Monday, July 03, 2006

Splitting the moon

Sunlight presents Ghazal 2967, in a poetic version by
Coleman Barks and in translation by A.J. Arberry, with added

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

It's lucky to hear the flutes for dancing
coming down the road.
The ground is glowing.
The table set in the yard.

We will drink all this wine tonight
because it's Spring. It is.
It's a growing sea. We're clouds
over the sea,
or flecks of matter
in the ocean when the ocean seems lit from within.
I know I'm drunk when I start this ocean talk.

Would you like to see the moon split
in half with one throw?

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995


Once again a melody has come from the reed pipe of fortune;
O soul, clap hands, O heart, stamp feet.
A mine has become aglow, a world is laughing, a table is
adorned, acclamation is coming.
We are drunk and roaring in hope of the spring over the
meadow, adoring one of handsome cheek.
He is the sea, we are a cloud; he the treasure, we a ruin;
in the light of a sea we are as motes.
I am distracted, I am excused; suffer me to brag – with
the light of Mostafa* I will split the moon.* **

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

*The splitting of the moon will be the sign of the approaching
end of the world (Qur'an 54:1)

Additional notes from Ibrahim Gamard:

*Mostafa: a well-known title of the Prophet Muhammad, meaning the
"Chosen one."
**will split the moon: refers to an early interpretation of Qur'an 54:1
("and the moon is split asunder"), that (rather than a future sign of the
coming of the Day of Judgment) it meant a miracle witnessed by
several of the Prophet's companions (that the moon appeared one
night as if split into two parts). This is the interpretation believed by
Muslims for centuries (and believed by Rumi, as shown by II: 1606:
"The unbelievers viewed Muhammad as an (ordinary) man because
they did not see 'the moon is split asunder' (caused) by him").

The image:


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