Monday, July 27, 2009

[Sunlight] Hallaj -- Ghazal 1288


Sunlight presents Ode 1288 - in a poetic version by Coleman Barks and in a literal translation by A.J. Arberry:



Hallaj said what he said and went to the origin
through the hole in the scaffold.

I cut a cap's worth of cloth from his robe,
and it swamped over me from head to foot.

Years ago, I broke a bunch of roses
from the top of his wall. A thorn from that
is still in my palm, working deeper.

From Hallaj, I learned to hunt lions,
but I became something hungrier than a lion.

I was a frisky colt. He broke me with a quiet
hand on the side of my head.

A person comes to him naked. It's cold.
There's a fur coat floating in the river.

"Jump in and get it," he says.

You dive in. You reach for the coat.
It reaches for you.

It's a live bear that has fallen in upstream,
drifting with the current.

"How long does it take!" Hallaj yells from the bank.

"Don't wait," you answer. "This coat has
decided to wear me home!"

A little part of a story, a hint.
Do you need long sermons on Hallaj!

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"We Are Three,"
Maypop, 1987


When union with the Beloved showed itself to Mansur*, it
was right that the gallows should bring him to the heart's Origin.
I snatched a cap's length from his robe; his cap's length
consumed my reason and head and foot.
I broke off a thorn from the top of the wall of his garden;
what itching and questing is in my heart from that thorn of his!
Since one morning through his wine this heart became a
lion-taker, it is only meet that it should be smitten by the
monster of separation from him.
Though heaven's colt appeared refractory and untamed, it was
tethered and headstalled by the hand of His love.
Though reason is high-ranking and very learned, its gown and
turban have been pawned for the cup of love.
Many a heart came seeking refuge from His love; dragging it
along He dragged it to Him, and gave it no quarter.
One cold day a fur coat was in a river; I said to a naked man,
"Jump in and seek, and bring it out!"
It was not a fur coat, it was a bear in the river; it had fallen in,
and the current was carrying it along.
The man entered eagerly and reached the skin of the bear;
that eagerness made him prisoner in the bear's arms.
I said to him, "Let go the fur coat, come back! How long and
far you have remained through toiling and battling with it!"
He said, "Go; the coat has so seized me that I have no hope of
escape from its powerful clutches.
Every moment it immerses me a thousand times; there is no
escape from its liver-squeezing claws."
Silence, of stories enough; just give a hint; what need has the
reason for long volumes?

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

*Mansur: Hallaj




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