Wednesday, April 14, 2010

[Sunlight] Union and separation of heart and soul


Sunlight offers Ghazal 3071, in versions by Coleman Barks
and Jonathan Star, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:



Think of the phoenix coming up out of ashes,
but not flying off.
For a moment we have form.
We can't see.
How can we be conscious and you be conscious
at the same time and separate?
Copper when an alchemist works on it loses its copper
qualities. Seeds in Spring
begin to be trees, no longer seed. Brushwood
put in the fire changes. The snow-world melts.
You step in my footprint and it's gone.

It's not that I've done anything to deserve
this attention from you. Predestination
and freewill: We can argue them,
but they're only ideas. What's real
is a presence, like Shams.

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



O Soul,
You are the Phoenix
rising up from the ashes of Union.
Why don't you fly? -
No one knows you on the ground.

You are the heart's sweetness
And by some magical power
your form ravishes a thousand hearts.

For a time you took form in the body.
For a time you passed beyond the heavens
and the bonds of both worlds.

Why can't the spirit find you? -
You are its wings and its feathers.
Why can't the eye see you? -
You are the source of its sight.

What will happen to your copper soul
when the Alchemist arrives?
Will it not become gold?
What will become of your little seed
when the Springtime arrives? -
Will it not become a towering tree?
What will happen to brushwood
when it falls into fire? -
Will it not change into sparks and rise to heaven?

Reason and intellect
Are like the dim light of distant stars.
You are the bright Sun
that shines through every veil.

The world is nothing but snow and ice.
You are the burning heat of Summer.
O King, no trace of this world remains
the moment you arrive!

Who can sit by your side?
Everyone would vanish with one glance of yours.

O blessed eyes!
I have seen something beyond imagination,
unreachable by fortune or human effort -
I have seen the perfect face
of Shams-e Tabriz.

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


Heart, you are the phoenix of union. Fly, why do you not fly?
No one recognizes you, neither man nor peri*.
You are the sweetheart, not the heart; but with every device
and trickery you have taken the shape of the heart so that you
will ravish a thousand hearts.
For a moment faithfully you mingle with earth, and for a
moment you pass beyond empyrean and firmament and the
bounds of the two worlds.
Why does not spirit find you, for you are its wings and
feathers? Why does not sight see you who are the source of sight?
What fear has penitence to repent of you? What is conscious-
ness that it should remain conscious along with you?
What shall be that poor copper when the alchemy comes?
Will it not pass away from copperhood into the attribute of gold?
Who is that poor seed when the springtime comes? Does not
its seedhood pass away into treehood?
Who is poor brushwood when it falls into the fire? Is not the
brushwood transformed into a spark by the flame?
All reason and science are stars; are you the sun of the world
who tear asunder their veils?
The world is like snow and ice, and you are the season of sum-
mer; when you, king, are on its track, no trace of it remains.
Say, who am I to remain along with you? I and a hundred like
me will pass away when you gaze towards me.
The perfection of the description of the lord Shams-e Tabrizi
surpasses the imaginations of predestinator and free-willer.

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

* "Peri" -- a supernatural being in Persian folklore descended from
fallen angels and excluded from paradise until penance is accomplished;
also, a beautiful and graceful girl. (Sunlight footnote)




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