Monday, September 20, 2010

[Sunlight] The Night of Union – Ghazal 1092


Here, Sunlight offers Ode 1092, in a poetic version by Coleman
Barks, and in translation by A.J. Arberry. Sunlight gratefully thanks Dr. Ibrahim Gamard for the comprehensive footnoting which follows the Arberry translation.


This is the Night of Union,
when the stars scatter their rice
over us. The sky is excited!

Venus cannot stop singing the little songs
she's making up, like a bird
in the first warm Spring weather.

The North star can't quit looking over
at Leo. Pisces is stirring milky dust
from the Ocean floor. Jupiter
rides his horse over to Saturn, "Old Man,
jump up behind me! The juice is coming back!
Think of something happy to shout as we go."

Mars washes his bloody sword, and puts it up,
and begins building things. The Aquarian water jar
fills, and the Virgin pours it generously

The Pleiades and Libra and Aries
have no trembling in them anymore.

Scorpio walks out looking for a lover,
and so does Sagittarius!

This is not crooked walking, like the Crab.
This is the Holiday we've been waiting for.

It's finally time
to sacrifice Taurus
and learn how the sky
is a lens to look through.

Listen to What's Inside
anything I say.

Shams will appear at dawn,
and then even this night will change
from its Beloved Darkness
to a Day beyond any ordinary,
sweet daylight.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
from a translation by A.J. Arberry
"Like This"
Maypop, 1990


Tonight is a night of union for the stars and of scattering*,
scattering, since a bride is coming from the skies, consisting of a
full moon.
Venus* cannot contain herself for charming melodies, like the
nightingale which becomes intoxicated with the rose in spring-
See how the polestar* is ogling Leo; behold what dust Pisces* is
stirring up from the deep!
Jupiter has galloped his steed against ancient Saturn*, saying
"Take back your youth and go, bring good tidings!"
Mars'* hand, which was full of blood from the handle of his
sword, has become as life-giving as the sun, the exalted in works.
Since Aquarius* has come full of that water of life, the dry
cluster of Virgo* is raining pearls from him.
The Pleiades (nut)* full of goodness fears not Libra* and being
broken; how should Aries* flee away in fright from its mother?*
When from the moon the arrow of a glance struck the heart
of Sagittarius*, he took to night-faring in passion for her, like
On such a festival, go, sacrifice Taurus*, else you are crooked of
gait in the mud like Cancer*.
This sky is the astrolabe*, and the reality is Love; whatever we
say of this, attend to the meaning.
Shamsi-Tabriz, on that dawn when you shine, the dark night
is transformed to bright day by your moonlike face.

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

Footnotes provided by Ibrahim Gamard:

*scattering: refers to the custom of generously throwing coins to the people during a wedding.
*Venus: long associated astrologically with music and amorous love.
*Polestar [juday]: also means Capricorn (if read as jadî).
*Pices: literally, "the Fish."
*ancient Saturn: the father of Jupiter in ancient astrological
*Mars: long associated with warfare.
*Aquarius: lit., "urn," and refers to the association with water being poured from a pitcher.
*Virgo: lit., "ear of corn.," contrasted with the "water sign" of
*Pleiades: lit., "nut full with a kernel" [jawz por-é maghz], which
refers to the middle, or kernel, of the Pleiades" [jawz-é Surayâ].
Arberry supplies a single note for this ode here, saying: "Here, as
elsewhere, Rumi plays on words' double meanings."
*Libra: lit., "the scales," which means that the "kernel of the
Pleiades" is not afraid of being weighed and divided.
*Aries: lit., "lamb," and refers to the symbol of the ram.
*Sagittarius: lit., "arc," or "bow," and a reference to the image of
the "Archer."
*Scorpio: lit., "scorpion," and a reference here to the mating
behavior of scorpions.
*sacrifice Taurus: lit., "sacrifice the bull," which refers both to the
astrological association as the Bull, and also one of the two annual
Islamic `Eid festivals (celebrating the end of the fasting month of
Ramadan, and celebrating the sacrifice of the Prophet Abraham
during the month of the Hajj rituals), when sheep, goats, cattle,
and camels are sacrificed (and most of the meat is given to the
*Cancer: lit., "the crab."
*astrolabe: an astronomical instrument used for measuring and
studying the movements of the planets and stars. This is a favorite
image of Rumi's, as in his famous line, "The sickness of the lover
is distinct from all sicknesses. Love is the astrolabe of the secrets
of God." (Mathnawi I:110)




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