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

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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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