Monday, July 14, 2008

[Sunlight] How to cure bad habits -- Ghazal 1073


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Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal 1073, From Rumi's "Diwan-e Shams",
in a poetic version by Coleman Barks, and in the translation by A.J.
Arberry upon which Professor Barks based his version:


"My Worst Habit"

My worst habit is I get so tired of winter
I become a torture to those I'm with.

If you're not here, nothing grows.
I lack clarity. My words
tangle and knot up.

How to cure bad water? Send it back to the river.
How to cure bad habits? Send me back to you.

When water gets caught in habitual whirlpools,
dig a way out through the bottom
to the ocean. There is a secret medicine
given only to those who hurt so hard
they can't hope.

The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.

Look as long as you can at the friend you love,
no matter whether that friend is moving away from you
or coming back to you.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995


I have a bad habit; I am weary; pray excuse me. How shall my
habit become seemly without your fair face, my beauty?
Without you I am like winter, people are tormented because
of me; with you I am as a rosebower, my habit is the habit of
Without you I lack reason, I am weary, everything I say is
crooked, I am ashamed of reason and reason is shamefast at the
light of your face.
What is the remedy for bad water? To return to the river.
What is the remedy for bad habits? To see the beloved's face again.
I see the water of the soul imprisoned in this whirlpool of the
body; I dig out the earth to make a way to the sea.
You have a potion which you give the despairing, secretly, lest
the hopeful, grieving for it, should utter lamentation.
O heart, so much as you are able do not withhold your eye
from the Beloved, whether He withdraws from you or draws
you into His bosom.

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



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