Wednesday, August 03, 2011

[Sunlight] Whatever comes of the world's affairs -- Ghazal 2144


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2144, in poetic translation
by Nader Khalili, and in literal translation by A.J. Arberry.


whatever happens
to the world around
show me your purpose
show me your source

even if the world
is Godless and chaos
show me your anchor
show me your love

if there is hunger
if there is famine
show me your harvest
show me your resource

if life is bitter
everywhere snakes everywhere poison
show me your garden
show me your meadow

if the sun and the moon fall
if darkness rules the world
show me your light
show me your flame

if i have no mouth
or tongue to utter
words of your secrets
show me your fountain

i'll keep silence
how can i express
your life when mine
still is untold

-- Translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Burning Gate Press, Los Angeles, 1994


Whatever comes of the world's affairs, how does that affect
your business? If the two worlds have become an idol-temple,
where is that roguish idol of yours?
Grant that the world is in famine, there is no bowl [of wine]
and bread any more; O king of the manifest and hidden, where
are your measure and store?
Grant that the world is all thorn, scorpion and snake; O joy
and gladness of the soul, where are your rose bower and rosebed?
Grant that liberality itself is dead, that miserliness has slain
all; O our heart and eye, where are your pension and robe of
Grant that both the sun and the moon have sunk into hell; O
succor of hearing and sight, where are your torch and light?
Grant that the jeweler is not after any customer, how shall
you not take the leadership? Where is your pearl-raining cloud?
Grant there is no mouth, there is no speech of tongue to tell
the secrets; where is the surging of your heart?
Come, leave all this, for we are drunk with union and
encounter; the hour is late come quickly, where is this house of
your vintner?
Drunken sharp-glancer of mine, my fellow in heart and hand,
if you are not dissolute and in dotage, where are your cloak and
A whore has carried off your cap, another your gown; your
face is pale with a moonlike beauty; where is your support and
A stranger is waylaying the path to the drunkards of eternity:
why do you not act the policeman? Where is your wound thrust?
Where are your gallows?
Silence, word-scatterer! Interpret not to ordinary people what
is fit only for the ears of the silent ones; where is your ecstasy
and speech?**

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

* "Ham dil o ham dast" means an associate and confidant. Arberry's
translation is "my fellow in heart and hand."
** The last past of the last line was revised. The original translation
was: "What has your ecstasy to do with speech?"




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