Thursday, September 29, 2011

[Sunlight] Those who have already died


Lovers, who die knowingly, die like sugar
before their Beloved.
On the day of Alast they drank the Water of
Life -- so they cannot die like others.
Since they have been resurrected in Love, they
do not die like these people in the crowd.
Through God's Gentleness they have passed
beyond the angels--far be it from them to die like humans!
Do you suppose that lions die like dogs, far
from His Presence?
When lovers die in their journey, the spirit's
King runs out to meet them.
When they die at the feet of that Moon, they all
light up like the sun.
The lovers who are each others' spirit, die in
their mutual love.
The water of Love soothes their aching livers,
they all come and die in that heartache.
Each is an unparalleled orphan pearl -- they do
not die next to mothers and fathers.
Lovers fly to the spheres, deniers die in the
depths of the Blaze.
Lovers open the eye that sees the Unseen, the
rest all die blind and deaf.
In fear the lovers never used to sleep at night--
now they all die without dread or danger.
Those who worshiped fodder here were all
cows -- they die like asses.
Those who sought that vision today die happy
and laughing in vision's midst.
The king places them next to His Gentleness--
they do not die in the lowliness and insignificance you see.
Those who seek to acquire the virtue of
Muhammad die like Abu Bakr and Umar.*
Far from them is death and annihilation! But I
have sung this ghazal supposing they were to die.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 972
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

* I.e. Abu Bakr and Umar, along with Uthman and Ali, were the closest
companions of the Prophet and the first four caliphs of Islam.




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