Monday, April 20, 2009

[Sunlight] "Discipline me"


Today, Sunlight offers Rumi's Ode (Ghazal) 2083, in a poetic version by Coleman Barks, and in translation by A.J. Arberry.


If my words are not saying what You would say,
slap my face. Discipline me as a loving mother does
a babbling child caught up in nonsense.

A thirsty man runs into the sea,
and the sea holds a sword to his throat.

A lily looks at a bank of roses
and wilts and says nothing.

I am a tambourine. Don't put me aside
till the fast dancing starts.
Play me some all along.
Help me with these little sounds.

Joseph is most beautiful when he's completely naked,
but his shirt gives you an idea,
as the body lets you glimpse the glitter
on the water of the soul.

Even if the corpse washer binds my jaw shut,
you'll still hear this song
coming out of my dead-silence.

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


If my words were not worthy of your lips, then pick up a heavy
stone and shatter my mouth.
When a child speaks nonsense, does not the loving mother
prick his lips to teach him manners?
For the sake of the majesty of your lips, burn and tear and
rend and dash to pieces two hundred mouths and worlds.
When a thirsty man boldly runs to the seashore does not the
wave lift up its sword to his neck?
I am the slave of the lily which, having seen your rose bower
and been put to shame by your narcissus, its ten tongues became dumb.
But I am like a tambourine; when you strike you hand on me
I cry out.
Lay me not aside until the concert grows hot; draw your skirt
aside from the impure world.
Yes, the eyes are intoxicated from the rose bower of meaning,
yet the song of the bolbol is sweet in the rose bower.
If Joseph's beauty is fairer naked, yet the eyes are not opened
save by his shirt.
Though the glitter of the sun of the soul is the origin, no man
has reached that heaven without a body.
Silence! for if the corpse-washer binds my mouth, you will
hear this melody from the grave after I am dead.

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




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