Thursday, July 01, 2010

[Sunlight] The grace of the answer, the knowledge of the question -- Ghazal 1353


Today, Sunlight offers six presentations of Ghazal (Ode) 1353 - a
version by Jonathan Star, an early Coleman Barks version (from
Arberry), a later Barks version (from Ergin), a version by James
Cowan, and, finally, translations by Annemarie Schimmel and A.J.


"The Return"

My soul wants to fly away
When your Presence calls it so sweetly.
My soul wants to take flight
When you whisper, "Arise."

A fish wants to dive from dry land
into the ocean
when it hears the roaring waves.
A falcon wants to return from the forest
to the King's wrist
when it hears the drum beating "Return."
A Sufi, shimmering with light,
wants to dance like a sunbeam
when darkness surrounds him.

O God - you are the graceful and the beautiful,
you are the highest love,
you are the giver of life.
What misery and hardship comes
to those who turn away from you!

O bird, fly back to your native land.
You have broken free from your cage;
Your wings are eager for flight.

Fly from the brackish puddle
toward the flowing waters of life!
Leave the room where they put the dirty sandals
and return to the royal seat of the soul!

Be off! Be off!
O soul, leave behind this world of separation
and come with us to the world of union.
How long will you play in this dusty world
like a child filling his shirt with worthless stones?

Cast away the burdens of the earth
and fly upward toward heaven!
Put away your childish care
and join the royal banquet.

Behold the countless ways this body has entrapped you!
Break its deadly hold.
Rise up, lift your head clear of this delusion.

Reach for the Holy Book with your right hand
You are not like a child
who doesn't know right from left.

God said to the mind, "Return from where you came."
He said to the hand of Death,
"Grab hold of worldly men."
He said to the soul, "Fly to the Unseen.
Take all the treasure you can carry
and cry no more."

You ask, "Who is the King?" -
Tell the world that you are the King!

Your knowledge has brought the question,
And your grace has given the answer.

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


Why doesn't the soul fly
when it hears the call?

A fish on the beach always
moves toward wave-sound.

A falcon hears the drum
and brings its quarry home.

Why doesn't every dervish
dance in the sun?

You've escaped the cage.
Your wings are stretched
out. Now, fly!

You've stayed in sheds and out-buildings
so long you think that's where you live!

How many years, like children,
do we have to collect sticks and pieces
of broken pottery and pretend they're valuable?

Let's leave childhood and go
to the banquet of free human beings.

Split open the cultural mould.
Put your head up out of the sack.

Hold this book in the air
with your right hand. Are you old enough
to know your right from your left?

God said to clarity,
and to death,
Help them with discipline.
To the soul,
Move into the invisible.
Take what's there,
and don't sing
the pain anymore.
Call out that
you are now the king.

You have been given both the answer
and an understanding of the question.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"Say I am You"
Maypop, 1994


A Voice Through the Door

Sometimes you hear a voice through
the door calling you, as fish out of

water hear the waves, or a hunting
falcon hears the drum's come back.

This turning toward what you deeply
love saves you. Children fill their

shirts with rocks and carry them
around. We're not children anymore.

Read the book of your life which has
been given you. A voice comes to

your soul saying, Lift your foot;
cross over; move into the emptiness

of question and answer and question.

-- Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
"The Glance"
Viking-Penguin, 1999


Why doesn't the soul fly, when from your glorious
A speech of such sweet favour comes, saying, 'Arise'?

Why shouldn't a fish leap from dry land into the water
When wave-sounds from the ocean curl in its ear?

Why shouldn't a falcon fly from its kill to be near the King
When it hears drum-stick against drum chatter, 'Return'.

Shouldn't every Sufi dance like a speck of dust on the sun
Of eternity, that he night be delivered from decay?

Such grace, beauty, loveliness and life richly bestowed!
Dispense with Him, O misery and error.

Fly, O bird, fly to your natural home,
Your wings are outspread, your cage open.

Voyage from this bitter stream towards life's waters,
Return from the vestibule to the high seat of the soul.

Make haste, O soul! For we too are coming
From this world of duality to that of union.

How long shall we fill our laps with dust, stones
And such stuff from this world, like children?

Let us give up this world and fly towards Heaven,
Let us flee childhood to the banquet of men.

Behold, how your body has entrapped you!
Tear the sack and raise clear your head.

Take this scroll from Love with your right hand;
You are not child, not knowing right from left.

God said to Reason's messenger, 'Go',
To the hand of Death he said, "World desire, Chastise.'

A voice came to the spirit, 'Deliver me to the unseen'.
Take what gains, what treasure, and regret no more pain.

Cry out, announce that you are King;
In reply is your grace, in question your knowledge.

-- Version by James Cowan
"Rumi's Divan of Shems of Tabriz, Selected Odes"
Element Books Limited 1997


How should the soul not take wings
when from the Glory of God
It hears a sweet, kindly call:
"Why are you here, soul? Arise!"
How should a fish not leap fast
into the sea from dry land
When from the ocean so cool
the sound of the waves reached its ear?
How should the falcon not fly
back to his king from the hunt
When from the falconer's drum
it hears the call: "Oh, come back!"?
Why should not every Sufi
begin to dance atom-like
Around the Sun of duration
that saves from impermanence?
What graciousness and what beauty!
What life-bestowing! What grace!
If anyone does without that, woe -
what error, what suffering!
Oh fly, oh fly, O my soul-bird,
fly to your primordial home!
You have escaped from the cage now -
your wings are spread in the air.
Oh travel from brackish water
now to the fountain of life!
Return from the place of the sandals
now to the high seat of souls!
go on! Go on! we are going,
and we are coming, O soul,
From this world of separation
to union, a world beyond worlds!
How long shall we here in the dust-world
like children fill our skirts
With earth and with stones without value,
with broken shards without worth?
Let's take our hand from the dust grove,
let's fly to the heavens high,
Let's fly from our childish behavior
and join the banquet of men!
Call out, O soul, to proclaim now
that you are ruler and king!
You have the grace of the answer,
you know the question as well!

-- Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
"Look! This is Love - Poems of Rumi"
Shambhala, 1991


Why does the soul not take wing, when from the presence of
Glory the address of grace like sugar comes to the soul saying,
"Come up"?
How should a fish not leap nimbly from the dry land into the
water, when the sound of waves reaches its ear from the limpid
Why should the falcon not fly from the quarry towards the
king, when it hears from drum and drumstick the tidings Return?
Why should not every Sufi begin to dance like a mote in the
sun of immortality, that it may deliver him from decay?
Such grace and beauty and loveliness and life-bestowing - can
any man dispense with Him? What misery and error!
Fly, fly, O bird, to your origin, for you have escaped from the
cage and your feathers and wings are outspread.
Journey away from the brackish water towards the water of
life; return to the high table of the soul from the porter's lodge.
Off, off! For we too, O soul, are arriving from this world of
separation to that world of union.
How long like children in this earthly world shall we fill our
skirts with dust and stones and crocks?
Let us leave go of earth and fly heavenwards, let us flee from
childhood to the banquet of men.
Look not to see how the earthly mould has put you in a sack;
split the sack and lift your head out of the sack.
Take from the air this book in your right hand; you are not a
child, not to know your right from your left.
God said to Reason's messenger, "Lift up your foot!", to the
hand of Death, "Beat the ear of concupiscence!"
A call came to the spirit, "Speed away into the Unseen; take
the gain and the treasure, and lament the pain no more."
Do you call aloud, and proclaim that you are King; yours is the
grace of the answer, and yours is the knowledge of the question.

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




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