Thursday, July 15, 2010

[Sunlight] "You are" -- Ghazal 37

Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal 37, in translations from Jonathan
Star and Shahram Shiva, from Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch via Simone
Fattal; as well as a modern-English literal translation from Dr. Ibrahim Gamard:


Don't Leave Me Unbaked

Be a lover for me, a cave for me,
The sweet burn of love for me.
O master, protect me!

You are Noah, you are the soul,
you are the slayer and the slain.
You are the treasure of knowledge –
O master, open your secret door for me!

You are the light and the celebration;
the land rejoicing in victory.
You are the great bird of Mount Sinai –
O master, don't drop me from your beak!

You are the ocean, and the shore;
a kind word, and a heart
filled with despair.
You are the sugar and the poison –
O master, more sugar and less poison!

You are the orb of the Sun,
and the house of Venus,
You are the light of hope
that touches the world.
O master, open up and let me see you!

You are the pain of hunger
and the crumbs of every beggar.
You are the water oveflowing.
O master, fill my empty cup!

You are the bait and the trap,
the wine and the glass.
You are the heat
and the bread in the oven.
O master, don't leave me unbaked!

This body is not fast enough
to reach the end
of Love's path.
Let me enter that emptiness –
O master, take away all these words of mine.

-- Ode 37
Version/translation by Jonathan Star and Shahram Shiva
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992


O Love who devours the heart,
O Master, protect me!
You are like Noah, my savior, you are my soul,
you are the winner and the vanquished,
You are the wounded heart, and I am in front
of the door of Secrets.
You are the light, you are the joy,
you are fortune triumphant!
You are the bird of Mount Sinai
and I have been wounded by your beak.
You are the drop of water and you are the ocean,
you are the grace and you are the fury,
You are the sugar and you are the poison,
do not torture me futhermore!

-- Translated to French by Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch
Translated from the French by Simone Fattal
"Rumi and Sufism"
The Post-Apollo Press, Sausalito, California 1987


For me, (there is) a friend,* a cave,* (and) a heart-afflicting* love.
(And) you are (that) friend and cave, (O) master! Protect me!
You are Noah (and) you are the spirit.* You are the opener and the
opened. (And) for me, you are the refreshed heart at the door of
You are the light (and) the feast, and the triumph of Mansoor.*
For me, you are the bird of the mountain of Sinai,* broken of beak.*
You are the drop and the ocean, kindness and severity, (and) you
are sugar (and) poison. Don't torment me* (any) more!
You are the cell of (seclusion) for the sun (and) the (overnight)
house for Venus. You are (also) the (green) meadow of hope: show
me the way, O beloved!
You are the day and the fast* (of Ramadan), (and) the gain from
begging. You are the water (and) the pitcher: give me water this time!
You are the seed and the trap, (and) you are the wine and the cup.*
You are (both) ripe and raw:* don't leave me (in the state of being)
If (my) body was less hot-spirited, it would rob my heart less.
(But) you went on the road, so that this entire speech of mine would
not be (any use)!*

-- From The Dîwân-é Kabîr (also known as "Kulliyat-é Shams" and
"Dîwân-é Shams-é Tabrîz") of Jalaluddin Rumi, Ode 37
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard, 1/14/99;
revised 1/22/00 (all rights reserved)
Footnotes courtesy of Ibrahim Gamard

*a friend (yâr): may also be translated "a beloved."
* a cave (ghâr): a word play referring to Abu Bakr, called in Persian
"Friend of the Cave" (yâr-é ghâr) because he shared a small cave
with the Prophet Muhammad (in order to escape from pursuing
enemies) during the famous flight (Hijra) from Mecca to Medina in
622. The traditional account is that they were protected by a miracle
of God: when the enemy checked the cave, they found it covered by
a spider web and concluded that no one could be inside.
*heart-afflicting: literally, "liver-devouring." An idiom for grievous
*the spirit (rûH): usually understood to me an the angel Gabriel (see
"the Spirit (of Revelation)," Qur'an 17:85; "the angels and the spirit,"
70:4, 78:38, 97:4; "the holy spirit," which strengthened the Prophet
Jesus, 2:87, 253; and passages where God strengthened the believers
with a spirit from Him, such as 58:22. In sum, the reference here is
to protection sent by God.
*the opener and the opened: although the primary meaning of these
words has to do with opening, the usual meaning is "the conqueror
and the conquered," in the sense of "opening" a fortified town.
However, the primary meaning seems more suitable here-- per the
effects of the spirit, and the mention of "door of secrets" in the
second half of the verse.
*the triumph of Mansoor: may also be translated as "the good-fortune
of Mansoor." Refers to the radical sufi Mansûr Hallâj, who was
executed for heresy in 922. May refer to the legend that after his
execution, his scattered blood formed the words of his (alleged)
words of blasphemy ("I am the Truth/God") on the ground. Rumi (as
well as other later sufi masters) taught that God spoke the words, and
Hallâj was mystically annihilated and therefore incapable of speaking
from his own ego-consciousness.
*the bird of the mountain of Sinai: refers to the hoopoe bird
(mentioned in a story about Solomon in Qur'an 27:22-28).
*broken of beak: meaning unclear. The Arabic word "beak" was
needed for the rhyme. The word translated as "broken" (khasta)
literally means (in classical Persian) "wounded," so perhaps it is a
reference to the final disappearance of Shams-i Tabriz. Shams had
been murdered, and his body thrown down into a well, but this was
concealed from Rumi. Shams had left town before (because of the
hostility of his enemies) and had been found in Damascus and had
been persuaded to return. Perhaps Rumi heard that Shams had been
attacked and thought he may have been wounded and then left town.
In any case, for several years Rumi ardently hoped that Shams could
be found again. The other way of reading the line ("You are the bird
of the mountain of Sinai, my wound in the beak") makes little sense.
*Don't torment me: in Classical Persian culture, the expected role of
the beloved was to act harshly and tyrannically toward the lover (as
well as to impose periods of separation), an the lover's role was both
to take delight in such treatment and to yearn for an end of harshness
and separation.
*You are the day and the fast: a word play on "rôz" and "rôza." The
latter word (literally, "daily") is the Persian word for fasting, and
refers to the fast of the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims do
not eat or drink during the daylight hours.
*the wine and the cup: symbols, in Persian sufi poetry, of spiritual
blessing and drunkenness, and the dispenser (the sufi master) of
*ripe and raw (pokhta, khâm): technical words in sufism, which also
mean (spiritually) mature, experienced, prepared, refined;
(spiritually) immature, inexperienced, etc., uncooked, bearing no
*line 8: difficult to translate.


yâr ma-râ ghâr ma-râ, `ishq-é jegar-khwâr ma-râ
yâr tow-î, ghâr tow-î, khwâja! negahdâr ma-râ

nûH tow-î, rûH tow-î, fâtiH-o maftûH tow-î
sîna-yé mashrûH tow-î, bar dar-é asrâr ma-râ

nûr tow-î, sûr tow-î, dawlat-é manSûr tow-î
morgh-é koh-é Tûr tow-î, khasta ba-minqâr ma-râ

qaTra tow-î, baHr tow-î, tuTf tow-î, qahr tow-î
qand tow-î, zahr tow-î, bêsh ma-y-âzâr ma-râ

Hujra-yé khworshêd tow-î, khâna-yé nâhêd tow-î
rawZa-yé ômêd tow-î, râh deh ay yâr ma-râ

rôz tow-î, rôza tow-î, HâSil-é daryôza tow-î
âb tow-î, kôza tow-î, âb deh în bâr ma-râ

dâna tow-î, dâm tow-î, bâda tow-î, jâm tow-î
pokhta tow-î, khâm tow-î, khâm be-ma-goZâr ma-râ

în tan agar kam tandy, râh-é del-am kam zandy
râh shod-î tâ na-body, în hama goftâr ma-râ

(meter: XoX XoX XooX XoX)

-- Transliteration courtesy of Dr. Ibrahim Gamard




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