Existence is a sea; man’s speech its shore;
Letters its oyster-shells, pearls of the heart’s wisdom.
With every wave a thousand pearls of price
Scattered around, of knowledge, of imagery,
New facts to grasp, conclusions fresh to draw,
A thousand waves with every breath arise,
No less is in one drop than in them all.
Wisdom, existence, doth that sea contain;
Its outward envelope is speech and sound.
Here understanding halts; and more,
Save in a parable, may not be given.
— from The Secret Garden, Mahmud Shabistari, 13th Century Persian sage