Friday, June 29, 2007

"Dear one, come to the tavern of ruin"


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal 2309, from the Diwan-e Shams, in a
version by Version by Helminski, with Godlas and Saedian, and in a
poetic translation by the Iranian architect Nader Khalili:

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The Drunkards and the Tavern

I'm drunk and you're insane, who's going to take us home?
How many times did they say,
"Drink just a little, only two or three at most?"

In this city no one I see is conscious;
one is worse off than the next, frenzied and insane.

Dear one, come to the tavern of ruin
and experience the pleasures of the soul.
What happiness can there be apart
from this intimate conversation
with the Beloved, the Soul of souls?

In every corner there are drunkards, arm in arm,
while the Server pours the wine
from a royal decanter to every particle of being.

You belong to the tavern: your income is wine,
and wine is all you ever buy.
Don't give even a second away
to the concerns of the merely sober.

O lute player, are you more drunk, or am I?
In the presence of one as drunk as you, my magic is a myth.

When I went outside the house,
some drunk approached me,
and in his eyes I saw
hundreds of hidden gardens and sanctuaries.

Like a ship without an anchor,
he rocked this way and that.
Hundreds of intellectuaIs and wise men
could die from a taste of his yearning.

I asked, "Where are you from?"
He laughed and said, "O soul,
half of me is from Turkestan and half from Farghana.

Half of me is water and mud, half heart and soul;
half of me is the ocean' s shore, half is all pearl."

"Be my friend," I pleaded, 'I'm one of your family."
"I know the difference between farnily and outsiders."

I've neither a heart nor a turban,
and here in this house of hangovers
my breast is filled with unspoken words.
Shall I try to explain or not?

Have I lived among the lame for so long
that I've begun to limp myself?
And yet no slap of pain could disturb
a drunkenness like this.

Listen, can you hear a wail
arising from the pillar of grief?
Shams al-Haqq of Tabriz, where are you now,
after all the mischief you've stirred in our hearts?

-- Version by K. Helminski, A. Godlas, and L. Saedian
"The Rumi Collection"
Threshold Books, 1998

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

you are drunk
and i'm intoxicated
no one is around
showing us the way home

again and again
i told you
drink less
a cup or two

i know in this city
no one is sober
one is worse than the other
one is frenzied and
the other gone mad

come on my friend
step into the tavern of ruins
taste the sweetness of life
in the company of another friend

here you'll see
at every corner
someone intoxicated
and the cup-bearer
makes her rounds

i went out of my house
a drunkard came to me
someone whose glance
uncovered a hundred
houses in paradise

rocking and rolling
he was a sail
with no anchor but
he was the envy of all those sober ones
remaining on the shore

where are you from i asked
he smiled in mockery and said
one half from the east
one half from the west
one half made of water and earth
one half made of heart and soul
one half staying at the shores and
one half nesting in a pearl

i begged
take me as your friend
i am your next of kin
he said i recognize no kin
among strangers
i left my belongings and
entered this tavern
i only have a chest
full of words
but can't utter
a single one

-- Translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire", 1991
Cal-Earth Press, 1994

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Don't sow bad seed"


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God is forever making hidden things manifest:
since they grow up, don't sow bad seed.
Rain and clouds and fire and this sun are forever
bringing up hidden things from within the earth.


Râz-hâ-râ mi konad Haqq âshkâr
chon be-khvâhad rost tokhm-e bad ma-kâr
Âb o abr o âtesh o in âftâb
râz-hâ-râ mi bar ârad az torâb

-- Mathnawi, V:3969-3970
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"The Staff of Moses"


Here, Sunlight offers two contrasting versions of Ghazal 1603:

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"The Staff of Moses"

I am in your garden
beneath a tree that grants every wish.
I am so full of fire
that I dance without music.

I am a shadow
forever dancing with the sunlight –
At times I lie on the ground,
At times I stand on my head.
At times I am short,
At times I am long.

Like the movement of dark and light
across the earth,
I move across the ages.
I am the Ruler of the Egyptians
and the Guide of the Jews.
Among men of letters
I am the law of truth -
At times I am like a pen,
At times like the staff of Moses,
At times like a cobra
slithering its way through the sand.

Don't try to find love
By leaning on the cane of the intellect;
that cane is nothing
but a blind man's stick.
One sign from you is all I want;
One "yes" from you
and my soul will be free.

I am not from this place.
I am a stranger here,
Walking blindly,
Hoping you will come and show me
where to take my next step.

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Walkingstick Dragon

I want to dance here in this music,
not in spirit where there is no time.

I circle the sun like shadow. My
head becomes my feet. Covered with

existence, Pharaoh; annihilated, I
am Moses. A pen between

a walkingstick dragon,my blind mind
taps along its cane of thought. Love

does no thinking. It waits with soul,
with me, weeping in this corner. We're

strangers here where we never hear
yes. We must be from some other town.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"The Soul of Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 2001

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Visions and Reality

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When a person sees a reflection of apples in the river,
and the sight of them fills her skirt with real apples,
how should that which she saw in the river be a fantasy,
when a hundred sacks have been filled by her vision?
Don't pay attention to the body, and don't act
like those deaf and dumb ones*
who disbelieved in the Truth when it came to them.


Chon darin ju did `aks-e sib mard
Dâmanesh-râ did ân por sib kard
ncheh dar ju did kay bâshad khayâl
chonkeh shod az didanesh por sad jovâl
Tan ma-bin va ân ma-kon k-ân bukm o summ*
kadhdhabû bi-al-Haqqi lammâ jâ'ahum

-- Mathnawi VI:3194-3196
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

*al-Baqarah, 171

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Flee to the grace of God

Today, Sunlight offers Molana Rumi's Ghazal (Ode) 2894, in a
version by Coleman Barks, and in the translation by A.J. Arberry,
upon which Barks based his interpretive version:

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It's a habit of yours to walk slowly.
You hold a grudge for years.
With such heaviness, how can you be modest?
With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?

Be wide as the air to learn a secret.
Right now you're equal portions
clay and water, thick mud.

Abraham learned how the sun
and the moon and the stars all set.
He said, No longer will I try to assign partners for God.

You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to shore.
You're trying to live your life in open scaffolding.
Say Bismillah, In the name of God,
as the priest does with a knife
when he offers an animal.
"Bismillah" your old self to find your real name.

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


With such a gait, when will you reach the station? With such
a habit, how will you gain the goal?
You are very heavy of soul and camel-hearted; when will you
arrive among the nimble-spirited?*
With such grossness how will you be modest? with such a
joining [attachment for the world], how will you reach the one
who enjoys the union?
Since there is no broadness in the mind, how will you achieve
the society of the difficult secret?*
You are like water left in this clay; so how will you attain the
pure water and clay?
Disregard the sun and moon like Abraham, else how will you
attain the perfect sun?*
Since you are weak, go, flee to the grace of God, for without
the Gracious how will you attain the excellence?
Without the tender care of that sea of loving kindness, how
will you reach the shore of such a wave?
Without the Boraq* of love and the labor of Gabriel how will
you like Mohammad attain all the stages?
You take shelter in those who are without shelter; how will
you attain the shelter of the welcoming king?
Before besmellah sacrifice yourself utterly; else, when you lie
dead, how will you attain the Name of God?*

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

* "Camel-hearted" is a cowardly person or someone who holds a grudge
long in his heart.
* Arberry had: "Since there is no opening in your head..."
* Qur'an 6: 76-7: "When the night covered him [Abraham], he saw a
star; he said: 'This is my Lord.' But when it set, he said, 'Unless
my Lord guides me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.' When
he saw the sun rising in splendor, he said: 'This is my Lord, who is
the greatest of all.' But when the sun set, he said: 'O my people! I
am now free from your guilt of giving partners to God."
* Boraq is the legendary steed of Mohammad which carried him to his
* Besmellah al-rahman al-rahim (in the name of God, most gracious,
most merciful) is repeated in the beginning of every chapter of the
Qur'an. Also it is mentioned when a bird or animal is slaughtered.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

"I wasn't like this before"


Sunlight offers two presentations of Ghazal (Ode) 1506 -- a
poetic translation by Nader Khalili, and a translation of a
translation by Nevit Ergin, who was working from a classic Turkish
edition of the Diwan-e Shams:


believe me
i wasn't always like this
lacking common sense
or looking insane

like you
i used to be clever
in my days

never like this
totally enraptured
totally gone

like sharp shooters
i used to be
a hunter of hearts

not like today
with my own heart
drowning in its blood

nonstop asking and
searching for answers
that was then

but now
so deeply enchanted
so deeply enthralled

always pushing
to be ahead and above
since i was not yet hunted down
by this
ever-increasing love

-- Translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Cal-Earth Press, 1991


"Not Like This Before"

I wasn't like this before.
I wasn't out of my mind and senses.
Once I used to be wise like you,
not crazy, insane and broken down
like I am now.

I wasn't the admirer of life
which has no trace, no being.
I used to ask, "Who is this?
What is that?"
and search all the time.

Since you have wisdom,
sit and think
that probably I was like this before.
I haven't changed much.

I used to try to make
myself better than everybody.
I hadn't been hunted
with the ever-growing Love before.
I tried to rise above the sky
with my ambition
yet I didn't know
I was just wandering in the desert.
At the end, I have raised
a treasure from the ground.

-- Second generation translation by Nevit O.Ergin
"Magnificent One: Selected Verses from Divan-I Kebir"
Larson Publishing Company, 1993




Thursday, June 21, 2007

"The pleasures of this world"


The pleasures of this world are delightful
from a distance before the actual test.
From a distance they appear to be refreshing water,
but when you approach them, you find they are a mirage.
The world's bait is visible, but the trap is hidden:
at first sight, the world's favors seem sweet.


Hamchonân jomleh-ye na`im-e in jahân
bas khvoshast az dur pish az emtehân
Mi namâyad dar nazar az dur âb
chon ravi nazdik bâshad ân sarâb
shkârâ dâneh panhân dâm-e u
khvosh namâyad ze avvalet an`âm-e u

-- Mathnawi VI:316-317; 321
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Intoxicated with his beauty"


Here, Sunlight offers three renderings of Mowlana Rumi's Ghazal
(Ode) 1628, in a recent translation by Kolin and Mafi, as versioned
by Barks, and in the translation by Arberry, upon which Professor
Barks based his version:


When I see your face
I shut my eyes to others.
I am drunk with your presence.
To earn Solomon's seal
I have become supple as wax.
When I see your face
I surrender my will and
become a sigh on your lips.
You were in my hand but I kept reaching out
like a blind man.
I was in your hand but kept asking questions
from those who are ignorant.
I must have been very drunk or naïve
to steal my own gold,
I must have been mad to sneak in
and rob my own jasmine garden.
I've been twisted long enough by your might,
Shams of Tabriz!
But even in my sorrow I am joyous
like the crescent moon
at the beginning of the festival.

-- Translated by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
Rumi: Hidden Music
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001

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When I see you and how you are,
I close my eyes to the other.
For your Solomon's seal I become wax
throughout my body. I wait to be light.
I give up opinions on all matters.
I become the reed flute for your breath.

You were inside my hand.
I kept reaching around for something.
I was inside your hand, but I kept asking questions
of those who know very little.

I must have been incredibly simple or drunk or insane
to sneak into my own house and steal money,
to climb over the fence and take my own vegetables.
But no more. I've gotten free of that ignorant fist
that was pinching and twisting my secret self.

The universe and the light of the stars come through me.
I am the crescent moon put up
over the gate to the festival.

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

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I closed my eyes to creation when I beheld his beauty, I
became intoxicated with his beauty and bestowed my soul.
For the sake of Solomon's seal I became wax in all my
body, and in order to become illumined I rubbed my wax.
I saw his opinion and cast away my own twisted opinion;
I became his reed pipe and likewise lamented on his lip.
He was in my hand, and blindly I groped for him with my
hand; I was in his hand, and yet I inquired of those who were
I must have been either a simpleton or drunk or mad that
fearfully I was stealing from my own gold.
Life a thief I crept through a crack in the wall into my own
vine, like a thief I gathered jasmine from my own garden.
Enough, do not twist my secret upon your fingertips, for
I have twisted off out of your twisted fist.
Shams-e Tabriz, from whom comes the light of moon and
stars, though I am grieving with sorrow for him, I am like the
crescent of the festival.

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




Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"A slap in season"



What is justice? To put a thing in its right place.
What is injustice? To put a thing in its wrong place.
Nothing is vain that God has created,
whether it be anger or forbearance or sincere counsel or guile.
None of these things is absolutely good,
nor are any of them absolutely evil.
The usefulness or harm of each depends on the occasion:
for this reason knowledge is necessary and useful.
Oh, many a punishment inflicted on a poor fellow
is more meritorious than a gift of bread or sweetmeats,
for sweetmeat eaten unseasonably causes yellow bile,
whereas slaps purge him of evil.
Give the poor fellow a slap in season:
it will save him beheading later.


`Adl cheh bud vaz` andar mawze`esh
zolm cheh bud vaz` dar nâ mawze`esh
Nist bâtel harcheh Yazdân âfarid
az ghazab vaz helm vaz nas.h o makid
Khayr-e motlaq nist zin-hâ hich chiz
sharr-e motlaq nist zin-hâ hich niz
Naf` o zarr-e har yeki az mawze`ast
`elm azin ru vâjebast o nâfe`ast
Ay basâ zajri keh bar meskin ravad
dar savâb az nân o halvâ beh bovad
Zânkeh halvâ bi avân safrâ konad
silish az khobs mostanqâ konad
Siliyi dar vaqt bar meskin be-zan
keh rahânad ânesh az gardan zadan

-- Mathnawi VI:2596-2602
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra




Monday, June 18, 2007

Warriors with no shields, musicians with no pipes


Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2942, in an interpretive version by
Coleman Barks, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:


"Ashes, Wanderers"

In this battle we do not hold
a shield in front to us. When

we turn in sama, we do not hear
the flute or the tambourine.

Underneath these feet we become
nazar, the guide's glance, ashes,

wanderers: as the moon diminishes
every day and then it's gone, to

come back changed. Send for the
planet Venus to play here! Flute,

drum, and strings are not enough.
No. Who but these musicians could

stand the heat that melts the sun?

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

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In the battle ranks we have no shield before our face; in the
concert we are unaware of reed pipe and tambourine.
We are naught in his love, dust at the foot of his love; we are
love fold upon fold, we are all love, nothing else.
When we have obliterated ourselves we become altogether
love; when sormah is pounded, it is nothing but the source of
Every body that has become an accident has become the soul
and heart of self-interest; melt of all sickness, there is nothing
worse than being congealed.
Out of desire of that melting and love for that cherishing the
liver within me has turned all to blood; I have no liver any more.
My heart is broken into a hundred pieces, my heart has become
astray; today if you search, there is no trace of heart in me.
Look at the orb of the moon, waning every day, so that in the
dark period you might say there is no moon in the sky.
The changelessness of that moon derives from nearness to the
sun; when afar, it is full-bodied, but such initiative does not
belong to it.
O king, for the sake of the soul send Venus as a minstrel;
this soft pipe and tambourine are no match for the concert of
the souls.
No, no--for what is Venus when the Sun itself is powerless?
To be suitable for such ardor is not in the power of any lute or

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




Friday, June 15, 2007

The treasure is within

Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 1426, in a version by
Jonathan Star, and in translation by William Chittick:

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"The Dome of the Inner Sky"

The Great King is within me.
He is my dearest friend.

Don't look at my sallow face,
Look at how I stand with legs of iron!
Always turning toward that One
who gave me life.

I am the glorious Sun,
the ocean laden with pearls.
Within my heart is the grandeur of heaven,
Outside, the lowly earth.

I travel in this world like a bee in a jar.
But don't listen to my woeful buzzing -
My house is filled with honey!

O heart, if you want to join us,
raise yourself
to the dome of the inner sky.
Enter the fortress that no one can break.

The vast and mighty waters
move the grinding stones of heaven.
I am that great wheel,
crying so sweetly,
turning with the flow of rushing water.

Men, demons, and spirits all follow my command.
Can't you see that I am Solomon,
with a shimmering seal on my ring?

Why should I be weary
when every cell of my body is bursting with life?
Why should I be a donkey's slave
when I ride upon a magical horse?
Why should I be less than the Moon
when there are no scorpions at my feet?
Why should I stay at the bottom of a well
when a strong rope is in my hand?

I've built a place for the falcons of my soul -
Fly this way, O birds of spirit,
for I am surrounded by a hundred mighty towers!

I am the rays of the Sun
dancing through the windows of every house.
I am carnelian, gold, and rubies,
even though this body is made of water and clay.

Whatever pearl you seek,
look for the pearl within the pearl!

The surface of the earth says,
"The treasure is within."
The glowing jewel says,
"Don't be fooled by my beauty -
the light of my face
comes from the candle of my spirit."

What else can I say?
You will only hear
what you are ready to hear.
Don't nod your head,
Don't try to fool me -
the truth of what you see
is written all over your face!

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved "
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997


How should you know what kind of King is my inward
companion? Look not at my yellow face, for I have legs
of iron!

I have turned my face totally to that King who brought
me here: I have a thousand praises for Him who created me.

One moment I am the sun, the next an ocean of pearls.
Inwardly I have the majesty of the spheres, outwardly
the lowliness of the earth.

Within this jar of the world I wander like a bee - look
not only at my wailful buzzing, for I have a house full of

Oh heart, if you are seeking us, come up to the blue
dome - my palace is a fortress that gives me the security
of the secure.

How awesome is the water than turns the millstone
of the heavens! I am the water's wheel - that is why my
cries are so sweet!

Since you see that devils, mankind, and jinn all follow
my command, can you not understand that I am Solomon
and that on my ring is a seal?

Why should I be withered? Every one of my particles
has blossomed! Why should I be an ass's slave? I am
mounted upon Buraq!*

Why should I be less than the moon? No scorpion has
bit my foot! Why should I not come out of this well? I
have grasped a strong rope!

I have built a house for the spirit's pigeons - fly in
this direction, oh bird of the spirit, for I possess a
hundred inaccessible towers!

I am a ray of the Sun, though I wander about all these
houses. I am carnelian and gold and rubies, though I was
born or water and clay!

Whatever pearl you see, seek another within it! Every
dustmote says, "Inwardly I am a treasure!"

Every jewel says to you, "Be not satisfied with my beauty,
for the light in my face derives from the candle of my

I will be silent, for you have not the intelligence to
understand - do not nod your head, try not to deceive me,
for I have an eye that discerns intelligence.

-- Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

* Buraq: the name of the miraculous steed which carried the
Prophet Muhammad on his famous Night Journey [Mi`raaj]
from Mecca to the Temple site in Jerusalem, and straight up
into the Heavens. It was described as smaller than a mule,
but bigger than a donkey, and it had wings. It travelled as fast
as lightning [barq] to wherever its glance looked next.
(Footnote courtesy of Dr. Ibrahim Gamard.)

The media:

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

"The desire in your heart is for the sea"



You are a bird of the sea,
even though a chicken has sheltered you beneath her wing.
The desire in your heart is for the sea;
your soul has that nature from your mother.
Leave your land-bound nursemaid and move on.
Come into the sea of reality.
You are a waterfowl:
you can live on land and sea.
You are of royal birth, for . . .
"We have ennobled the children of Adam:"*
you walk on both dry land and sea.


Mâdar-e to batt-e ân daryâ bodast
dâyeh-'et khâki bod o khoshki parast
Mayl-e daryâ keh del-e to andarast
ân tabi`at jânet-râ az mâdarast
Mayl-e khoshki mar torâ zin dâyeh ast
dâyeh-râ bo-g'zâr keh u bad-râyeh ast
Dâyeh-râ bo-g'zâr bar khoshk va be-rân
andar â dar bahr-e ma`nâ chon battân
Gar torâ mâdar be-tarsânad ze âb
to ma-tars va su-ye daryâ rân shetâb
To batti bar khoshk va bar tar zendeh-'i
ni cho morgh khâneh khâneh kandeh-'i
To ze "Karramnâ Bani dam"* shahi
ham be-khoshki ham be-daryâ pâ nehi

-- Mathnawi II:3767-3773
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

*al-Isrâ', 70

The media:




Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Milk and honey, sugar and halva


Here, Sunlight offers Rumi's Ghazal (Ode) 236, from the Diwan-
e Shams, in a translation by Professor Franklin D. Lewis. Professor
Lewis relates that this poem was, "Rumi's benediction, either on the
occasion of the marriage contract, or the actual wedding celebration,
of his son, Sultan Valad, and Salah al-Din's daughter Fateme Khatun".


May the blessings which flow in all weddings
be gathered, God, together in our wedding!
The blessings of the Night of Power,
the month of fasting
the festival to break the fast
the blessings of the meeting of Adam and Eve
the blessings of the meeting of Joseph and Jacob
the blessings of gazing on the paradise of all abodes
and yet another blessing which cannot be put in words:
the fruitful scattering of joy
of the children of the Shayak
and our eldest!

In companionship and happiness
may you be like milk and honey
in union and fidelity,
just like sugar and halva.
May the blessings of those who toast
and the one who pours the wine
anoint the ones who said Amen and
the one who said the prayer.

-- Translation by Franklin D. Lewis
"Rumi -- Past and Present, East and West"
Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2000

The media:




Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Honesty is better than a false reputation



When you say, "I'm ignorant: teach me,"
such honesty is better than a false reputation.
Learn from your father Adam, O clear-browed man:
he said, "O our Lord" and "We have done wrong."*
He made no excuses, nor did he invent lies,
nor did he lift up the banner of evasion.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chon be-guyi "Jâhelam ta`lim deh"
in chonin ensâf az nâmus beh
Az pedar âmuz ay rawshan-jabin
"Rabbanâ" goft va "Zalamnâ"* pish azin
Nah bahâneh kard va nah tazvir sâkht
nah levâ-ye makr o hilat bar farâkht

*al-Anbiyâ', 97

-- Mathnawi IV: 1388-1390
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra)

The media:




Monday, June 11, 2007

I am ready to drink every flame

In this post, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 543, in a
poetic version by Coleman Barks and a literal translation by
A. J. Arberry:

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

When I press my hand to my chest,
it is Your Chest.

And now You're scratching my head!

Sometimes you put me in the herd
with Your other camels.

Sometimes You place me at the front of the troops
as the commander. Sometimes You wet me
with Your mouth like You do Your seal-ring
just before You plant Your power.

Sometimes You round me
into a simple door-knocker.

You take blood and make sperm.
You take sperm and create an animal.
You use the animal to evolve Intelligence.
Life keeps leading to more Life.

You drive me away gently
as a flute-song does a dove
from the eaves.

With the same song
You call me back.

You push me out on many journeys;
then You anchor me with no motion at all.

I am water. I am the thorn
that catches someone's clothing.

I don't care about marvelous sights!
I only want to be in Your Presence.

There's nothing to believe.
Only when I quit believing in myself
did I come into This Beauty.

I saw Your Blade and burned my shield!
I flew on six hundred pairs of wings like Gabriel.
But now that I'm Here, what do I need wings for?

Day and night I guarded the pearl of my soul.
Now in this Ocean of pearling currents,
I've lost track of which was mine.

There is no way to describe You.
Say the end of this so strongly
that I will ride up over
my own commotion.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
from a translation by A.J. Arberry
"Like This"
Maypop, 1990

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

My Beloved leaves me not so much as to scratch my own
head; it is the body of my Beloved that presses me in its breast.
Now He draws me in His train like a string of camels, anon
the King places me in front like the commander of His troops.
Anon He sucks me like a seal-ring, to plant His seal
through me; anon He makes me into a ring and fastens me on
His door.
He takes blood and makes sperm, He takes sperm and
fashions a creature; He slays the creature and fashions Reason,
He makes manifest the resurrection.*
Now He drives me away with a reed like a dove from the
house, anon with a hundred entreaties He calls me to His presence.
Now He carries me like a ship on a voyage over the sea,
anon He halts me and ties me to His own anchor.
Now He makes me water for the sake of the seeker after
purity, anon He makes me a thorn in the path of His luckless
The eternal eight paradises did not become the prospect of
that King; how happy is this heart of mine, which He makes
His prospect!*
Not by the attestation of faith did I become a believer in
that Beauty of the Soul; only then did I become a believer in
It when I became an unbeliever in myself.
Whoever joined His ranks became secure from destruction
by Him; I saw the sword in His hand, I burned that shield of
I was like-pinioned with Gabriel, I had six hundred wings;
now that I have reached Him, what shall I do with my wings?
Many days and nights I was guardian of the pearl of my
soul; now in the current of the ocean of pearls I am indifferent
to my own pearl.
How long will you essay to describe Him? For He comes not
within description; make enough, that I may ride over my

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

* See Koran 23: 12-14
* Muhammad in his Ascension disregarded the wonders of the
heavens, seeking only the Presence of God. For another interpretation
of the Eight Paradises, see Nicholson on Math. I: 3498.

The media:

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


Friday, June 08, 2007

"The Virtues of Water"


Here, Sunlight offers a selection from the Mathnawi, Book V,
Verses 199-235, as translated, transliterated, and footnoted, by Dr.
Ibrahim Gamard. Sunlight thanks Dr. Gamard for his contributions and
friendship. At the end of the post, a link to the Persian media will
be found.


The Virtues of Water

Mathnawi V: 199-235

Water rained (down) from the starry heavens* for this sake: so
that it might purify those who are unclean from impurity.

Regarding the cleansing by water of all impurities, and (how)
God Most High then cleanses the water (itself) from impurity.
Undoubtedly, God the Exalted is Most Pure and Holy!

When water battled (impurity) and became dirty,* so that it became
such that the senses refused (to accept) it,
God brought it back to the Ocean of Rightness, so that the Water*
of the water might wash it (clean), from (Divine) Generosity.
The following year it came (back), dragging (its long clean) robe.
"Hey, where were you?" [said the Earth]. "In the ocean of the good
and sweet ones.
"I went from this place (in a) dirty (condition), (then) I became
pure. I took (back) a robe of honor* (and) came (once more) to the
"Look! Come to me, O impure ones, since my nature has taken
(something) from the manner of God.
"I will accept all your foulness, (and) will give purity like
(that of) an angel to the demon.
"(And) when I become polluted, I'll go back to that (heavenly)
place: I'll go to the Origin of the origin of pure things.
"I'll tear the dirty garment off (my) head there, (and) He will
give me a pure robe of honor once again.
"This is His work, and my work is the same. (And) the Adorner
of the world is "the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe!"*
If these impurities of our had not existed, the water would never
have had this exaltation.
It stole pouches of gold from someone* (and then) runs in each
direction, saying, "Look here! Where is a penniless person?"
Either it scatters (gold)* upon some grown plant, or it washes the
face of some unwashed face.
Or it takes a ship upon its head,* like a porter-- (a ship)
helpless in the seas.
A hundred thousand remedies (are) hidden in it,* because every
remedy grows from it in this way.
The soul of every pearl (and) the heart of every grain* goes into
the river (for healing) as (into) a drugstore.
There is nourishment from it for the orphans of the earth, (and)
there is movement from it for the dried-up ones who are chained and
When its measured amount no longer remains, it becomes murky;
it becomes fatigued, like us, on the earth.

How the water, after becoming murky, asks help from God,
may His Grandeur be glorified

It (then) raises up a wailing cry from within (itself): "O God!
That which You gave (me) I've given (away), and (now) I remain a
(poor) beggar.
"I scattered the (entire) stock upon (both) pure and the impure. O
King, (You are) the Giver of (all) assets: 'Are there any more?'"*
(God) said to the cloud, "Take (the water) to the place of
(And) you also, O sun, draw up (the water) to the heights."
(God) drives it (along) various pathways so that He may bring it
to the limitless ocean.
But the aim of (mentioning) this water is (to symbolize) the
spirit of the saints,* for it is something for washing (away) your
muddy (stains).
When it becomes murky from washing* the people of the earth, it
turns back to the Giver of Purity to the heavens.
(Then), dragging (its) robe (of honor), it brings back lessons
from that (lofty) direction-- about the holy purities of (God), the
It frees all from (having to do) the ritual washing with sand,*
and seekers of the prayer direction* from choosing an intention.*
From being mixed with the people, it obtains a weak condition.*
(And so) it seeks (to make) that journey (again, saying), "Revive us,
O Bilal!
"O melodious and sweet-toned Bilal,* go up into the minaret (and)
pound the drum of departure for a journey!"*
While the body (is) in the standing (position of the prayer),* the
spirit has gone on a journey. (And) at the time of (its) return, it
says (the greeting of) "Peace (be upon you)!"* for this reason.
This parable is like an intermediary within (this) speech,
(because) an intermediary is a condition (needed) for the common
people's understanding.
(For) without an intermediary no one can ever go into the fire--
except a salamander,* who has escaped from (the need for a)
It's necessary for you to have the intermediary of the hot bath so
that your (bodily) nature may benefit from the fire.
Since you can't go (directly) into the fire, like Abraham,* the
hot bath is your Prophet (and) the water (is) your guide.
(True) fullness is from God, yet the people preoccupied with soil*
will never reach satisfaction without the intermediary of bread.
(True) gracefulness is from God,* yet the people the body won't
find subtle beauty without the (lovely) veil of the garden.
If the intermediary of the body were to cease, he would find the
light of the moon (shining) from (his) chest without (any) veil, like
The virtues of water are also witnesses that its inner (nature) is
full of the Grace of God.

-- From "The Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî" [Rhymed Couplets of
Deep Spiritual Meaning] of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with
gratitude for R.A. Nicholson's 1934 British
(c) Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)

*from the starry heavens [simâk]: literally, "the Two Fishes,"
meaning two stars, one of which is Arcturus. This word was chosen
(rather than "from the clouds" or "sky") for the rhyme.
*and become dirty: Nicholson translated, "When the water had done
battle (in its task of ablution)..." This is because the immediate
meaning of this passage has to do with the ritual ablutions required
before the Islamic prayers can be performed. The hands, face, arms,
and feet are washed with clean water. This is done with prayer, with
the intention that impurities, both outward and inward, may be
removed. On a deeper level, Nicholson explains: "The water is a type
of the saintly spirit which, when it is soiled through contact with
human sin, renews its purity by union with God." (footnote)
*the Water: "i.e. God, from whom the saints derive their power to
purify the soul." (Nicholson, Commentary)
*a robe of honor: given as a reward to subjects by kings. It
consisted, at the least, of a robe, a turban, and a waist sash.
*the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe: "Praise be to God, the
Lord and Sustainer of the Universe" [literally, "of (all) the worlds"]
(Qur'an I: 2)
*from someone: "I.e. it received the treasure of Divine grace."
(Nicholson, footnote)
*it scatters (gold): Nicholson translated, "Either it sheds (the
treasure)..." He explained: "I.e. it endows the vegetable soul with
capacity for spiritual progress." (footnote) This means that the plant
is graced with the opportunity to be eaten by an animal, so as to
become part of the next higher level, animality.
*it washes the face of some unwashed face: may refer to the ritual
ablutions made with water, required before the Islamic prayers. See
note above.
*it takes a ship upon its head: "I.e. it uplifts those who are
struggling with doubt and despair and bears them onward to
salvation." (Nicholson, footnote)
*A hundred thousand remedies (are) hidden in it: "As water is the
source of all material life (Qur. XXI 31[= "And We have made every
living thing from water"]), so the holy 'water" contains and produces
from itself every cure for spiritual maladies." (Nicholson,
*every pearl (and) the heart of every grain: "Durr [= pearl] and
dánah [= grain] may signify the enlightened and ignorant
respectively." (Nicholson, Commentary)
* "Are there any more?": from Qur'an 50:30.
*the spirits of the saints: means those holy souls who (whether
living or departed) remain in a state of nearness to God, and have
special powers of intercession, by the permission of God.
*washing [ghusl]: this word was added on the margin of the earliest
manuscript as a correction to the original word, "ghadr"-- treachery,
villainy. Nicholson translated using the latter: "When it is stained
dark by (washing) the treason of the inhabitants of the earth..."
*the ritual washing with sand: if no water is available for the
ritual washing, Muslims may use clean sand (or pat a clean rock, if no
sand is available).
*the prayer direction [qibla]: the direction toward which all Muslims
pray-- toward Mecca, where the temple dedicated to pure
monotheism, called the Ka`ba, is located.
*choosing an intention: means that if water is available, no
intention of searching for nearby water is needed (after which sand
could be substituted).
In the earliest manuscript, it is written on the margin that this
line should follow line 223 (rather than line 226, where it is
situated). Nicholson noted that "corrections made in the two oldest
MSS. suggest that it would be more apropos there." (Commentary)
*a weak condition [i`tilâl]: In Tawfiq Subhani's edition of the
earliest manuscript there appears to be a typographical error
("i`tidâl"-- moderation, equilibrium) which makes no sense in the
context of the verse. Nicholson's text, also based on the earliest
manuscript has "i`tilâl," which makes complete sense.
*Bilal: a favorite companion of the Prophet Muhammad. Formerly a
black slave owned by a cruel pagan Arab master, he was the first
Muslim to recite the call to prayer, by which all Muslims within
hearing distance perform the prayers five times a day (God is Most
Great! I bear witness that there is no divinity but God! I bear
witness that Muhammad is the Prophet of God! Come to the prayer! Come
to (spiritual) happiness! God is Most Great! There is no divinity but
God!). According to a tradition, the Prophet selected Bilal for this
task, because of the latter's pleasant voice, and used to say when the
time for prayers approached, "O Bilal, revive us (with the call to
prayer)!" Nicholson explains this as meaning: "i.e. 'relieve us from
the cares of this world by chanting the adhán (call to prayer'."
*the drum of departure for a journey: refers to the Islamic ritual
prayer, which can allow the spirit to make a similar journey from this
world into Heaven as was made by the Prophet during his Ascension
*the standing (position of the prayer): refers to the start of the
prayer, when the praying person stands and makes the intention to
enter into the sacred time of prayer. From then on, the focus is on
being in the presence of God, and this state cannot be interrupted by
the distractions of this world until the prayer is completed. "On the
mystical significance of qiyám [= the standing posture], and the other
postures of the salát [= the ritual prayer], see III 2140-2166..."
(Nicholson, Commentary)
*Peace (be upon you): These are the words which are said to end
being in the sacred time of prayer, after which one can move about
and interact with other people as usual.
*a salamander: "The salamander, which (according to Moslem
naturalists) 'usually lives in the fire', serves as a symbol for the
mystic whose perception of reality is intuitive." (Nicholson,
Commentary) Thus, the salamander was believed to have the
miraculous ability to be "at home" in fire, and needed no intermediary
or connecting link.
*into the fire, like Abraham: The Prophet Abraham was thrown into
fiery furnace for opposing polytheism, but God protected him by
commanding, "O fire, be coolness and a (place of) safety for
Abraham" (Qur'an 21:69).
*the people (preoccupied) with soil: means those who are overly
interested in material concerns. Bread is connected to the soil, from
being made from grain.
*(True) gracefulness is from God: Nicholson referred here to Rumi's
story of the sufi who contemplated the beauty of the garden within
his own heart (Mathnawi IV, starting at line 1358).
*like Moses: On the same occasion when God commanded Moses to
throw down his staff, which miraculously became a snake, He also
commanded him to press his hand into his side, and his hand emerged
shining white (Qur'an 7:108; 20: 22; 27: 12; 28: 32)-- symbolizing
the gift of prophecy. Here, Rumi interprets that it was the luminous
whiteness within the chest of Moses, which caused his hand to
become white.


âb bahr-é în be-bârîd az simâk
tâ palîd-ân-râ kon-ad az khubS pâk

pâk kardan-é âb hama-yé palîdî-hâ-râ wa bâz pâk kardan
khodây-é ta`âlà âb-râ az palîdî, lâ-jaram quddûs âmad Haqq

âb chûn paygâr kard-o shod najis
tâ chon-ân shod k-âb-râ rad kard His

Haq bo-bord-ash bâz dar baHr-é Sawâb
tâ be-shost-ash az karam ân âb-ê âb

sâl-é dêgar âmad ô dâman-kashân
hay ko-jâ bûd-î? ba-daryây-é khwash-ân

man najis z-în-jâ shod-am, pâk âmad-am
be-s'tad-am khil`at sôy-é khâk âmad-am

hîn be-y-ây-îd ay palîd-ân sôy-é man
ke gereft az khôy-é yazdân khôy-é man

dar paZîr-am jumla-yé zeshtî-t-râ
chûn malak pâkî deh-am `ifrît-râ

chûn shaw-am âlûda, bâz ân-jâ raw-am
sôy-é aSl-é aSl-é pâkî-hâ raw-am

dalaq-é cherkîn bar kan-am ân-jâ ze-sar
khil`at-é pâk-am deh-ad bâr-ê degar

kâr-é ô în-ast-o kâr-é man ham-în
`âlam-ârây-ast rabbu 'l-`âlamîn

gar na-bûdy în palîdî-hây-é mâ
kay body în bâr-nâma âb-râ?

kîsa-hây-é zar be-dozdîd az kasê
me-raw-ad har sô ke hîn, kô muflisê?

yâ be-rêz-ad bar geyâh-é rosta-yê
yâ be-shôy-ad rôy-é rô-nâ-shosta-yê

yâ be-gîr-ad bar sar ô, hammâl-wâr
kashtiy-é bê-dast-o pâ-râ dar biHâr

Sad hazâr-ân dârô andar way nehân
z-ân-ke har dârô be-rôy-ad z-ô chon-ân

jân-é har dorrê, del-é har dâna-yê
mê-raw-ad dar jô chô dârô-khâna-yê

z-ô yatîm-ân-é zamîn-râ parwaresh
basta-gân-é khoshk-râ az way rawesh

chûn na-mân-ad mâya-ash, têra shaw-ad
ham-chô mâ andar zamîn khêra shaw-ad

ist`ânat âb az Haqq-- jalla jalâlu-hu-- ba`d az têra shodan

nâla az bâTin bar âr-ad k-ay khodâ
ân-che dâr-î, dâd-am-o mând-am gadâ

rêkht-am sarmâya bar pâk-o palîd
ay shah-é sarmâya-deh hal min mazîd?

abr-râ gôy-ad bo-bar jây-é khwash-ash
ham tô khworshîd-â ba-bâlâ bar kash-ash

râh-hây-é mukhtalif mê-rând-ash
tâ rasân-ad sôy-é baHr-é bê-Had-ash

khwad gharaZ z-în âb jân-é awliyâ-st
k-ô ghasûl-é têragî-hây-é shomâ-st

chûn shaw-ad têra ze-ghusl-é ahl-é farsh
bâz gard-ad sôy-é pâkî-bakhsh-é `arsh

bâz âr-ad z-ân Taraf dâman-kashân
az Tahârât-é muHîT ô dars-eshân

az tayammum wâ rahân-ad jomla-râ
w-az taHarri Tâlib-ân-é qibla-râ

z-ikhtilâT-é khalq yâb-ad i`tilâl
ân safar jôy-ad ke ariH-nâ yâ bilâl

ay bilâl-é khwash-nawây-é khwash-Sahîl
mîZana bar raw, be-zan Tabl-é raHîl

jân safar raft-o badan andar qiyâm
waqt-é rij`at z-în sabab gôy-ad salâm

în mathal chûn wâsiTa-st andar kalâm
wâsiTa sharT-ast bahr-é fahm-é `âm

andar âtesh kay raw-ad bê-wâsiTa
joz samandar, k-ô rahîd az râbiTa?

wâsiTa-yé Hammâm bây-ad mar to-râ
tâ ze-âtesh khwash kon-î tô Tab`-râ

chûn na-tân-î shod dar âtesh chûn khalîl
gasht Hammâm-at rasûl, âb-at dalîl

sêrî az Haqq-ast lêk ahl-é Taba`
kay ras-ad bê-wâsiTa-yé nân dar shiba`?

luTf az Haqq-ast, lêkin ahl-é tan
dar na-yâb-ad luTf bê-parda-yé chaman

chûn na-mân-ad wâsiTa-yé tan bê-Hijâb
ham-chô mûsà nûr-é mah yâb-ad ze-jayb

în honar-hâ âb-râ ham shâhid-ast
k-andarûn-ash por ze-luTf-é îzad-ast

The media:




Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thirsty and craving



When the listener has become thirsty and craving,
the preacher, even if he is as good as dead,
becomes eloquent.
When the hearer is fresh and without fatigue,
the drunk and mute will find
a hundred tongues to speak.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mostame` chon tashneh va juyandeh shod
vâ`ez ar mordeh bovad guyandeh shod
mostame` chon tâzeh âmad bi malâl
sad zabân gardad be-goftan gong va lâl

-- Mathnawi I: 2379-2380
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

The media:




Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"If you offer me your love"

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Don't take the cup away from me
before I've had enough to drink
Your promises are charming
but I am not a fool.
Be more giving or I will have to rob you,
you raise your price to discourage me
but I am not naive and won't give up so easily.
Come out of hiding, open the door and let me in
I am at your mercy, the slave of your smile.
I put on airs to impress you,
even your scolding inflames my passion.
You are the music within music that stole my heart.
If I see beauty it's because I look through your eyes
but when I come back to myself
I find no one there.
Still you are not content, what more do you want?
My king, I am your falcon and when I hear your drum
I will spread my wings.
If you offer me your love I'll be drunk with joy,
but if you do not, I will accept,
lower my head and surrender.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 1394
Translated by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
Rumi: Hidden Music
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001

The media:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^



Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"Your friends are really your enemies"

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Your friends are really your enemies
as much as they keep you occupied with them
and take you away from the Presence.
There is an animal called a porcupine
which is made strong and big by the blows of the stick.
The more you beat it, the more it thrives.
Surely the true believer's soul is a porcupine,
for the blows of tribulation strengthen it.
For this reason, the trials and humiliation
laid upon the prophets is greater
than that laid upon all other creatures,
so that their souls become steadier than other souls;
for no other people have suffered such affliction.
The hide is burned by the treatment,
but it becomes supple like the leather of Ta'if;
and if the tanner didn't rub acid solution into it,
it would only become fetid and repulsive.


Dar haqiqat dustânet doshmanand
keh ze Hazrat dur o mashghulet konand
Hast hayavâni keh nâmesh oshghorast
u be-zakhm-e chub zaft o lamtorast
Tâ keh chubesh mi zani beh mi shavad
u ze zakhm-e chub farbeh mi shavad
Nafs-e mo'men oshghori âmad yaqin
ku be-zakhm-e ranj zaftast o samin
Zin sabab bar anbiyâ ranj o shekast
az hameh khalq-e jahân afzuntarast
Tâ ze jân-hâ jâneshân shod zafttar
keh na-didand ân balâ qawm-e degar
Pust az dâru balâ-kash mi shavad
chon adim-e Tâyefi khvosh mi shavad
Var nah talkh o tiz mâlidi daru
gandeh gashti nâ-khvosh o nâ-pâk bu

-- Mathnawi IV: 96-103
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

The media:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^


Monday, June 04, 2007

"Hamza's Nothing"

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

"Hamza's Nothing"

A moth flying into the flames says
with its wingfire, "Try this." The wick

with its knotted neck broken tells you
the same. A candle as it diminishes

explains, "Gathering more and more is
not the way. Burn, become light

and heat and help melt." The ocean
sits in the sand letting its lap

fill with pearls and shells, then empty.
The bitter salt taste hums, "This."

The phoenix gives up on good-and-bad,
flies to nest on Mount Qaf, no more

burning and rising from ash. It sends
out one message. The rose purifies

its face, drops the soft petals, shows
its thorn, and points. Wine abandons

thousands of famous names, the vintage
years and delightful bouquets, to run

wild and anonymous through your brain.
Empty, the flute closes its eyes

to Hamza's nothing. Everything begs
with the silent rocks for you to be

flung out like light over this plain,
the presence of Shams-i Tabriz.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 2041
Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
"The Glance"
Viking-Penguin, 1999

The media:

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Friday, June 01, 2007

"Go not without me"


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2195, in four presentations:
versions by Star and Barks, and translations by Schimmel and

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O Sky, don't revolve without me!
O moon, do not shine without me!
O earth, do not go without me!
O Time, do not go without me!
This world is enchanted by you,
that world is enchanted by you
Don't stay without me in this world!
Don't go to that world without me!
Your face, yonder radiant moon
makes lucid and lights our night
I'm only the night, you're the moon . . .
Don't go to the spheres without me!
The rose, she is kind to the thorn
and she protects him from fire
Look, you are the rose, I'm the thorn!
Don't go to your home without me!

-- Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
"Look! This is Love - Poems of Rumi"
Shambhala, 1991


Don't Go Without Me

Dancing in ecstasy you go,
my soul of souls
Don't go without me.
Laughing with your friends
you enter the garden
Don't go without me.

Don't let the sky turn without me.
Don't let the Moon shine without me.
Don't let the Earth spin without me.
Don't let the days pass without me.

The two worlds are joyous
because of you.
Don't stay in this world without me.
Don't go to the next world without me.

Don't let your eyes look without me.
Don't let your tongue speak without me.
Don't let your hands hold without me.
Don't let your soul stir without me.

Moonlight reveals the sky's bright face.
I am the light, you are the Moon
Don't rise without me.

The thorn is protected by the rose!
You are the rose, I am the thorn
Don't show your beauty without me.

I am the curve of your mallet,
the bits of stone beneath your chisel.
Don't strike the stone without me.
Don't move the chisel without me.

O joyous companion of the King,
Don't drink without me.
O watchman on the rooftop,
Don't stay up without me.

Woe to those who travel alone . . .
You know every sign,
You've walked upon every path
Don't go without me.

Some call you love,
I call you the King of Love.
You are beyond all imaginings,
taking me places
I can't even dream of.
O Ruler of my Heart,
wherever you go . . .

Don't go without me.

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved"
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997


In the Arc of Your Mallet

Don't go anywhere without me.
Let nothing happen in the sky apart from me,
or on the ground, in this world or that world,
without my being in its happening.
Vision, see nothing I don't see.
Language, say nothing.
The way the night knows itself with the moon,
be that with me. Be the rose
nearest to the thorn that I am.
I want to feel myself in you when you taste food, in the
arc of your mallet when you work.
When you visit friends, when you go
up on the roof by yourself at night.

There's nothing worse than to walk out along the street
without you. I don't know where I'm going.
You're the road and the knower of roads,
more than maps, more than love.

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


Sweetly parading, you go, my soul of soul, go not without me;
life of your friends, enter not the garden without me.
Sky, revolve not without me; moon, shine not without me;
earth travel not without me, and time, go not without me.
With you this world is joyous, and with you that world is
joyous; in this world dwell not without me, and to that world depart
not without me.
Vision, know not without me, and tongue, recite not without
me; glance behold not without me, and soul, go not without me.
The night through the moon's light sees its face white; I am
light, you are my moon, go not to heaven without me.
The thorn is secure from the fire in the shelter of the roses
face: you are the rose, I your thorn; go not into the rose garden
without me.
I run in the curve of your mallet when your eye is with me;
even so gaze upon me, drive not without me, go not without me.
When, joy, you are companion of the king, drink not without
me; when, watchman, you go to the kings roof, go not without me.
Alas for him who goes on this road without your sign; since
you, O signless one, are my sign, go not without me.
Alas for him who goes on the road without my knowledge;
you are the knowledge of the road for me; O road-knower, go
not without me.
Others call you love, I call you the king of love; O you who
are higher than the imagination of this and that, go not without me.

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

The media:

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