Friday, April 18, 2008

[Sunlight] The Presence of Your Face -- Ghazal 171


Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 171, in a version by Coleman
Barks, and in a literal translation, with footnotes, from Dr. Ibrahim


When I see Your Face, the stones start spinning!
You appear; all studying wanders.
I lose my place.

Water turns pearly.
Fire dies down and doesn't destroy.

In Your Presence I don't want what I thought
I wanted, those three little hanging lamps.

Inside Your Face the ancient manuscripts
seem like rusty mirrors.

You breathe; new shapes appear,
and the music of a Desire as widespread
as Spring begins to move
like a great wagon.
Drive slowly.
Some of us walking alongside
are lame!

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"Like This"
Maypop, 1990


1941 When you reveal those rose-colored cheeks (of
yours),you make the stones whirl* from joy.
Put (your) head out from the veil once again, for the
sake of amazed lovers;
So that knowledge may lose the way, (and) the
intellectual may shatter (his) learning;
So that water may become a pearl* from your reflection,
(and) fire may quit war.
1945 With (the presence of) your beauty, I don't desire the
(lovely full) moon or those few little hanging lanterns (in
the heavens).
(And) with (the presence of) your face, I don't call the
ancient rusty sky a "mirror."
You breathed into and created this narrow world* in
another form once again.
O Venus,* make that harp melodious again, in desire for
his Mars-like eyes!

-- From "The Dîwân-é Kabîr" (or "Dîvân-é Shams-é Tabrîzî,"
"Kulliyât-é Shams") of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard
(c) Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, &


(1941) you make the stones whirl: possibly a reference
to the rotation of millstones.
(1944) So that water may become a pearl: pearls were
believed to form when a drop of rain-water fell into the sea
and was consumed by an oyster. Here the process is imagined
as an immediate transformation.
(1947) You breathed into and created this narrow world:
in this line the Divine Beloved (God) is in the foreground.
It is a characteristic of Persian sufi poetry to be
ambiguous about whether the human beloved or the Divine
Beloved is addressed. Here, there is a reference to the
Divine creation with breath and sound: "He is the Originator
of the heavens and the earth. And if He decrees a thing, He
says to it, "Be!' And it is." (Qur'ân 2:117)
(1948) Venus: the planet associated with music and joy.


1941 chôn namây-î ân rokh-é gol-rang-râ
az Tarab dar charkh âr-î sang-râ

bâr-é dêgar sar berûn kon az Hijâb
az barây-é `âshiq-ân-é dang-râ

tâ ke dânesh gom kon-ad mar râh-râ
tâ ke `âqil be-sh'kan-ad farhang-râ

tâ ke âb az `aks-é tô gawhar shaw-ad
tâ ke âtesh wâ-hel-ad mar jang-râ

1945 man na-khwâh-am mâh-râ bâ Husn-é tô
w-ân dô-se qindîl-ak-é âhang-râ

man na-goy-am âyena bâ roy-é tô
âsmân-é kohna-yé por-rang-râ

dar damîd-î w-afrîd-î bâz tô
shakl-é dêgar în jahân-é tang-râ

dar hawây-é chashm-é chûn mirrîkh-é ô
sâz deh ay zuhra bâz ân chang-râ

(meter: XoXX XoXX XoX)




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