Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Joyous spring has arrived"


Sunlight presents Ode 1121, in a poetic version by
Coleman Barks and in a translation by A.J. Arberry:

Spring, and no one can be still,
with all the messages coming through.

We walk outside as though going to meet visitors,
wild roses, trilliums by the water.

A tight knot loosens.
Something which died in December
lifts a head out,
and opens.

Trees, the tribe gathers!
Who has a chance
against such an elegant assemblage?

Before this power,
human beings are chives to be chopped,
gnats to be waved away.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"These Branching Moments,"
Copper Beech Press, 1988

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

Joyous spring has arrived and the Beloved's message has come,
we are drunk with love and intoxicated and cannot be still.
O my darling one, go forth to the garden, do not leave the
beauties of the meadow in expectation.
Strangers from the Unseen have arrived in the meadow; go
forth, for it is a rule that "the newcomer is visited."*
Following your footsteps the rose has come into the rosebower,
to greet and meet you the thorn has become soft of cheek.
Cypress, give ear, for the lily in exposition of you has become
all tongue by the bank of the river.
The bud was tightly knotted; your grace looses knots; the rose
blossoms thanks to you, and scatters it petals over you.
You might say that it is the resurrection, that there have raised
their heads from the earth those who rotted in December and
January, the dead of yesteryear.
The seed which had died has now found life, the secret which
earth held has now become revealed.
The bough which held fruit is glorying for joy, the root which
had none is shamefast and ashamed.
After all, the trees of the spirit will become even so, the tree of
excellent boughs and fortunate will be manifest.
The king of spring has drawn up his army and made his
provisions; the jasmine has seized the shield, the green grass
Dhu `l-Faqar.
They say, "We will cut off the head of So-and-so like chives;
behold that visibly enacted in the handiwork of the Creator."
Yes; when the succour of divine assistance arrives, Nimrod is
brought to destruction by a gnat*.

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

* Rumi quotes an Arabic rule of etiquette.
* Nimrod died of a gnat-bite, see Nicholson on Math. I:1189.

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