Monday, June 19, 2006

"All that I uttered last night"

Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal 2537, in versions by Helminski and
Barks, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^


In the name of friendship,
don't repeat to my Beloved
all that I said last night,
out of my mind;
but if, by God, she hears it,
she'll understand what a man can say
in the dark, loud or quiet, rough or soft,
when reason is not at home.
If God let's this anxiety out,
no one in the world will stay sane.
Mind, are these your dark suggestions?
Cloud, is this your sad rain?
Believers, watch your hearts.
Curious or kind, stay away.

-- Version by Kabir Helminski
"Love is a Stranger"
Threshold Books, Putney, Vermont, 1993



Sometimes I forget completely
what companionship is.
Unconscious and insane, I spill sad
energy everywhere. My story
gets told in various ways: A romance,
a dirty joke, a war, a vacancy.

Divide up my forgetfulness to any number,
it will go around.
These dark suggestions that I follow,
are they part of some plan?
Friends, be careful. Don't come near me
out of curiosity, or sympathy.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"Open Secret"
Threshold Books, 1984


By the right of old companionship and friendship, do not
repeat to the Beloved all that I uttered last night, unconscious
and sick;
But if, as God decrees, that moon hears of those things, he
himself knows what a melancholy lover will say in the darkness
of night.
When reason is not at home, the tale will be distorted - now
low, now high, now war, now submissiveness.
If God should scatter my frenzy over the world, you will not
see one man with reason; all will be stripped of their reason.
Reason, can it be that you pour these dark suggestions into
me? Cloud, can it be you who rains upon me this troubled
Muslims, Muslims, guard well your hearts; let none go about
me, either to sightsee or to sympathize.

-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
The University of Chicago Press, 1991

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