Thursday, February 04, 2010

[Sunlight] Prince of Eternity -- Ghazal 1317


Sunlight presents Ghazal 1317, in a poetic version from Jonathan Star, and in literal translation by A.J. Arberry:


Prince of Eternity

O Prince,
with your tiny horse and saddle,
You're a charlatan! A knave!
Though your head is bound in gold cloth
Your eyes see only what they want to see.

You say, "Where is death? I don't see death!"
Death will greet you from all six directions
and say, "Here I am."
Death will say,
"O donkey, your running about is over."
Where is your moustache, your pride,
your turned-up nose? - Gone.
Where is your beautiful maiden? - Gone.
Where is your glimmer of happiness? - Gone.
Who will come to make your bed
now that your pillow is a brick
and your blanket is the earth? . . .

Say good-bye to your eating and sleeping.
Go and seek the truth within.
Throw away your petty rituals
and become a prince of eternity.

Don't take the soul from your soul.
Don't turn this bread into poison.
Can't you see? -
Someone has tossed a pearl
into the bottom of a dung heap.
It is only for the sake of that pearl
that we cover our hands with dung.

O soul,
Don't be so hard - break!
Find a lustrous pearl
among the broken shells
of your pride.

When you see a man of God
offer him your service.
When you are troubled and in pain
just keep going. . . .

O body, what a joke! -
The Prince I'm looking for is me
yet I spend all my time
thinking I am you!

O Shams, Lord of Tabriz,
You are the water of life -
Who shall drink of your water,
save one with a tearful eye?

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


Look at that false prince with his little horse and little saddle,
knavish and scoundrelly, his head bound in cloth of gold;
Since he disbelieves in death, he says, "Where, where is
doom?" Death comes to him from all six directions and says,
"Here am I! "
Doom says to him, "Donkey, where now is all that galloping
about? Those moustaches, that arrogant nose, that pride, that
Where is the beautiful idol, where happiness? To whom have
you given your coverlet? A brick is now your pillow, your
mattress the earth."
Bid farewell to eating and sleeping; go seek the true religion,
that you may be a prince of eternity without your little laws and
Do not unsoul this soul; do not convert this bread to dung, O
you who have flung the pearl into the bottom of the dung.
Know that we are attached to dung for the pearl's sake, O
soul; be broken, and seek the pearl, proud and conceited one.
When you see a man of God, act like a man and offer him
service; when you experience anguish and affliction, do not fur-
row your brow.
Ibis is my lampoon, O body, and that prince of mine is also I;
how long will you go on speaking of little "sins" and "shins"?*
Shams al-Haqq-i Tabriz!, you are yourself the water of life;
what shall discover that water, save the tearful eye?

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

* "siyns" and "shiyns": two letters of the Arabo-Persian alphabet,
"s" and "sh," which differ only slightly in appearance, making this is
a rhyming word-play as well as a metaphor for one who is consumed
with unimportant details.
(Sunlight thanks Ibrahim Gamard for this footnote.)




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