Monday, January 18, 2010

[Sunlight] "Why are you fleeing from us?" -- Ghazal 2558


Today, Sunlight offers Rumi's Ode (Ghazal) 2558, in a poetic version by Coleman Barks, and in translation by A.J. Arberry.


The Rights of Crying

Why so fugitive? I have some right
to be with you, rights of crying.

If there were laughter all around me,
I would feel closed in if you weren't there.
With my children and everyone else I love,
I'd still be distracted.

How can I tie down one of your feet?
I do have enough strength and patience.
No matter how far you go, even
beyond sunlight into where Jesus is visible,
I'll come and wait to be told
why you go away from me.

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


O spiritual form, why are you fleeing from us? You are
after all of the house, you know the state of this servant.
By the right of my hot tears, by the right of my pale
cheeks, by the bond that I have with you beyond this human phase-
Though the whole world were laughing, without you it were a
prison; enough this, show compassion to this deprived prisoner.
Though I am with all my very dear ones, when you are afar I
am distraught – O God, may such distraction not be the lot of
What shall I tie to that fleeing foot of yours so that you may
not flee? You resemble an unfaithful soul; you are fleeing like our
Though you gallop up out of the nine spheres and set fire to
the seven seas, I will rend to pieces spheres and seas with love and
patience and strength.
Even if like the sun you surmount the fourth heaven, I will still
come secretly to your stirrup like a servant.

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




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