Monday, June 01, 2009

[Sunlight] "Refuge with so loving a Friend" -- Ode 3051


Today, Sunlight offers five presentations of Rumi's Ghazal (Ode)
3051 --- two versions by Coleman Barks (an earlier one, based on
Arberry's translation, and a later one, based on a translation by
Nevit Ergin, whose own translations are second-generation, as Ergin
works from a Turkish translation, not from the original Persian); a
version from Jonathan Star; and translations by Arberry and
Nicholson, with notes.


How did you get away?
You were the pet falcon of an old woman.
Did you hear the falcon-drum?
You were a drunken songbird put in with owls.
Did you smell the odor of a garden?
You got tired of sour fermenting
and left the tavern.

You went like an arrow to the target
from the bow of time and place.
The man who stays at the cemetery pointed the way,
but you didn't go.
You became light and gave up wanting to be famous.
You don't worry about what you're going to eat,
so why buy an engraved belt?

I've heard of living at the center, but what about
leaving the center of the center?
Flying toward thankfulness, you become
the rare bird with one wing made of fear,
and one of hope. In autumn,
a rose crawling along the ground in the cold wind.
Rain on the roof runs down and out by the spout
as fast as it can.

Talking is pain. Lie down and rest,
now that you've found a friend to be with.

-- Version by Coleman Barks (from the
translation by A.J. Arberry)
"These Branching Moments"
Copper Beech Press, 1988


"Autumn Rose Elegy"

You've gone to the secret world.
Which way is it? You broke the cage

and flew. You heard the drum that
calls you home. You left this hu-

miliating shelf, this disorienting
desert where we're given wrong

directions. What use now a crown?
You've become the sun. No need for

a belt: you've slipped out of your
waist! I have heard that near the

end you were eyes looking at soul.
No looking now. You live inside

the soul. You're the strange autumn
rose that led the winter wind in

by withering. You're rain soaking
eveywhere from cloud to ground. No

bother of talking. Flowing silence
and sweet sleep beside the Friend.

-- Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
"The Glance"
Viking-Penguin, 1999


Gone to the Unseen

At last you have departed and gone to the Unseen.
What marvelous route did you take from this world?

Beating your wings and feathers,
you broke free from this cage.
Rising up to the sky
you attained the world of the soul.
You were a prized falcon trapped by an Old Woman.
Then you heard the drummer's call
and flew beyond space and time.

As a lovesick nightingale, you flew among the owls.
Then came the scent of the rosegarden
and you flew off to meet the Rose.

The wine of this fleeting world
caused your head to ache.
Finally you joined the tavern of Eternity.
Like an arrow, you sped from the bow
and went straight for the bull's eye of bliss.

This phantom world gave you false signs
But you turned from the illusion
and journeyed to the land of truth.

You are now the Sun -
what need have you for a crown?
You have vanished from this world -
what need have you to tie your robe?

I've heard that you can barely see your soul.
But why look at all? -
yours is now the Soul of Souls!

O heart, what a wonderful bird you are.
Seeking divine heights,
Flapping your wings,
you smashed the pointed spears of your enemy.

The flowers flee from Autumn, but not you -
You are the fearless rose
that grows amidst the freezing wind.

Pouring down like the rain of heaven
you fell upon the rooftop of this world.
Then you ran in every direction
and escaped through the drain spout . . .

Now the words are over
and the pain they bring is gone.
Now you have gone to rest
in the arms of the Beloved.

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


Finally you have broken away and departed into the Unseen;
I wonder, I wonder-- by which way did you depart from the world?
You beat your feathers and wings mightily and broke your
cage; you took the air and departed towards the spiritual world.
You were a special falcon in captivity to an old woman; when
you heard the falcon-drum, you departed to the placeless.*
You were a drunken nightingale amongst owls; the scent of
the rose garden arrived, you departed to the rose garden.
You suffered much crop sickness from this sour ferment;
finally you departed to the eternal tavern.
You went straight as an arrow to the target of bliss; you flew
to that target and departed from this bow.
This world like a ghoul gave you false clues; you took no heed
of the clue and departed to the clueless.
Since you have become the sun, what have you to do with a
crown? Since you have departed from the middle, why do you
seek a belt?
I have heard tell of gazing on the soul when the eyes are
extinguished; why do you gaze on the soul, since you have departed
to the soul of soul?
O heart, what a rare bird you are, that in hunting for the All-
Grateful you departed towards the lance with two wings like a
The rose flees from autumn; ah, what a bold rose you are, that
you went creeping along before the autumn wind.
Like rain from heaven on the roof of the earthly world you
ran in every direction and departed by the spout.
Be silent, suffer not the anguish of speech; sleep on, for you
have departed into the shelter of such a loving friend.

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

Arberry's notes:

*The story of a white falcon whose beak and claws were cut by
a "wicked old woman" is told in the Mathnawi 2: 265-325. The falcon
typifies the human soul who has been separated from its divine
origin. The "falcon-drum": according to Nicholson's note on the Divan
(16:3), "When the huntsman wishes to call his bird back, he beats a
drum: the hawk, having an affection for the drum, returns speedily."

**"Shikur-e shakur" if applied to God means "in the search of or
hunting for one who is All-Graceful and rewards well His servants."
Nicholson, on the authority of one line from Sa'di's "Bustan,"
suggests that "the two wings like a shield" are hope and fear, since
the Sufis believe that "fear and hope for man are like the two wings
of a bird." Cf. Nicholson's note on this poet, verse 10.



At last thou hast departed and gone to the Unseen;
'Tis marvellous by what way thou wentest from the
Thou didst strongly shake thy wings and feathers, and
having broken thy cage
Didst take to the air and journey towards the world of
Thou wert a favourite falcon, kept in captivity by an
old woman:*
When thou heard'st the falcon-drum* thou didst fly away
into the Void.
Thou wert a love-lorn nightingale among owls:*
The scent of the rose-garden reached thee, and thou
didst go to the rose-garden.
Thou didst suffer sore head-ache from this bitter ferment;*
At last thou wentest to the tavern of Eternity.*
Straight as an arrow thou didst make for the mark of
Thou didst speed like an arrow to that mark from this
The world gave thee false clues, like a ghoul:
Thou took'st no heed of the clue, but wentest to that
which is without a clue.
Since thou art now the sun, why dost thou wear a tiara,*
Why seek a girdle, since thou art gone from the middle?*
I have heard that thou art gazing with distorted eyes*
upon thy soul:*
Why dost thou gaze on thy soul, since thou art gone
to the soul of Soul?
O heart, what a wondrous bird art thou, that in chase
of divine rewards*
Thou didst fly with two wings to the spear-point*, like
a shield!
The rose flees from autumnO what a fearless rose
art thou
Who didst go loitering along in the presence of the
autumn wind!*
Falling like rain from heaven upon the roof of the
terrestrial world
Thou didst run in every direction till thou didst escape
by the conduit.
Be silent and free from* the pain of speech:* do not
Since thou hast taken refuge with so loving a Friend.

-- 220.4 ("Lachnau Edition of the Divani Shamsi
"Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz"
Edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson
Cambridge, At the University Press, 1898, 1952

Nicholson's Notes:

* "Thou wert a favourite falcon"--the story of the 'white falcon,'
whose beak and claws were cut by a 'vile old woman ' is told
in the Masnavi', 362. 18 seq.; Whinfield's Masnavi', p. 203.
We often meet with this comparison of the soul to a bird.
* "falcon-drum" is used to startle water-fowl, which, as they fly
into the air, are attacked by a hawk (Bahari Ajam'). According
to a gloss on the Masnavi' "when the huntsman wishes to call
his bird back, he beats a drum: the hawk, having an affection for
the drum, returns speedily". According to Kaempfer (Amoenitates
Exoticae,'p. 743 seq.), the falcon-drum is carried by kings and
nobles on the left side of their saddles.
* "love-lorn nightingale among owls"--I cannot find this in the
Masnavi.' But cf. the tale of the Falcon and the Owls (ibid.
126. 13; Whinfield's .'Masnavi', p. 76).
* "Thou didst suffer sore head-ache from this bitter ferment" --
the celestial Rose and Wine, unlike their counterfeits on earth,
are wholly free from defect: which in Not-being.
* "tavern of Eternity" --the tavern signifies God. Cf.
Gulshani Raz,' 839 seq.
* "Since thou art now the sun, why dost thou wear a tiara" --
"the sun" refers to Shamsi Tabriz. He who is eternally glorified
by union with the source of all light, desires no earthly crown.
* "middle" -- one meaning of "the middle" is 'waist.' To be
gone from the middle = e media abire (to die).
* "distorted eyes" -- obliquis oculis, enviously.
* "gazing . . .upon thy soul" --you look back with regret on the
life of your individual soul, which is now exalted above life.
* "in chase of divine rewards" --cf. the saying, 'I went forth to
seek the bounty of God. Shakur', as applied to God, means
'requital,' recompense.' God, the Giver of rewards, is a possible
* "with two wings" --i.e. with hope and fear.
* "Thou didst fly . . . to the spear-point" --this strange metaphor
may perhaps allude to the sport of hunting the antelope with
hawks. 'The buck is seldom taken. The Arabs, are, indeed, afraid
to fly their hawks at the latter, as these fine birds, in pouncing,
frequently impale themselves on its sharp horns' (Malcolm,
'Sketches of Persia,' p.54).
* "loitering along in the presence of the autumn wind"--all things
tremble and flee before the wind of death; only the soul, conscious
of immortality, remains unmoved and triumphant.
* "Be silent . . . from" --Do not speak.
* "the pain of speech"--speech is finite, silence infinite.
* "do not slumber"--the soul, waking from the dark night of the
world, enjoys eternal day in the bosom of God. Our birth is but
a sleep and a forgetting.'




Archive for Sunlight can be accessed at: /messages
To subscribe, please send an email to :
To unsubscribe, please send an email to:
Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> Your email settings:
Individual Email | Traditional

<*> To change settings online go to:
(Yahoo! ID required)

<*> To change settings via email:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

No comments: