Saturday, April 07, 2007

"The Sweetest of All Things"


Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2037, from Rumi's "Diwan-e
Shams", in versions by Jonathan Star and Coleman Barks:

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"The Sweetest of All Things"

Since you are the one who takes life
It is the sweetest of all things to die.
Life is sweet
But merging with you is far sweeter.

Come into the garden!
Join the Friend of the Truth!
In his garden you'll drink the Water of Life,
though it seems like fire to die.

In one moment someone dies,
In the next moment someone is born.
There is a lot of coming and going
no one really dies
nor will I ever die.

Forget the body, become pure spirit.
Dance from here to the other world.
Don't stop Don't try to escape,
even if you are afraid to die.

I swear were it not for His pure nature
The wheel of heaven would turn to dust.
Merge with Him now,
And you'll be sweeter than halva
when it comes time to die.

Why hold on to this life? –
True living comes by giving up this life.
Why cling to one piece of gold? –
it is a mine of gold to die.

Escape from this cage
and breathe the scented air of His garden.
Break this hard shell –
It's like a shining pearl to die.

When God calls and pulls you close,
Going is like paradise –
It's like a heavenly river to die.

Death is only a mirror
And your true nature is reflected there.
See what the mirror is saying –
it's quite a sight to die!

If you are kind and faithful
Your death will also be that way.
If you are cruel and faithless,
that is the way you will die.

If you are like Joseph,
full of goodness,
That's how your mirror will be.
If not, you will see
only fear and torment
when it comes time to die.

These words are sweet,
but they always fade.
Sh . . . The eternal Khezr
and the Water of Life
have no idea what it means to die.

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992

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Underwater in the Fountain

When you die into the soul, you lift
the lid on the cooking pot. You see

the truth of what you've been doing.
It looks sad and terrible before the

crossover move that lets nine levels
of ascension turn into ordinary ground:

silence, conversation with Khidr, blind
and deaf, underwater in the fountain.

-- Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
"The Glance"
Viking-Penguin, 1999

The media:

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