Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 322, in a poetic translation by Nader Khalili, and a literal translation by A.J. Arberry
i've come to take you
even if i must drag you along
but first must steal your heart
then settle you in my soul
i've come as a spring
to lay beside your blossoms
to feel the glory of happiness
and spread your flowers around
i've come to show you off
as the adornment in my house
and elevate you to the heavens
as the prayers of those in love
i've come to take back
the kiss you once stole
either return it with grace
or i must take it by force
you're my life
you're my soul
please be my last prayer
my heart must hold you forever
from the lowly earth
to the high human soul
there are a lot more
than a thousand stages
since i've taken you along
from town to town
no way will i abandon
you halfway down this road
though you're in my hands
though i can throw you around
like a child and a ball
i'll always need to chase after you
-- Translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Cal-Earth Press, 1994
I have come so that, tugging your ear, I may draw you to me,
unheart and unself you, plant you in my heart and soul.
Rosebush, I have come a sweet springtide unto you, to seize
you very gently in my embrace and squeeze you.
I have come to adorn you in this worldly abode, to convey you
above the skies like lovers' prayers.
I have come because you stole a kiss from an idol fair; give it
back with a glad heart, master, for I will seize you back.
What is a mere rose? You are the All*, you are the speaker of
the command "Say"*. If no one else knows you, since you are I, I
You are my soul and spirit, you are my Fatiha-chanter*, be-
come altogether the Fatiha, so that I may chant you in my heart.
You are my quarry and game, though you have sprung from
the snare; return to the snare, and if you will not, I will drive
The lion said to me, "You are a wonderous deer; be gone!
Why do you run in my wake so swiftly? I will tear you to pieces."
Accept my blow, and advance like a hero's shield;
give your ear to naught but the bowstring, that I may bend you
like a bow.
So many thousand stages there are from earth's bounds to
man; I have brought you from city to city, I will not leave you by
Say nothing, froth not, do not raise the lid of the cauldron;
simmer well, and be patient, for I am cooking you.
No, for you are a lion's whelp hidden in a deer's body: I will
cause you suddenly to transcend the deer's veil.
You are my ball, and you run in the curved mallet of my
decree; though I am making you to run, I am still running in your track.
-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968
* A pun on the Persian "gul" ("rose") and "kull" ("all").
* Say: Many passages of the Koran open with the word "say".
*Fatiha-chanter (Fâtiha-khwân): The "Fatiha" ("Opening")
is the first chapter of the Koran, containing praise of God
and prayers for guidance. A cantor with an exceptional voice
may chant this chapter in the course of an assembly of
worship. (Additional clarification courtesy of Ibrahim Gamard.)
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