Monday, November 28, 2011

[Sunlight] Too Vast for Partnership -- Ghazal 941



Too Vast for Partnership

Will it be better for us when we
dissolve into the ground, or worse?

Let's learn now what will happen.
This is lovers' work, to break through

and become this earth, to die before
we die. Don't think of pairing up

somehow with God! That claim is a
religious self-indulgence. You know

it by the smell: smoke coming off
dried dung is different from that of

aloe wood! The presence that one
second is soil, then water, fire,

smoke, woof, warp, a friend, a shame,
a modesty, is too vast and intimate

for partnership! Observers watch as
presence takes thousands of forms.

But inside your eyes the presence
doesn't brighten or dim; it just

lives there. A saint or a prophet,
one like Muhammad can see the trees

of heaven, the fruit hanging so close
he could reach and pick one for his

friend. But it's not time for that.
They melt and flow away from sight.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 941
Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
"The Glance"
Viking-Penguin, 1999




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