Friday, January 30, 2009

[Sunlight] "A treasure of gold in this dust bowl"


Here, Sunlight offers four presentations of Rumi's Ghazal (Ode)
996 -- a version from Coleman Barks, and translations from Jonathan
Star, Annemarie Schimmmel, and A.J. Arberry.

(Note on Sunlight practices: When comparative presentations are
offered, versions and translations are placed in what the the
Sunlight editors generally consider to be the ascending order of
reliability and accuracy. Versions [interpretations of previously
existing translations done by others] are placed first, and, when
possible, the translations from which the versions were derived are
placed last.)


Someone says, Sanai is dead.
No small thing to say.

He was not bits of husk,
or a puddle that freezes overnight,
or a comb that cracks when you use it,
or a pod crushed open on the ground.

He was fine powder in a rough clay dish.
He knew what both worlds were worth:
A grain of barley.

One he slung down, the other up.

The inner soul, that presence of which most know nothing,
about which poets are so ambiguous,
he married that one to the beloved.

His pure gold wine pours on the thick wine dregs.
They mix and rise and separate again
to meet down the road. Dear friend from Marghaz,
who lived in Rayy, in Rum, Kurd from the mountains,
each of us returns home.

Silk must not be compared with striped canvas.

Be quiet and clear now
like the final touchpoints of calligraphy.

Your name has been erased
from the roaring volume of speech.

-- Poetic version by Coleman Barks
(From a translation by A.J. Arberry)
"The Essential Rumi"
Castle Books, 1997


Someone said, "Master San'ai is dead."

The death of such a master is no small thing.
He was not chaff blown about by the wind,
Nor a puddle frozen over in winter.
He was not a comb broken in the hair,
Nor a seed crushed on the ground.

He was a piece of gold in a pile of dust.
The value he put on both worlds
was equal to one barleycorn.

He let his body fall back into the earth
and bore the witness of his soul to heaven.
But there is a second soul
of which common men are not aware.
I tell you before God,
That one merged straight with the Beloved!

What was once mixed is now separate:
The pure wine rose to the top,
The dregs settled to the bottom.

During their travels, everyone walks together -
people from Marv and Rayy, the Kurds and Romans.
But soon each returns to his homeland.
How can fine silk stay bound to rough wool?

He has reached the final stage.
The King has erased his name
from the book of words . . . .
O Master, now that you're gone from this world,
How can we reach you
but in silence?

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


Said someone: "Look! Master Sana'i is
Ah, such a man's death is no small affair!
He was no straw that is gone with the
He was no water that froze in the cold,
He was no comb that broke in the hair,
He was no grain that was crushed by the
He was a golden treasure in the dust
As he considered both the worlds a grain.
He cast the dust form back into the dust,
He carried heavenward both soul and mind.
The dregs were mixed here with the purest
The wine then rose; the dregs were settling
The second soul, which people do not
know -
By God! he gave it to the Friend, to God!
They all meet during travel, O my friend -
From Marw and Rayy, and Kurds, and
But ev'ryone returns to his own home -
Why should fine silk become a friend of
Be quiet, quiet! For the King of Speech
Erased your name now from the book of

-- Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
"Look! This is Love - Poems of Rumi"
Shambhala, 1991


Someone said, "Master Sana'i is dead." The death of such a
master is no small thing.
He was not chaff which flew on the wind, he was not water
which froze in the cold;
He was not a comb that split on a hair, he was not a seed
crushed by the earth.
He was a treasure of gold in this dust bowl, for he reckoned
both worlds as one barleycorn.
The earthly mould he flung to the earth, the soul of reason he
carried to the heavens.
The second soul of which men know nothing - we talk ambig-
uously - he committed to the Beloved.
The pure wine mingled with the wine-dregs, rose to the top of
the vat and separated from the dregs.
They meet together on the journey, dear friend, native of
Marghaz, of Rayy, of Rum, Kurd;
Each one returns to his own home - how should silk be com-
pared with striped cloth?
Be silent, like (a letter's) points, inasmuch as the King has
erased your name from the volume of speech.

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




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