Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"Spring is here, friends"


Today, Sunlight offers the first of a week of spring-themed
poems, celebrating both the changing of the season, and the Nowrooz
holiday. Nowrooz is the new year in Iran, Azerbaijan, Central Asia,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of India and among the Kurds. The word
itself literally means "new day" in Persian, and the festival marks
the beginning of the solar year and new year on the Iranian calendar,
as well as among several other nationalities.

Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 1370, from Molana Rumi's
"Diwan-e Shams" ("The Collection of Shams"), in a version by
Coleman Barks, and in a second generation translation from Turkish,
by Nevit Ergin. Links to the Persian image and recitation may be
found at the end of the post.

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"The Whole Place Goes Up"

Today with Spring here finally we ought to be living
outdoors with our friends.
Let's go to those strangers in the field
and dance around them like bees from flower to flower,
building in the beehive air
our true hexagonal homes.

Someone comes in from outside saying,
"Don't play music just for yourselves."
Now we're tearing up the house like a drum,
collapsing walls with our pounding.
We hear a voice from the sky calling the lovers
and the odd, lost people. We scatter lives.
We break what holds us, each one a blacksmith
heating iron and walking to the anvil.
We blow on the inner fire.
With each striking we change.

The whole place goes up, all stability gone in smoke.
Sometimes high, sometimes low, we begin anywhere,
we have no method.
We're the bat swung by powerful arms.
Balls keep rolling from us, thousands of them underfoot.

Now we're still. Silence also is wisdom, a flame
hiding in cotton wool.

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

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Spring is here, friends.
Let's stay in the garden
And be guests to the strangers of the green.

We'll fly from one flower to the other,
Like bees making the six corners
Of this earth's hives prosperous.

An envoy came from this fortress
And said, "Don't beat the drum secretly.
With our yells, we would tear down the place
Where that Love's drum is beating."

Hear that voice which comes from the sky,
"Rise, all insane ones.
I sacrifice my Soul to the insane.
Let's scatter our Soul today."

Let's break all the chains.
Every one of us is a blacksmith.
Let's go to the fireplace where the pincers are.

Let's fan the flame of the Heart's fire
Like the furnace of blacksmiths.
So we can have iron Hearts
Under our control with breath.

We'll put fire in this universe,
Incite riots in the sky,
Make his sober, resisting mind
Turn around, become dizzy like ours.

We are like a ball, without hands and feet,
Sometimes at the end
And sometimes at the beginning of the square.
Who told you we could do what we want?
Who told you we are independent?

No, no. We are like a club
In the hand of the Sultan.
We send hundreds of thousands of balls
To His feet.

Let's be silent. Silence is made
With some material like craziness.
His mind is such a fire
That we hide this fire by wrapping it in cotton.

-- Translation by Nevit O. Ergin
"Divan-i Kebir" -- Meter 1
Walla Walla, Washington: Current, 1995.

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The media:

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Emmie said...

Wow I had no idea about Nowrooz. I thought we just had the Spring Equinox thing. Thanks so much for sharing the poetry!

irving said...

A lovely spring Sufi poem :) Thank you and Nowrooz Mubarak!

Ya Haqq!