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OCTOBER 1, 2010 5:09PM

The Well Dipper's Lament

Rate: 17 Flag

The well dipper sits huddled
Within the well’s shadow,
Intoning his ancient singsong chant:
“The Well Dipper’s here now,
The Well Dipper’s here,
Come, slake your thirst with me
Come, slake your thirst”
But the people pass him by
-It’s just an old well
Probably almost dry by now
Who knows where that water’s been,
Who knows where the water goes.

A small boy stops to gaze at him
“Old man, you’re lips are chapped
Your tongue is dry, you look like
One left out in the desert too long.
Why don’t you drink your own water
Before you pass out from the sun?”

The old man smiles and beckons
The boy to his side, whispering:
“The water’s not mine to take.
The water belongs to the well
And the well belongs to all;
I cannot take what is not mine
So I wait until someone calls
For the sweet water of my well.”

The boy shakes his head:
“Are you not one of us, born here,
Living here all the years of your life?
Who deserves the water more
Than the keeper of the well?”

A sorrow passes over the old man’s face
“But I’m not the keeper of the well;
The well keeps me with its water
I live off the well’s largesse
Sent here to dip water for the strangers
Who pause here on their travels.”

The boy frowns, then smiles again:
“Are we not all on a journey
From where we were not
To where we won’t be again?
Is your journey any less stringent
Than the strangers’ passing by?

The old man, baked by the sun,
Parched by the wind,  dried out
From living in a dry land,
Thinks about the ice cold water
Flowing from subterranean streams
From which he cannot drink
Except by the leave of those
For whom he dips the water

“What nonsense is this?”
Asks the small boy,
Suddenly grown large and solemn,
“Would you die of thirst
In the well’s shadow?”

Producing a coin from thin air,
Abu Ben Addeem begged the well dipper
For a draught of his water,
And then tipped his pot
Into the well dipper’s cup
“This is your well now
From this day forth, and the water
Is to be dispensed to any thirsty straggler
Who happens to pass by here.”

So the well-dipper spent
The rest of his life
As the guardian of the well,
And all who drank there
Never felt thirst again
Content with themselves.


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This is actually about a librarian in an esoteric library. You just have to read between the lines.

Ab0u Ben Adhem was a sufi master who was a renowned agnostic, whose story is retold by poet Leigh Hunt:

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
My father used to recite Abou ben Adhem to me when I was a kid. This really triggered memories.
Reading between or on the lines, this is a wonderful poem. Sufi masters make incredible muses.
rated with love.
This was beautiful, and written as if it came from an old script somewhere. You really have the talent to transform time and place. R
Sage Merlin. I swear? You got me wanting to read Jack And The Bean Stalk.
Jack peeped through the peephole and trembles when he smells the sausages.
Wow, all 163 stacked high!
I Think politicians should read.
Plutocrats smell like the chickens.
They wish to steal the golden hen.
I may go read Amal and the Genie.
That Persian fairy tale says Stuff.
The secret in Life is No kill People.
No steal.
No Lies.
The weapons Never kill any Genie.
'Um `Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.
When they croak they yell What?
They may scream to saint~pedro?
Politico think they get a free-pass?
They moan`
Open sesame!

Oops. Bandits.
I may copy this.
See Big Dipper.
I may eat a fig.
No eat spatula.
Innocent banter.
Take care. thanks.
I love reading between the lines. Discernment. It's banter and mucj joy. The Frog Prince.
I gotta go get going.
I am due for a beer.
I no do see whines.
Sip wine carefully.
Eat with fun folk.
No eat folks fork.
No gobble spoon.
Refrain some fun?
No eat pot and pan.
No eat people ups.
Save them for cook.
They cook victuals.
No swallow dipper.
this reminds me of a Spanish medieval romance we learned at the cradle
the rhythm in this amazes me.
My life is now complete. I finally got an Art James comment.
So amazed I forgot to rate.
You really are a Sage.
Sufi Poopie, Sage. Too peacenick for my liking, but I have to admit your creative intrepretation of the parable is impressive.

I like your style. The tale is instantly transforming. Also, thanks for the Leigh Hunt poem. May your tribe increase. R
This is a fine poem. I am impressed, but then I always am with your writing. R-
Masterful. So many lessons to glean.

Be careful about insulting another man's religion. You could get fired off CNN. Oh, right. I forgot. Sufism isn't really a religion. It's an anti-religion. Doug, how is this peacenikkie?

All you others, spread the word. I feel a major outburst coming.
Sage, I love you, because you are me in another life. (one where I have talent) That being said, I often post while using various intoxicants. Worry not, my good man, you're doing fine.
This left me thirsty for more.
"Who knows where that water’s been,
Who knows where the water goes" I just can´t have enough of these two lines...

"And all who drank there
Never felt thirst again
Content with themselves"

I kinda feel like this... not as the well dipper nor the well it self... no I feel like everytime I come here to read you I just don´t feel thirsty any more..
I just can´t have enough of you I swear to God.....
Thanks for inviting me again.. I will be here more often...
Hugs from Colombia
As we speak, I'm wearing bifocal contact lenses. Now don't you feel old?