Monday, February 13, 2012

[Sunlight] All I have to offer -- Ghazal 2422


Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2422, from the Divan-e Shams*, in
versions by Helminski and Barks, and in translation by Arberry:

Rest your cheek, for a moment,
on this drunken cheek.
Let me forget the war and cruelty inside myself.
I hold these silver coins in my hand;
give me Your wine of golden light.
You have opened the seven doors of heaven;
now lay Your hand generously on my tightened heart.
All I have to offer is this illusion, my self.
Give it a nickname at least that is real.
Only you can restore what You have broken;
help my broken head.
Im not asking for some sweet pistachio candy,
but Your everlasting love.
Fifty times I've said,
"Heart, stop hunting and step into this net."

-- Kabir Helminski
"Love is a Stranger"
Threshold Books, 1993


Silver Coins

Put your cheek against this drunken cheek.
Forget anger and men planning war.
When I hold out silver coins, take them, and give
me a cup of liquid full of gold light.
You can open the wide door of the sky.
Surely you will open me. All I have
is this emptiness. Give it a nickname.
Breaker and healer, break and heal this head.
Don't press your seal to that pistachio nut.
Put it here. There is that in me
that has to be told fifty times a day:
Stop hunting. Step on this net.

-- Coleman Barks
"Open Secret"
Threshold Books, 1984


For a moment lay your cheek on the cheek
of this drunkard, for a moment put behind your
war and cruelty.
If it be hard, I bring out silver in my hand; put
in this hand wine like gold.
You who have opened the doors of the seven
heavens, lay the hand of generosity on my fettered
All I have to offer is not-being; give the nickname
of being to my not-being.
You are both breaker and binder of the broken;
lay the balm of the soul on my broken head.
Do not put a seal on that sugar and pistachio nut;
lay everlasting love upon this servant.
I have told you fifty times, O heart: do not hunt,
put your foot in this net.

-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
The University of Chicago Press, 1991


* Sunlight note: Rumi's collection of lyrical poems (ghazals) is
known by various names, and the various names are spelled
variously, e.g. "Diwan". For those new to the works of Rumi, the
title means simply "The Collected (or, "Collection of") Shams
(Rumi's friend, teacher, and nspiration). Often, "Tabrizi" is also
added to the title, referring to Shams' home city ("Tabrizi" = of
Tabriz). Sunlight will endeavour to assist in the standardization
of the title, and its spelling, by adopting that used by Professor
Franklin Lewis in his recent volume, "Rumi, Past and Present,
East and West".



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