Monday, January 11, 2010

[Sunlight] "The lesson of poverty" -- Ghazal 2015


Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2015, from the Diwan-e Shams
of Rumi, in a recent translation by Raficq Abdulla, a version by
Jonathan Star, a version by Coleman Barks (derived from Arberry), and
in translation by A.J. Arberry:


A beggar smiled at me and offered me alms,
In a dream last night, my heart sprang with delight.

His beauty and grace which shone from his tattered,
Presence took me by storm until I woke at dawn.

His poverty was riches, it covered my body in silk.
In that dream I heard the beckoning sighs of lovers.

I heard soft cries of agonized joy saying: "Take this,
Drink and be complete!" I saw before me a ring,

Jeweled in poverty and then it nested on my ear.
From the root of my surging soul a hundred tremors,

Rose as I was taken and pinned down by the surging sea.
The heaven groaned with bliss and made a beggar of me.

-- Translation by Raficq Abdulla*
"Words of Paradise -- Selected poems of Rumi"
Penguin Books Ltd., England, 2000

* Raficq Abdulla is a South African-born Muslim. He has created
numerous radio programs about Islam for the BBC, including a series
of talks on the Prophet Muhammad and the Four Caliphs, and a program
on the life and work of Jalaluddin Rumi.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"A Mine of Rubies"

Last night I learned how to be a lover of God,
To live in this world and call nothing my own.

I looked inward
And the beauty of my own emptiness
filled me till dawn.
It enveloped me like a mine of rubies.
Its hue clothed me in red silk.

Within the cavern of my soul
I heard the voice of a lover crying,
"Drink now! Drink now!" -

I took a sip and saw the vast ocean -
Wave upon wave caressed my soul.
The lovers of God dance around
And the circle of their steps
becomes a ring of fire round my neck.

Heaven calls me with its rain and thunder -
a hundred thousand cries
yet I cannot hear. . . .

All I hear is the call of my Beloved.

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Last night my teacher taught me the lesson of poverty,
having nothing and wanting nothing.

I am a naked man standing inside a mine of rubies,
clothed in red silk.
I absorb the shining and now I see the ocean,
billions of simultaneous motions
moving in me.
A circle of lovely, quiet people
becomes the ring on my finger.

The the wind and the thunder of rain on the way.
I have such a teacher.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Last night I saw Poverty in a dream, I became beside myself
from its beauty.
From the loveliness and perfection of the grace of poverty I
was dumbfounded until dawn.*
I saw poverty like a mine of ruby, so that through its hue I
became clothed in silk.
I heard the clamorous rapture of lovers, I heard the cry of
"Drink now, drink!"
I saw a ring all drunken with poverty; I saw its ring in my own
From the midst of my soul a hundred surgings rose when I
beheld the surging of the sea.
Heaven uttered a hundred thousand cries; I am the slave of
such a leader.

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

* Mohammad said: "I take refuge from poverty in You (i.e.
God)," and also: "My poverty is my pride." These two
seemingly contradictory statements are explained by the
Sufis as pertaining to two types of poverty. One which
comes close to heresy is the poverty of the heart, taking
away from it learning, morality, patience, submission,
and trust in God. The other type makes man devoid of all
worldly attachments for the sake of God and is a spiritual
self-surrender and self-annihilation. Such poverty is the
first step in Sufism.
* "...ring in my own ear": In the past, rings were inserted
in the ears of slaves as a sign of servitude.




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Amit J said...

there's a poem by rumi....
it's english translation is
"I am caught up in this curling energy,your hair.
Whoever's calm and sensible is insane"

If you can mail me the persian verse,it would be a huge favour

Sunlight Moderator said...

I wish you could say the address of the poem. Is it a Ghazal(Ode)? or from Masnavi?
I copuld not find it in the archive.

Amit J said...

actually here s a more fuller version of the poem

An invisible bird flies over,
but casts a quick shadow.

What is the body? That shadow of a shadow
of your love, that somehow contains
the entire universe

A man sleeps heavily,
though something blazes in him like the sun,
like a magnificent fringe sewn up under the hem.

He turs under the covers..
Any image is a lie:
A clear red stone tastes sweet.

You kiss a beautiful mouth, and a key
turns in the lock of your fear.

A spoken sentence sharpens to a fine edge.
A mother dove looks for her nest,
asking where, ku? Where, ku?

Where the lion lies down.
Where any man or woman goes to cry.
Where the sick go when they hope to get well.

Where a wind lifts that helps with winnowing
and, the same moment, sends a ship on its way.

Where anyone says Only God Is Real.
Ya Hu! Where beyond where.

A bright weaver's shuttle flashes back and forth,
east-west, Where are we? Ma ku? Maku
as it weaves with the asking.

The friend comes into my body
looking for the center, unable
to find it, draws a blade,
strikes anywhere

There is a light seed grain inside,
You fill it with yourself, or it dies.

I'm caught in this curling energy! Your hair!
whoever's calm and sensible is insane!

Do you think I know what I'm doing?
That for one breath of half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it's writing,
or the ball can guess where it's going next.