Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Intoxicated with his beauty"

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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:


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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
misinformed.
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

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1 comment:

Emma C said...

Hi,

Thanks for posting this beautiful poem - one of my favorites. I was really interested to read through the different translations. It's amazing how different they all are from each other!

thanks again
Emma