Thursday, December 01, 2011

[Sunlight] I have escaped -- Ghazal 1472


Here, Sunlight offers Molana Rumi's Ghazal 1472, in three
presentations: a translation by Khalili, a version from Barks, and
the translation from Arberry upon which Barks based his version:

once again
i broke free of the chains
of the wicked traps
of this world

once again
by your youthful love
i was saved from
this fraud-filled wizard
we call life
running day and night
i finally had to cut myself off
from this deadly routine
leaping free as an arrow
from the grip of the cosmic bow

now i have no more fear
of grief and anxiety
i've learned to compete
with death itself

i lived through my wits
for forty years
now at sixty-two
finally hunted down
i am free from struggle

bread becomes blood
blood transforms to milk
and now
that I have my wisdom teeth
i am in no need for more milk

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


I have broken out again,
escaped from the tricky,
wiry shamans of ecstasy.

Running night and day to escape night and day.
Why fear grief
when Death walks so close beside?

Don't fear the General
if you're good friends with the Prince.

For forty years I made plans and worried about them.
Now sixty-two, I've escaped reasonableness.

By definition, human beings do not see or hear.
I broke loose from definition.

Skin outside, seeds inside,
a fig lives caught between, and like that fig,
I wiggle free.

Hesitation, deadly. Hurrying, worse.
Escape both delay and haste.

Fed first with blood in the womb,
then milk from the breast,
my clever teeth came in,
and I escaped even those.

Off balance, I grope for bread, a loaf or two,
until God gives the next food,
and I'm gone.

No more garlicky detail, no more meanings.
Only clean-breathed,
silent escaping.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"These Branching Moments"
Copper Beech Press, 1988


Once again, once again I have escaped from my chains, I have
burst out of these bonds and this trap which seizes the infirm.
Heaven, the bent old man full of wizardry and deceit--by
virtue of your youthful fortune I have escaped from this old man.
Night and day I ran, I broke away from night and day; ask of
this sphere how like an arrow I sped.
Why should I fear sorrow? For I am the comrade of death.
Why should I fear the general? For I have escaped from the
Reason bore me down with anxiety for forty years; sixty-two*
has made me quarry, and I have escaped from devising.
All creatures have been made deaf or blind by predestination;
I have escaped from the deaf and blind of predestination, and
from predestination.
Outwardly skin, inwardly stone, the fruit is a prisoner; like a
fig, I have escaped from that skin and that stone.
Delay causes mischief, and haste is of the devil; my heart has
escaped from haste, and I have escaped from delay.
In the first place blood was the food,* in the end blood became
milk; when the teeth of reason sprouted, I escaped from that
I ran after bread, a loaf or two, by imposture; God gave me a
food, so that I escaped from imposture.
Be silent, be silent, speak no more in detail; I will speak of the interpretation, I have escaped from the stench of garlic.*

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

Arberry's notes:
* This poem was composed when Rumi was sixty-two.
* "Blood was the food" -- in the womb.
* A play on "tafsir" (interpretation), and "taf-i sir" ("stench of garlic," -- eaten by unbelieving Jews).




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