Friday, January 04, 2008

[Sunlight] Sudden resurrection, endless bliss


Here, Sunlight offers three renderings of Mowlana Rumi's Ghazal
(Ode) One, in a version by Jonathan Star, in a translation by Nader
Khalili, and in a translation by Kolin and Mafi:


Alchemist of My Soul

O limitless and compassionate one,
high above the rest,
You have set ablaze the dry weeds of intellect.
You have come with a smile,
and thrown open the gates of my prison.
You have come to the lowly
and given to them with the generosity of God.

You are the call of the rising Sun,
the hope of all people in need.
You are the seeker, the goal,
and seeking itself.
Blazing like fire in every heart,
calming the mind of its restlessness,
you are the seer, the seen, and sight itself.

O Alchemist of my soul, essence of all truth,
once your cure appeared
everything else lost its meaning.

There was a time we lost ourselves in others,
a time we ate the best of foods.
There was time we relied on the intellect,
a time we looked for fortune
but all this had no value in the end.

For a mouthful of food and some bitter herbs
we went everywhere,
we made so many plans
one day it was Rome,
the next day it was Africa.

We entered a raging battlefield, for what?
a few crumbs of bread.

Lose your soul in God's love, I swear
there is no other way.

Stay with that silence.
I once ran toward the knowledge of this world;
now the papers are packed, the pens are broken
O Saaqi, bring on the wine!

-- Version by Jonathan Star, based on a translation
by Shahram Shiva
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992


you are
a sudden resurrection
an endless bliss
you set a fire
in the meadow
of our dreams

laughing today
you are happy
crashing the prisons
blessing the poor

like God Himself
unveiling the sun
spreading hope
bestowing a quest
beginning a beginning
setting the end
arranging minds
giving desires
and filling desires

to make a meager living
is not worth the suffering
i let go of preaching
and fill myself with sweets

i set the paper aside
break my pen
name myself silence
i see the cup-bearer is arriving now

-- Translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire",
Burning Gate Press, 1994

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You came suddenly like resurrection,
like an infinite blessing
and my thoughts burned like trees on fire.
You came today like God Himself,
generous and full of grace,
holding the key to my freedom in your hands.
Both traveller and the road,
the beginning and the end,
You are the gatekeeper of the Sun.
For so long I have lived in pain, suspended
between my longing and my need for bread.
Now that You have risen in my heart
and taken over my thoughts,
I am breaking the pen and leaving the paper.

My Sun has risen.

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



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