Monday, April 23, 2007

"Be with those who help your being"


Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2865, from the Diwan-e Shams,
in a version by Coleman Barks, an interpretive translation by Raficq
Abdulla, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:

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Be with those who help your being.
Don't sit with indifferent people, whose breath
comes cold out of their mouths.
Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.

A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.
If you don't try to fly,
and so break yourself apart,
you will be broken open by death,
when it's too late for all you could become.

Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots
and makes them green.
Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?

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


Your eyes must complete their course of Love
For you to beat a path to courteous truth;
Spend not your time with cold faces in dead places
Or else your breath will freeze your breast and heart.
From the pulp of yearning go beyond its form to seek
More than solace in the natural suffering called Love.
If you're obtuse and heavy as burdened clay enclosed
By gravity, you'll never lift off and circle the sky;
Come as fine as a thousand dancing particles of dust,
So float and find your feet in the silken path of light.
Choose to break or else be broken by the epic
Of your maker; for death will break your fleeting self
Like an empty shell without a pearl. When a leaf
Withers, in season new roots duly restore it green;
Why then flirt with rootless loves
That steal your eyes from the Unseen?

-- Interpretive translation by Raficq Abdulla
"Words of Paradise"
Viking Studio, 2000


Gaze on the cheeks of love that you may gain the
attributes of true men; sit not with the cold ones so you
will not be chilled by their breath.
From the cheeks of love seek something other than
the form; your business is to be a fellow sufferer with love.
If you have the attributes of a clod, you will never fly
in the air; you will fly in the air if you break to pieces and
become dust.
If you do not break to pieces, he who composed you
will break you; when death breaks you, how will you become
a unique pearl?
When a leaf becomes yellow, the fresh root makes it
green; why are you content with a love from which you turn

-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
The University of Chicago Press, 1991

The media:

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