Wednesday, November 16, 2011

[Sunlight] Reveal your face, as I long for orchard and rose-garden


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 441, in a poetic translation
by Nader Khalili, a version by Coleman Barks, and a translation by
A.J. Arberry.

show me your face
i crave
flowers and gardens
open your lips
i crave
the taste of honey
come out from
behind the clouds
i desire a sunny face
your voice echoed
saying "leave me alone"
i wish to hear your voice
again saying "leave me alone"
i swear this city without you
is a prison
i am dying to get out
to roam in deserts and mountains
i am tired of
flimsy friends and
submissive companions
i die to walk with the brave
am blue hearing
nagging voices and meek cries
i desire loud music
drunken parties and
wild dance
one hand holding
a cup of wine
one hand caressing your hair
then dancing in orbital circle
that is what i yearn for
i can sing better than any nightingale
but because of
this city's freaks
i seal my lips
while my heart weeps
yesterday the wisest man
holding a lit lantern
in daylight
was searching around town saying
i am tired of
all these beasts and brutes
i seek
a true human
we have all looked
for one but
no one could be found
they said
yes he replied
but my search is
for the one
who cannot be found

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


What I want is to see your face
in a tree, in the sun coming out, in the air.

What I want is to hear the falcon-drum,
and light again on your forearm.

You say, "Tell him I'm not here." The
sound of that brusque dismissal becomes
what I want.

To see in every palm your elegant silver coin-shavings,
to turn with the wheel of the rain,
to fall with the falling bread of every experience,

to swim like a huge fish in ocean water,
to be Jacob recognizing Joseph.
To be a desert mountain instead of a city.

I'm tired of cowards.
I want to live with lions.
With Moses.

Not whining, teary people.
I want the ranting of drunkards.
I want to sing like birds sing, not worrying
who hears, or what they think.

Last night, a great teacher went
from door to door with a lamp.
"He who is not to be found is the one
I'm looking for."

Beyond wanting, beyond place, inside form,
That One. A flute says, I have no hope
for finding that.

But Love plays and is the music played.
Let that musician finish this poem.

Shams, I am a waterbird flying into the sun.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"We Are Three,"
Maypop, 1987


Show your face, for the orchard and rosegarden are my desire;
open your lips, for abundant sugar is my desire.
Sun of beauty, come forth one moment out of the cloud, for
that glittering, glowing countenance is my desire.
Out of your air I heard the sound of the falcon-drum; I
returned, for the sultan's forearm is my desire.
You said capriciously, "Trouble me no more; be gone!" That
saying of yours, "Trouble me no more," is my desire.
And your repulse, "Be gone, the king is not at home," and
those mighty airs and brusqueness of the doorkeeper, are my
In the hand of every one who exists there are filings of beauty;
that quarry of elegance and that mine are my desire.
This bread and water of heavens wheel are like a treacherous
torrent; I am a fish, a leviathan, Oman* is my desire.
Like Jacob I am crying alas, alas*; the fair visage of Joseph of
Canaan is my desire.
By Allah, without you the city is a prison for me; I wander
abroad, mountain and desert are my desire.
My heart is weary of these weak-spirited fellow-travellers; the
Lion of God* and Rustam-i Dastan are my desire.
My soul is sick of Pharaoh and his tyranny; that light of the
countenance of Moses son of Imran is my desire.
I am aweary of these tearful people so full of complaining;
that ranting and roaring of the drunkards is my desire.
I am more eloquent than the nightingale, but because of
vulgar envy a seal is on my tongue, and lamentation is my desire.
Last night the shaikh went all about the city, lamp in hand,
crying, "I am weary of beast and devil, a man is my desire."
They said, "He is not to be found, we too have searched." He
answered, "He who is not to be found is my desire."
Though I am penniless, I will not accept a small carnelian, for
that rare, precious carnelian is my desire.
Hidden from every eye, and all things seen are from Him --
that hidden One manifest in works is my desire.
My state has gone beyond every desire and yearning; from
mine and place to the elements is my desire.
My ear heard the tale of faith and became drunk; where is the
portion of sight? The form of faith is my desire.
In one hand the winecup, in the other the Beloved's curl -- to
dance so in the midst of the arena is my desire."
That rebeck says, "I am dead of expectation; the hand and
bosom and plectrum of Uthman* are my desire."
I am at once Love's rebeck, and Love is my rebeck-player;
those favours of the plucking of the All-merciful are my desire.
Cunning minstrel, number the rest of this ode after this fashion,
for it is after this fashion I desire.
Show your face from the east, Sun of the Pride of Tabriz; I am
the hoopoe, the presence of Solomon is my desire.

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

* Oman, the southern part of the Persian Gulf, symbolizes
the Divine Ocean.
* "Like Jacob, etc." -- Koran 12:84
* The "Lion of God" was Ali, Muhammad's cousin and fourth
caliph. Rustam was the famous Iranian champion.
* Uthman: Sharaf al-Din-i Qavval the minstrel, see Aflaki 222, etc.




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