being men,

of being human.

Do not forget that to be harsh when it is needed even in the face of relentless scrutiny is far nobler than laxity to please the lazy folk,

the unmotivated,

the detached,

the deprived of soul.

Know that kindness and gentleness in the face of a storm of violence and ridicule is more praiseworthy than siding with the masses.

Do not slip boys,

Hold to each other,

Hold to the above codes.



Not my allegory, story or anecdote but a brilliant read.

A boat was docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village.

A tourist complimented the local fishermen on the quality of their fish and… asked how long it took to catch them.

“Not very long” they answered in unison.

“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?”

The fishermen explained that their small catches were sufficient to meet their needs and those of their families.

“But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take siestas with our wives. In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs.
We have a full life.”

The tourist interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?”

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. 
Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City!!! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?”

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years.” replied the tourist.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the tourist, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the fishermen.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”

“With all due respect sir, but that’s exactly what we are doing now. So what’s the point wasting twenty-five years?” asked the Mexicans.

And the moral of this story is:

Know where you’re going in life, you may already be there! Many times in life, money is not everything.

“Live your life before life becomes lifeless”

Ode to father carries on



Continued from: Here


Now that I’m drained, now that he’s drained, bare, naked and stripped of our attributes. Attributes that kept us upright, but here we find ourselves fallen, ironically towards each other, two towers leaning on each other and yet holding each other up. That’s what it took. A baring of our sacredness, a stripping of our egos, no fight left in us both, guards down, ready to cop it on the chin and embrace it, embrace each other, even so, chins exposed, none have the power to knock the other out, none have the power to even throw a one, two. The array of combinations we’d let loose before, and now, nothing, both satisfied not to hurt the other.

I can see his humanity, always have, I couldn’t admit it. He never saw mine, so how could he admit to something he knew not about? I had to write the first ode, I had to let him know I saw him. I had to let him know I saw that he thought that no one saw him. How many fathers are like him, toil away and none of what they do gets noticed, gets written about, gets exalted. Oh the station mothers have enjoyed, and the deprivation the fathers have endured, this is not fairness, this is short sightedness, this is human shortcoming.

The tears that don’t stream down their cheeks burn pathways in their hearts as they hold themselves together as forts. Sixty six years is enough, eventually it burned down into his bowel. The pain of not being seen. Not only by me, my family, but his direct family.

Now illness manifest, reality cannot lay dormant and like the lion that it is, it roars and wakens the jungle of ignorance up. His family can hear, can see, can feel. They all flock to him, his illness an expiation for all. We know man is expiated for his sins even if a thorn to afflict him. My fathers illness expiated everyone as they all flocked to him, eyes in hands, catching their tears as they acknowledged him.
His illness returned their sight, his illness broadened mine.

I made sure my mother read and translated the first ode to him. When I came home that day, he had tears in his eyes, he begged and asked me how I knew, how I saw. I later found out that he and my mother wept together as they read it.

Maybe my job as a son was to document some of his accomplishments. So many men are remembered with their life’s work when they pass. Artists, writers, gnostics and so. Superficially he is none of these. Hidden and un-manifest, he is all. His craftsmanship, his prose and his art, was sacrifice. It wasn’t relegated to a material thing, something bought and sold, marvelled at on the walls of the mundanely inspired, no his life work was – passing on life. Chiselling away at himself to give to me, to my brother, to my sister and now to our children, he continues a new generation. Bits and pieces falling from him, and into our bellies. We are fortunate to see it, we are fortunate to be aware.

So here I stand, attempting to put into words but failing, how do I write about being a human? I cannot, the only way is to do as he did, sacrifice, pass on the bits of myself, chisel away, chipping until someone grabs a remnant and keeps it alive.

I have a lineal record of all my ancestry. We’re of noble blood, but noble blood means nothing without action. It cannot save me, only sacrifice will save me. Letting go of all the unsightly traits, the soil that is not presentable before God. Perhaps that is why my father preferred the company of the earth rather than of men. A reminder of what soil is beneficial and what soils us.The life giving soil and the soil that is ugly and not fit to present in front of His Majesty.

His health improved, for a week. I couldn’t believe it. Slowly but surely he digressed back and other ailments took over. My fear of exposing him to the myriad of unnecessary tests and prodding, of poking around and enticing. I know what happens to the body when you push and push. I’ve been there, self inflicted I push until something goes pop. Something always goes pop. So a few weeks later he’s back in hospital, his body drained. God’s work, God’s way of reminding us all who we are. Pray dad, pray. Nothing else matters except your devotion. Stay devoted. Stay true. It’s hard though with your body and carnal self calling the opposite way. ‘Don’t worry’, they say, ‘God is forgiving, just indulge’. Oh the oft demanding self. It clings on to every opportunity of weakness to keep you abased. Our masters have taught us to talk to it, to demand of it, to command it, to whip it into submission and servitude to us so that as a whole we can remain in servitude to our Lord.

The next saga begins, trying to make sense of it all as a scientist sifts through real data and pseudo data, as an investigator skirmishes through every last bit of observable evidence and delves deeper into his gut. There’s that line. That line I have to cross where I tap into a different unobservable realm to make a decision for him, for me, for us all. I can feel the weight on my shoulders. This is not going to be easy.


Ego downgrade



One of the most destructive things you can do as a parent is to never check your child’s ego. You then raise a person that grows to be a spoiled brat well into their adult life. A monster that everyone has to step out of the way for as their ego fills the room and bulldozes all that is in front.

They make lousy spouses, lousy employees and indecent human beings that run through life with blinders on, tunnel visioned in their ignorance of people around them. If you haven’t been taught from a young age about how to subdue your ego, do yourself a favour and pick up a book or two by the great Muslim Sufi scholars who are the masters that carried on the traditions of Islam in teaching appropriate human mannerisms and thorough character development to benefit yourself and mankind.

Ode to father – part 1


Scars are my tattoos, I pride myself in them but I don’t go out of my way to get them.
No ink and colour to express myself, feel comfortable in or beneath my skin. I learned this from a more exemplar man. I look at my father’s hands. He’s real bad ass, doesn’t need tats.
The fabric of the earth perfumed with his blood, yes, that olive tree still wails for him. Forty years after he traversed the earth away from it

Because his blood runs through the earth’s veins and when he gently prunes the roses twelve thousand kilometres away, the rose stems bend to him and becomes a bashful girl in the arms of her lover. The soil which nourishes that rose courses through from the olive tree beneath the Cedar Mountains of Lebanon and finds him in an Australian garden.
He treads lightly on the earth like God describes the believers in the Quran. Treading lightly meaning both literally, forward bent, head bowed in shame not of anything or anyone but in awe of God, nomadic movements without foot print and he moves spiritually by not burdening its resources and he is infatuated by Gods beauty made manifest through his creation, thus treating it kindly and with love as one does his maiden love on their first night.
His actions are gentle and loving but his hands have strength and power, the earth, winds, water and fire are summoned and rush to his aid in obedience to God’s promise, “When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hands with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks…..”, simply because he practises what he knows and one need not know much to practise more.
No, he doesn’t have ink stained skin but he has a love stained and scarred heart. He has scars for tattoos and he taught me that they are tougher than ink tattoos, far more expressive, tell a thousand stories more and have oceans of character deeper than a cheap monetary exchange for a murial stabbed into your skin just because you chose so. You can’t decide to have character, you earn it. You can’t buy toughness, you suffer for it.

Want to be tough? Show me the fabric of your soul, the mettle of your make-up, not the bill for your ink.

My father is pure like the earth. A man of knowledge said of sages being like the earth, ‘Dung is flung on to the earth and flowers spring forth’, so too do sages get put through the worst of trials and tribulations, yet only beauty comes out of them. My father is purer, he is the earth embodiment, true to his nature, he knows the land, and it haunts him, always reminding him to come back. His love affair with it is not because of a leisurely hobby like fascination, it’s not on his Facebook likes, it’s because he knows where he came from and he knows where he is returning. He can take life’s blows because he’s already felt the earth’s cry, had the blood of saints and prophets beneath his feet and all he will do is continue to blossom until his time it is to re-join the elements.
My father doesn’t have tats, he has scars, he has soil beneath his nails and he sweats an earthly perfume from his brow. Those men, those women who know this way are few and far between. I implore you, find them, learn from them, eat a mouthful from their hand, lest their state may be passed on to you and you carry on this tradition.
I started by telling you about my scars, but I only have scars because I was allowed to enjoy myself by engaging in my passions, my leisurely activities and hobbies. My scars are lame compared to my fathers. My scars are from play, his scars are from life.

We are raised to believe that scars are ugly, they make perfect skin imperfect. They make handsome features grotesque or feminine soft skin tough and masculine, as if to stigmatise these at polar extremes to one another, unable to reconcile them as being able to exist with one another. Scars are the absolute distilled definition of beauty manifest. They tell stories of work, love and labour. They tell stories of struggle, pain and endurance. The scar on the heart of a person who has loved is not the same as the person who only speaks of love but never had their heart broken and had to mend it again. There is a reason why a scar is a physiological adaptation to stress, and forms the way it does. It makes the area more resilient, it toughens the area making it oblivious to further damage whilst at the same time increases its threshold. The body intelligently knows that to become stronger, it must change its basic structure. A scar is the beautiful and intelligent way the body naturally reforms itself. A scared heart is one that can now take more, love more, feel more, see more, share more, understand more, endure more, persevere more and be more patient. A heart devoid of scars is just an organ. But it takes incredible character and wisdom to allow a scarred heart to remain open and flexible, not closed and tight.

End: part one.