Friday, May 04, 2007

“Every day is Friday”


Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2322 in an unusual
combination of presentations -- a version by Coleman Barks, based on
a second generation translation by Nevit Ergin (who translates from
Turkish into English); another version by Barks, working from a
translation by John Moyne (a native Persian speaker); and, lastly, a
translation by A.J. Arberry:

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For a dervish every day feels like
Friday, the beginning of a holiday,

a fresh setting out that will not have an
end. Dressed in the soul's handsomeness,

you're a whole month of Fridays, sweet
outside, sweet in. Your mind and your deep

being walk together as friends walk along
inside their friendship. Debris does not stay

in one place on a fast-running creek. Let
grudges wash out into the sea. Your soul's

eye watches a spring-green branch moving,
while these other eyes love the old stories.

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

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Every day is Friday,
the beginning of the holidays, holy days.

Isn't last Friday remembered now with a festival?
You have on the right clothes for this festival,
your light, your clear trusting,
your inside and outside the same,
not a sweet walnut filled with garlic.

Go around in this ring
like a lover on the doorstep of a lover.
How can straw be still on a river?
How can a mystic stay angry?

To some eyes these words are a new-green branch.
To sensual eyes, they are old matters
carved on a building.

-- Version by Coleman Barks, from a translation
by John Moyne
"These Branching Moments"
Copper Beech Press, 1988

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Every day is a festival and Friday for the poor; has not yester-
day's Friday become an ancient festival?*
O soul, robed in festive garb like the festival moon, made of
the light of the beauty of yourself, not of woollen frock;
Like reason and faith sweet outside and inside, not garlic
stuffed in the heart of a walnut-sweet.
Put on such a frock and go about in this ring, like the heart
clear and bright in the vestibule of the heart.
On a running river, O soul, how shall a straw stand still? How
can rancor make its dwelling in the soul and spirit?
In the eye of sanctity these words are a branch new and fresh;
in the eye of sensual perception, they are like an ancient legend.

-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
University of Chicago Press, 1979

* Aflaki gives the following account of the composition of this
gazal: "A darvish asked Mowlana: 'Who is a mystic?' He said 'A mystic
is a person whose calm disposition is never disturbed by any
annoyance. The mystic never becomes angry.' " Manaqeb, 279

The media:

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