Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A parable of God's gift


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 765, from the Diwan-e
Shams, in poetic translation by Nader Khalili, in a version by
Jonathan Star, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

my dear friend
never lose hope
when the beloved
sends you away

if you're abandoned
if you're left hopeless
tomorrow for sure
you'll be called again

if the door is shut
right in your face
keep waiting with patience
don't leave right away

seeing your patience
your love will soon
summon you with grace
raise you like a champion

and if all the roads
end up in dead ends
you'll be shown the secret paths
no one will comprehend

the beloved i know
will give with no qualms
to a puny ant
the kingdom of Solomon

my heart has journeyed
many times around the world
but has never found
and will never find
such a beloved again

ah i better keep silence
i know this endless love
will surely arrive
for you and you and you

-- Translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Burning Gate Press, Los Angeles, 1994

(Sunlight note: "Fountain of Fire" incorrectly cites this Ghazal as
Furuzanfar's number 965, when it is actually Furuzanfar's number
765.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~

Do not despair
if the Beloved pushes you away.
If He pushes you away today
it's only so He can draw you back tomorrow.

If he closes the door on your face,
don't leave, wait --
you'll soon be by His side.
If He bars every passage,
don't lose hope --
He's about to show you
a secret that nobody knows.

A butcher cuts off a sheep's head for food,
not just to throw away.
When the sheep no longer has breath
the butcher fills it
with his own breath.
O what life
God's breath will bring to you!

But the likeness ends here -
For God's bounty is much greater than the butcher's.
God's blows don't bring death but eternal life.
He gives the wealth of Solomon to a single ant.
He gives the treasure of both worlds to all who ask.
He gives and gives
yet does not startle a single heart.

I've traveled to all ends of the earth
and have not found anyone like Him.
Who can match Him?
Who can hold a candle to His glory?

Silence already!
He gives us the wine to taste,
not to talk about . . . .

He gives to taste.
He gives to taste.
He gives to taste.

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved "
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~

Say, do not despair because the Beloved drives you away; if
He drives you away today, will He not call you back tomorrow?
If He shuts the door on you, do not go away; be patient
there, for after patience He will seat you in the place of
honour.
And if He bars against you all ways and passages, He will
show you a secret way, which no man knows.
Is it not the case that when the butcher cuts off the head of
a sheep with his knife, he does not abandon what he has slain,
but first slays, and then draws?
When no more breath remains to the sheep, he fills it with
his own breath; you will see whither God's breath will bring
you!
I spoke this as a parable; else, His generosity slays no man,
rather it rescues him from slaying.
He gives all the kingdom of Solomon to a single ant; He
bestows both worlds, and does not startle a single heart.
My heart has travelled round the world and found none
like Him; whom does He resemble? Whom does He resem-
ble?
Ah, silence! For without speech He gives to all of this wine
to taste, He gives to taste, He gives to taste, He gives to taste.

-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968

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