Letters to Tom — Love Dogs

Dear Tom:

Today I am experiencing a flood of seemingly random thoughts all converging. We are still snowed and iced in. There is not a lot of snow on the streets, but last night’s rain and sleet created a layer of ice sealing the snow and making road travel, until the temperature rises, difficult. A few brave souls are headed to the park with their sleds, but there is no auto traffic. So I sit quietly, occasionally looking out the window, thinking. Thinking random and unrelated thoughts. Walter wrote yesterday that their dog, Daisy, died. She was older than the boys, and Jake especially was upset. I was thinking about Daisy and Jake when I finally picked up the latest edition The Sun, and began to read this month’s interview. The interviewee is Kim Rosen, author of Saved by the Poem: The Transformative Power of Words. I commend the interview to you, and am going to get her book. In the interview she mentions your Sufi poet and mystic Rumi and his poem “Love Dogs.” Given the random link between Daisy’s death and Kim Rosen’s reference I decided to locate the poem:
One night a man was crying Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said, “So I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”
The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidir, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.
“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing you express is the return message.”
The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.
Give your life
to be one of them.

What is the mystic Rumi saying? I am sure each reader has his own interpretation. Tom, I hope you can give me some Sufi guidance here. Perhaps, Rumi is saying that while praising God in prayer we are also connecting. Our reaching out to God, like the dog’s moan, is the level of connection we seek with God — not some dramatic intervention or miracle, but simply for acknowledgement and return of our love.

Your Friend, Webb

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.


  1. Webb,
    I never tire of reading Rumi… and Hafiz. Their love of God, the Friend, the Beloved, Allah in their words, was limitless and their poetic expression of that love was awe inspiring.

    I THINK this poem reflects the Sufi belief that the reason for creation was God’s desire to know himself and to be known. They believe that each of us has a life purpose that came with us into this world, and that that purpose is intended to be one of the infinite channels (my word) of expression for God to experience himself and his creation. So Rumi talks about “your pure sadness” and the “longing” and “grief” as experiences intended to connect with the Kosmos (another expression of God) as part of creating the full range of experience for Him/Her. My guess is that being a “Love Dog that no one knows the names of” is a way of characterizing such an experience, intended to be free of ego and to connect us with the God in us. That’s my guess, Webb.

  2. Thanks Tom, for your explanation. We can’t wait to hear more about Sedona. A really interesting viewpoint on our individual call or purpose. Webb

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