Monday, July 06, 2009

[Sunlight] Say Yes Quickly -- Ghazal 2933


Ghazal (Ode) 2933 - a poetic version by Coleman Barks and a literal translation by A.J. Arberry:


"Say Yes Quickly"

Forget your life. Say "God is Great." Get up.
You think you know what time it is. It's time to pray.
You've carved so many little figurines, too many.
Don't knock on any random door like a beggar.
Reach your long hands out to another door, beyond where
you go on the street, the street
where everyone says, "How are you?"
and no one says "How aren't you?"

Tomorrow you'll see what you've broken and torn tonight,
thrashing in the dark. Inside you
there's an artist you don't know about.
He's not interested in how things look different in moonlight.

If you are here unfaithfully with us,
you're causing terrible damage.
If you've opened your loving to God's love,
you're helping people you don't know
and have never seen.

Is what I say true? Say yes quickly,
if you know, if you've known it
from before the beginning of the universe.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"Open Secret"
Threshold Books, 1984


You who are Imam of love, say Allah Akbar*, for you are drunk;
shake you two hands, become indifferent to existence.
You were fixed to a time, you made haste; the time of prayer
has come. Leap up - why are you seated?
In hope of the qibla of God you carve a hundred qibla; in hope
of that idol's love you worship a hundred idols.
Fly upwards, O soul, O obedient soul; the moon is above, the
shadow is low.
Do not like a beggar knock your hand at any door; knock at
the ring of the door of heaven, for you have a long hand.
Since the flagon of heaven has made you like that, be a
stranger to the world, for you have escaped out of self.
I say to you, "How are you?" No one ever says to the "how-
less" soul, "How are you?"
Tonight you are drunk and dissolute, come tomorrow and you
will see what bags you have torn, what glasses you have broken.
Every glass I have broken was my trust in you, for myriadwise
you have bound up the broken.
O secret artist, in the depths of your soul you have a thousand
forms, apart from the moon and the Lady of the Moon [Mahasti].*
If you have stolen the ring, you have opened a thousand
throats; if you have wounded a breast, you have given a hundred
souls and hearts.
I have gone mad; whatever I say in madness, quickly say,
"Yes, yes," if you are privy to Alast.

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

*Allah-o Akbar (God is great) is the call for prayer.
*Mahasti means "you are a moon," or "the lady of the moon," or simply a lady.




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