Wednesday, June 18, 2008

[Sunlight] You'll realize how we've always been together -- Ghazal 1145


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 1145, from the Diwan-e
Shams, in poetic versions by Coleman Barks and Jonathan Star,
and in literal translations by A.J. Arberry and William Chittick:


No Room for Form

On the night when you cross the street
from your shop and your house
to the cemetery,

you'll hear me hailing you from inside
the open grave, and you'll realize
how we've always been together.

I am the clear consciousness-core
of your being, the same in
ecstacy as in self-hating fatigue.

That night, when you escape the fear of snakebite
and all irritation with the ants, you'll hear
my familiar voice, see the candle being lit,
smell the incense, the surprise meal fixed
by the lover inside all your other lovers.

This heart-tumult is my signal
to you igniting in the tomb.

So don't fuss with the shroud
and the graveyard road dust.

Those get ripped open and washed away
in the music of our finally meeting.

And don't look for me in a human shape,
I am inside your looking. No room
for form with love this strong.

Beat the drum and let the poets speak.
This is a day of purification for those who
are already mature and initiated into what love is.

No need to wait until we die!
There's more to want here than money
and being famous and bites of roasted meat.

Now, what shall we call this new sort of gazing-house
that has opened in our town where people sit
quietly and pour out there glancing
like light, like answering?

-- Poetic version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995


"The Blast of the Trumpet"

Remember me.

I will be with you in the grave
on the night you leave behind
your shop and your family.
When you hear my soft voice
echoing in your tomb,
you will realize
that you were never hidden from my eyes.
I am the pure awareness within your heart,
with you during joy and celebration,
suffering and despair.

On that strange and fateful night
you will hear a familar voice --
you'll be rescued from the fangs of snakes
and the searing sting of scorpions.
The euphoria of love will sweep over your grave;
it will bring wine and friends, candles and food.

When the light of realization dawns,
shouting and upheaval
will rise up from the graves!
The dust of ages will be stirred
by the cities of ecstasy,
by the banging of drums,
by the clamor of revolt!

Dead bodies will tear off their shrouds
and stuff their ears in fright--
What use are the senses and the ears
before the blast of that Trumpet?

Look and you will see my form
whether you are looking at yourself
or toward that noise and confusion.

Don't be blurry-eyed,
See me clearly-
See my beauty without the old eyes of delusion.

Beware! Beware!
Don't mistake me for this human form.
The soul is not obscured by forms.
Even if it were wrapped in a hundred folds of felt
the rays of the soul's light
would still shine through.

Beat the drum,
Follow the minstrels of the city.
It's a day of renewal
when every young man
walks boldly on the path of love.

Had everyone sought God
Instead of crumbs and copper coins
T'hey would not be sitting on the edge of the moat
in darkness and regret.

What kind of gossip-house
have you opened in our city?
Close your lips
and shine on the world
like loving sunlight.

Shine like the Sun of Tabriz rising in the East.
Shine like the star of victory.
Shine like the whole universe is yours!

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


Look on me, for I shall be your companion in the grave on
that night when you pass across from shop and house.
You will hear my greeting in the tomb, and you will be aware
that not for a moment you have been veiled from my eyes.
I am like reason and mind within your veil, alike in time of
pleasure and happiness and in the hour of pain and weariness.
On the strange night, when you hear the voice familiar, you
will escape from the bite of snake and leap away from the horror
of ant;
Love's intoxication will bring to your grave, as a gift, wine and
mistress and candle and meats and sweets and incense.
On the hour when we light the lamp of the intellect, what a
tumult of joy shall go up from the dead in the tombs!
The dust of the graveyard will be confounded by those cries,
by the din of the drum of resurrection, the pomp and panoply
of the uprising--
Shrouds rent asunder, two ears stopped up in terror; what
shall avail brain and ear before the blast of the trumpet?
On whatever side you gaze, you will behold my form, whether
you gaze on yourself or towards that uproar and confusion.
Flee from squinteyedness, and make good both your eyes, for
the evil eye on that day will be far from my beauty.
Beware of mistaking me in a human shape, for the spirit is
very subtle, and Love is exceedingly jealous.
What room is there for form, if the felt* be a hundredfold? It is
the rays of the soul's mirror that pitch the flag visibly.
Beat the drum, and wind towards the minstrels of the city; it is
the day of purification to the grown lads of the road of Love.
Had they sought God, instead of morsel and pence, you would
not have seen one blind man seated on the edge of the moat.
What sort of ogling-house have you opened in our city!
Mouth shut, shoot out glances, like light.

-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968

Prof. Arberry's note:

* Mirrors had covers of felt.


Look at me! I will be your intimate in the grave on
the night you pass from shop and home.
You will hear my salaams in the tomb and then
you will know that you were never hidden from my sight.
Behind your veil I am like your intellect and
awareness--at the time of joy and happiness, at the time of
suffering and infirmity.
When you hear the voice of a friend on that
lonely night, you will be delivered from the striking of the
serpents and the fear of the ants.
The winesickness of Love will bring you a gift
in the grave: wine, witnesses, candles, kabobs, sweetmeat, and
When we light intellect's lamp, what a shouting
and uproar will arise from the dead in their graves!
The dust of the graveyard will be bewildered by
the shouting and uproar, by the sound of the Resurrection's
drum, by the tremendous tumult of the Uprising.
He whose shroud is torn apart will cover his
ears in terror--but what are brain and ears next to the blast of
the Trumpet?
Wherever you look you will see my form
whether you look at yourself or at that noise and confusion.
Flee from cross-eyed vision and straighten out
your eyes for on that day, the evil eye will be far from my
Beware! Beware! Gaze not at my human form!
Make no mistake, for the spirit is terribly subtle and Love
terribly jealous!
What place is this for form?! Were the felt
covering even a hundred fold, the radiance of the spirit's
mirror would show its banner.*
Strike the drums and wind your way to the
minstrels in the city! The young men of Love's way are
holding a day of purification.
If the blind men had sought out God instead of
morsels and money, not one of them would be left sitting on
the edge of the moat.
Why have you opened a tale bearer's house in
our city? Be a shut-mouth tale bearer, like light!** (D 1145)

-- Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love" (pp. 347-348, 374)
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983\

Prof. Chittick's notes:

*348, 1. 23-25 (D 1145/12)

Both N (25/12) and A (147/12) make the first misra' a single
compound sentence. In fact, "form" refers to form in the previous
verse (which A translates as "shape," thus hiding the
The poet protests that here you cannot speak about form, as he
just has. Why not? Because the spirit mirroring the divine Light
will show itself through the felt covering, i.e., its outward
manifestation--a "felt pouch" being where iron mirrors were kept
for safekeeping. Closer attention to Rumi's teaching about the
opposition between form/body and meaning/spirit would have
prevented the mistranslation.

**348, 1. 32-33 (1145-15)

"Tale bearer's house." A 147/15: "Ogling-house." N 25/15:
"House . . . as a dealer in amorous glances"
(ghammaz-khanah). The word ghammaz can support all three
interpretations, but the first meaning is suggested by the second
misra', which states that "light" (nur) is ghammaz. Light does not
"ogle" or "deal in amorous glances," but it does give information
and tell tales, since it makes things manifest. N's rendering is
better than A's, since he maintains some connection between
the first and second misra's. But the insufficiency of his
interpretation is shown by the fact that in the first misra' he adds
"amorous" to explain the sense of ghamaz, while in the second
he had to drop it, since "amorousness" is hardly an attribute of
light, whether in Persian or English.




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