Monday, May 11, 2009

[Sunlight] Keep moving -- Ghazal 304


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 304, in an interpretive version by Coleman Barks, and a translation by A.J.Arberry:


"Keep Moving"

Do you hear what the violin
says about longing?

The same as the stick, "I was once
a green branch in the wind."

We are all far from home.
Language is our caravan bell.

Don't stop anywhere.
The moment you're attracted to a place,
you grow bored with it.

Think of the big moves you've already made,
from a single cell to a human being!

Stay light-footed, and keep moving.
Turkish, Arabic, Greek, any tongue
is a wind that was formerly water.

As a breeze carries the ocean inside it,
so underneath every sentence is,
"Come back to the source."

A moth doesn't avoid flame.
The king lives in the city.

Why should I keep company with an owl
out here in the empty buildings?

If your donkey acts crazy and won't work,
apply the bullwhip to his head.
He'll understand.

Don't try to love him
back to his senses. Whack him!

-- Version by Coleman Barks, from a
translation by John Moyne
"Say I am You"
Maypop, 1994


Do you not know what the rebeck says concerning tears of the
eyes and burning hearts?
"I am a skin far sundered from the flesh; how should I not
lament in separation and torment?"
The stick also says, "I was once a green branch; that cavalcade
broke and tore to pieces my saddle."*
We are exiles in separation; O kings, give ear to us-"To God
is the returning."
From God in the first place we sprang in the world; to Him
likewise we revert from the revolution.
Our cry is like the bell in the caravan, or as thunder when the
clouds travel the sky.
Wayfarer, set not your heart upon a lodging-place, becoming
weary at the time of attraction;
For you have departed from many a stage, from the sperm
until the season of youth.*
Take it lightly, that you may escape easily; give up readily,
and so find the reward.
Take hold of Him firmly, for He has taken firm hold on you;
first He and last He-go, discover Him.*
Gently He draws the bow, for that arrow of His quivers in the
hearts of the lovers.
Be the lover Turk or Greek or Arab,* this cry right enough is
fellow-tongue with him.
The wind is lamenting and calling to you, "Come in my wake,
even to the river of water.
I was water; I became wind; I have come to deliver the thirsty
ones from this mirage."
Speech* is that wind which was formerly water; it becomes
water when it casts off the veil.
This shout arose from without the six directions: "Flee from
direction, and turn not your face from Us."
O lover, you are not less than the moth; when does the moth
ever avoid the flame?
The King is in the city; for the sake of the owl how should I
abandon the city and occupy the ruin?
If an ass has gone mad, strike the ox-whip upon its head until
its senses return.
If I seek his heart, his worthlessness increases still more; God
said regarding the unbelievers, "Strike their necks".*

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

Arberry's notes:

Comparison of this poem with the opening verses of the Mathnawi
is relevant
* "To God": cf. Koran 3:12
* "For you have departed, etc.": see Math. III:3901; IV:3637; and
cf. Qur'an 23:13.
* "Take hold...": see Qur'an 31:21
* "Turk or Greek or Arab": The language of Divine Love is international.
* "Speech": the Logos mediating between God and man.
* "If I seek, etc.": Qur'an 47:4. The only course with deniers of spiritual values
is, not tenderness, but outright rejection.




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