We're quite addicted to subtle discussions;
we're very fond of solving problems.
So that we may tie knots and then undo them,
we constantly make rules for posing the difficulty
and for answering the questions it raises.
We're like a bird which loosens a snare
and then ties it tighter again
in order to perfect its skill.
It deprives itself of open country;
it leaves behind the meadowland,
while its life is spent dealing with knots.
Even then the snare is not mastered,
but its wings are broken again and again.
Don't struggle with knots,
so your wings won't be broken.
Don't risk ruining your feathers
to display your proud efforts.
Mula`im andar sokhan-hâ-ye daqiq
dar gereh-hâ bâz kardan mâ `ashiq
Tâ gereh bandim va bo-g'shâyim mâ
dar shekâl va dar javâb âyin fazâ
Hamcho morghi ku goshâyad band dâm
gâh bandad tâ shavad dar fann tamâm
U bud mahrum az sahrâ o marj
`omr-e u andar gereh kârist kharj
Khvod zabun u na-gardad hich dâm
layk paresh dar shekast oftad modâm
Bâ gereh kam kush tâ bâl o paret
na-sheklad yek yek azin karr o farret
-- Mathnawi II: 3733-3738
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra
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