Monday, September 18, 2006

"Playing and Being Played"

There are no words to explain,
no tongue,
how when that player touches
the strings, it is me playing
and being played,
how existence turns
around this music, how stories
grow from the trunk,
how cup and mouth
swallow each other with the wine,
how a garnet
stone come from nowhere is puzzled
by these miners,
how even if you look for us
hair's breadth by hair's breadth, you'll
not find anything. We're inside
the hair!
How last night a spear struck, how
the lion drips red, how someone pulls
at my robe of tattered patches.
"It's all I have!
Where are your clothes?"
How Shams of Tabriz
lives outside time, how what happens
to me happens there.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 1877
Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
"The Glance"
Viking-Penguin, 1999

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