Wednesday, June 04, 2008

[Sunlight] Seek the King of Hearts, seek the Eternal Friend -- Ghazal 1789


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 1789, in versions by Star and
Helminski, and in translation by Arberry:


"On the Threshold"

O lovers, O lovers,
heaven's drum calls my spirit and says,
It's time to leave this world.

The camel driver has risen,
The caravan is about to leave.
He says, "Forgive me for waking you . . . .
But why, O pilgrim, are you asleep?
Before you and behind you
the camel-bells are ringing.
It's time to go.

With each passing moment
a soul sets off to find itself.
From the stars,
suspended like candles
from the blue vault of heaven,
wondrous souls have appeared
and the Unseen has revealed itself.

The revolving spheres have lulled you
into a deep sleep.
Beware of this floating life.
Beware of this weighty slumber.

O heart, seek the King of Hearts.
O friend, seek the Eternal Friend.

O watchman, be wakeful –
the whole city could be lost
if you fall asleep!

Tonight, amidst the shouts and din of the city,
Amidst the light of candles and torches –
Tonight this fecund world
will give birth to eternity.

You were dust and now you are spirit.
You were ignorant and now you are wise.
The one who brought you here
will bring you still further.
Your pain will become your pleasure
as He draws you near.
Don't be afraid –
His flames are like cooling water.
To give your soul life is His sacred duty,
To break your binding chains is His only mission.

O foolish puppet, popping up from your box,
You call out to the world,
This is mine!
How long will you jump up?
If you don't bend your neck
He will bend it for you!

You put others down
and spin a web of deception.
O imposter,
You think God is a plaything in your hand?

O donkey, you belong with the straw.
O cauldron, you deserve to be blackened!
O outcast,
you deserve to be at the bottom of a well!

"In me there's another force
that gives rise to these harsh words.
Scalding water
is caused by fire, not water."

I have no stone in my hand,
no argument with anyone.
I put down no one,
for I am as sweet as a bed of roses.

That Supreme Source speaks through me . . . .
It has given you a hint – that is enough.

Now let me sit here,
on the threshold of two worlds,
Lost in the eloquence of silence.

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

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

"A Night for Departure"

O lovers, lovers, it is time
to set out from the world.
I hear a drum in my soul's ear
coming from the depths of the stars.

Our camel driver is a work;
the caravan is being readied.
He asks that we forgive him
for the disturbance he has caused us,
He asks why we travelers are asleep.

Everywhere the murmur of departure;
the stars, like candles
thrust at us from behind blue veils,
and as if to make the invisible more plain,
a wondrous people have come forth.

Beneath this water wheel of stars
your sleep has been heavy.
Observe that heaviness and beware...
for life is fragile and quick.

Heart, aim yourself at Love!
Friend, discover the Friend!
Watchman, wake up!
You're not here to sleep.

-- Version by Kabir Helminski
"Love is a Stranger"
Threshold Books, 1993

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

Lovers, lovers, it is time to migrate from the world; the drum
of departure is reaching my spirit's ear from heaven.
See, the driver has arisen, the camel train is arrayed, he has
begged us for quittance; caravaners, why are you asleep?
These sounds ahead and behind are the sounds of departure
and the camel-bells; every moment a soul and a breath is
setting off into placelessness.
From these inverted candles, from these indigo veils, there
issues a wondrous people that the things unseen may become
If heavy slumber fell upon you from this revolving sphere, alas
for this light life! Beware of this heavy slumber!
Heart, depart to the Sweetheart; friend, depart to the Friend;
watchman, be wakeful – a watchman should not sleep.
On every side are candles and torches, on every side noise
and tumult, for tonight the pregnant world gives birth to the eternal
You were clay and became heart, you were ignorant and
became intelligent; he who has drawn you on so far will draw
you beyond [this world].
In drawing and drawing you his pains are delectable; his
flames are like water, do not frown thereon.
His business is to dwell in the soul, his business to break
penitence vows; by his abundant contrivance these motes are
trembling at heart.
Laughing stock, jumping out of your hole, as if to cry, "I am
the lord of the land," how long will you jump? Bend you neck,
or they will bent you like a bow.
You sowed the seeds of deceit, you indulged in mockery, you
deemed God nonexistent; now look, you cuckold!
Ass, you were apter for straw; a cauldron, you were better
black; you were better at the bottom of the well, you disgrace to
house and household!
In me there is Another from whom these angers leap; if water
scalds, it is through fire – realize this!
I have no stone in my hand; I have no quarrel with anyone; I
deal harshly with none, for I am gay as a rose bower.
My anger is therefore from that source; it is from the other
world; this side a world, that side a world – I am seated on the
That man sits on the threshold who is mutely eloquent; you
have uttered this hint, that is enough; say no more, draw back
your tongue.

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




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