Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) number 1713, from Rumi's
"Diwan-e Shams" - "The Collection of Shams" -- in poetic versions by
Coleman Barks and Jonathan Star, accompanied by the translation by
A.J. Arberry upon which Barks based his version:
"A Green-Winged Longing"
This world of two gardens, and both so beautiful.
This world, a street where a funeral is passing.
Let us rise together and leave "this world,"
as water goes bowing down itself to the ocean.
From gardens to the gardener, from grieving
to wedding feast. We tremble like leaves
about to let go. There's no avoiding pain,
or feeling exiled, or the taste of dust.
But also we have a green-winged longing
for the sweetness of the Friend.
These forms are evidence of what
cannot be shown. Here's how it is
to go into that: rain that's been leaking
into the house decides to use the downspout.
The bent bowstring straining at our throats
releases and becomes the arrow!
Mice quivering in fear of the housecat suddenly
change to half-grown lion cubs, afraid of nothing.
So let's begin the journey home,
with love and compassion for guides,
and grace protecting. Let your soul turn
into an empty mirror that passionately wants
to reflect Joseph. Hand him your present.
Now let silence speak, and as that
gift begins, we'll start out.
-- Version by Coleman Barks
(from a translation by John Moyne)
"Say I Am You"
Lovers of truth - rise up!
Let us go toward heaven.
We have seen enough of this world,
it's time to see another . . . .
No, no - don't stop here.
The gardens may flow with beauty
But let us go to the Gardener Himself.
Let us go,
bowing to the ocean
like a raging torrent.
Let us go,
riding upon the foaming waters
of the sea.
Let us travel from this desert of
hunger and tears
to the feast of newlyweds.
Let us change our expression
from one of saffron
to the blossoms of the Judas tree.
Our hearts beat fast.
We tremble like leaves about to fall.
Let us become the immovable mountain.
There is no escape from pain for one in exile;
There is no escape from dust
for one who lives in a dustbowl.
Let us be like the birds of paradise,
that fly about drinking sweet water.
We are surrounded by the forms
of a formless creator.
Enough with these forms!
Let us go to the Formless One.
Love is our steady guide
on this road full of hardships.
Even if the king offers you his protection,
it is better
to travel with the caravan.
We are the rain that falls upon
a leaky roof -
Let us miss the holes
and fall smoothly down the spout.
We are crooked bows
with strings that run from our head to our toes;
Soon we will be straight,
like an arrow in flight.
We run like mice when we see a cat -
Yet we are the lion's roar.
Let us become that Lion.
Let our souls
mirror the love of our Master.
Let us go before Him
with a handful of gifts.
Now let us be silent
So that the Giver of Speech may speak.
Let us be silent
So we can hear Him calling us
secretly in the night.
-- Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved "
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997
Rise, lovers, that we may go towards heaven; we have seen
this world, so let us go to that world.
No, no, for though these two gardens are beautiful and fair,
let us pass beyond these two, and go to that Gardener.
Let us go prostrating to the sea like a torrent, then let us go
foaming upon the face of the sea.
Let us journey from this street of mourning to the wedding
feast, let us go from this saffron face to the face of the Judas
Trembling like a leaf and twig from fear of falling, our hearts
are throbbing; let us go to the Abode of Security.
There is no escape from pain, since we are in exile, and there
is no escape from dust, seeing that we are going to a dustbowl.
Like parrots green of wing and with fine pinions, let us be-
come sugar-gatherers and go to the sugar-bed.
These forms are signs of the signless fashioner; hidden from
the evil eye, come, let us go to the signless.
It is a road full of tribulation, but love is the guide, giving us
instruction how we should go thereon;
Though the shadow of the king's grace surely Protects, yet it
is better that on that road we go with the caravan.
We are like rain falling on a leaky roof; let us spring from the
leak and go by that waterspout.
We are crooked as a bow, for the string is in our own throats;
when we become straight, then we will go like an arrow from
We cower like mice in the house because of the cats; if we are
lion's whelps, let us go to that Lion.
Let us make our soul a mirror in passion for a Joseph; let us go
before Joseph's beauty with a present.
Let us be silent, that the giver of speech may say this; even as
he shall say, so let us go.
-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
The University of Chicago Press, 1991
* "Street of mourning": the world, which has been called by many
similar names, such as "the infidel's paradise," and symbolized by
the false dawn, a carcass, a bath-stove, and a tomb. (Cf. "World"
in Nicholson's index to Mathnawi.)
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