Monday, December 04, 2006

"In this garden"

Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2389, in a version by Coleman
Barks, in a version by Jonathan Star, and in the translation by A.J.
Arberry, on which Barks based his interpretive version:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^


Who is this standing in my house? He signals with his hand,
"What do you want from me?" Nourishment,
and the privacy of one truth.

There are so many deceptive people pretending
to be faithful. Don't sit among them, eyes shut
like a bud, mouth open like a rose.

The world is a mirror, an imaging of Love's perfection.
No man has ever seen a part greater than the whole.
Go on foot through this garden like the grass does.
Only the rose is riding, all the rest on foot.
Rose, both sword and swordsman,
Reason in the abstract, and reasoning in each of us.

Generous Saladin, let your hand be
a constant necklace on my neck.

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

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

"Soft Petals"

O soul,
Who dwells in the house of my heart?
Who takes the King's royal seat?

The King motions me forward and says,
What do you want from me?

I want the sweetness of love,
A cup of light,
An eternal banquet
on the table of one Truth.

Look how many charlatans are rattling their cups
at this wine-drinker's feast.
O simple and gullible man,
Watch out or you'll be conned!
Beware! Don't sit at their table
lest your eyes close like buds
and your mouth open like a Spring flower.

The world is but a mirror
reflecting Love's perfect image.
How can a part
be greater than the whole?
In this garden
only the Beloved's rose is blooming.
Stay low like the grass
and let His soft petals fall upon your head.

He is both the sword and the swordsman,
the slayer and the slain.
He is the reason
and all that brings reason to naught.

That perfect King makes this world out of gold.
May he live forever.
May his hand be the ageless garland
that graces my neck.

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

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

O soul, who is that standing in the house of the heart? Who
may be on the royal throne but the king and the prince?*
He signaled with his hand, "Tell me, what do you want of
me?" What does a drunken man desire but sweetmeats and a
cup of wine?
Sweetmeats hanging from the heart, a cup of pure light, an
eternal banquet laid in the privacy of "He is the Truth."*
How many deceivers there are at the wine-drinkers' feast!
Beware, lest you fall, soft and simple man!
In the circle of reprobates beware lest you be eye-shut like
the bud, mouth-open like the rose.
The world is like a mirror, the image of the perfection of Love;
men, who has ever seen a part greater than the whole?
Go on foot like the grass, for in this rose garden the Beloved
like a rose is riding; all the rest are on foot.
He is both sword and swordsman, both slain and slayer, all
Reason, and giving reason to the mind.*
That king is Salah-al-din* may he endure forever, may his
bountiful hand be perpetually a necklace on my neck!

-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968

* According to Nicholson (Divan-i Sham, 238, 300) this is a reference
to the hadis' of the Prophet, where God says: "My earth and heaven
contain me not, but the heart of my believing servant contains me."
* "He is the Truth" Qur'an 22:6.
* Reason is annihilated in mystical love.
* "Salah-al-din Zarkub", who died c. 659/1261, was Rumi's pir'
(teacher) after Shams al-Din vanished he is here hailed as an
embodiment of the Spirit of Muhammad, the Perfect Man.

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