Thursday, July 12, 2012

[Sunlight] The Meeting -- Ghazal 45


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 45, in a poetic version by
Professor Coleman Barks and in literal translation by Professor A.J.


The Meeting

When the friend opens the door and says,
You are here, please come in.
It is such a pleasure to give up talking
and listen to his long story
about Khidr, the guide of souls.

A tailor cuts cloth uniquely for each person.
Springs open in the center of the lake.
Trees move in the breeze that comes before dawn.

A nightingale sits in the rosebush and asks,
Who do you love? Tell me.
No one else is here.

The rose, So long as you are you,
I cannot. This is the passionate demand,
the one the burning bush made of Moses.

I am a sacred pool. Take off your shoes.
Wade in. You are the essence
of place and placelessness, honored one.
Take my hand.

The needle's eye will not accept
a strand of thread that is folded double.

So it is with you.
You find yourself holding the royal bowl
and welcoming all to the banquet.

The sun stands in the fire up to its chin
so we can have daylight.

When you take the hand of someone you love,
what happens to those hands?

Your darling comes, and you ask,
How can I help? Come here.

Reason wonders, Should I go?
And your loving, Should I run?

The one you love signals,
Yes. I want both of you.

The table is there. Sit down,
Choose the bright company.
Do not worry about food.

Now I pass to you this silence,
so that the alternations of night and day
with their flaming language
may finish the story.

-- Ghazal 45
Version by Coleman Barks
Rumi: Bridge to the Soul
HarperCollins, 2007


How sweet it is to give speech and head, to converse with his
lip, especially when he opens the door and says, "Good sir, come in!"
To the dry lip he tells the story of the fountain of Kaidar;
according to the stature of the man the tailor of his love cuts
the gown.
The fountains become drunken through the intoxication of his
eye; the trees are dancing before the gentle breeze of dawn.
The nightingale says to the rosebush, "What is in your heart?
Declare it this instant. No other is near; only you and I."
The rosebush answers, "So long as you are with yourself,
entertain not this ambition. Make a special effort to transport the
burden of your selfhood out of this earthly abode."
The eye of the needle of passion is narrow; know for a
certainty that it will not admit any thread when it perceives it to
be a double strand.
Behold how the sun is up to the throat in fire, so that through
its face the face of the earth may become full of light.
When Moses proceeded towards the burning bush, the bush
said, "I am the water of Kauthar; take off your shoes, and come!
Do not fear my fire, for I am water and sweet at that; you have
come to prosperity; the seat of honour is yours, welcome!
You are a pearl of lustre, a ruby of the mine, the soul of
place and placelessness; you are the nonpareil of the age; where
are other creatures beside you?"
Through love's hand, every hand becomes the royal court of
munificence; through you, the faithless world becomes the factory
of fidelity.
At the first hour of day you came, in your hand the royal bowl;
you are drawing my soul towards the feast, saying, "Welcome!"
What becomes of the heart, when the heart's hand grasps the
hand of a sweetheart? What becomes of the dross copper, when
it hears the welcoming voice of the philosopher's stone?
A wondrous darling came, in his hand a lance, like a Bedouin.
I said, "What service can I render?" He said, ""Come up to me!"
My heart leaped, saying, "Shall I run?" My reason said, "Shall
I go?" Generously, he signaled, saying, "Yes, both of you!"
Since the table has come down from heaven, wash you hands
and your mouth too, that there may not proceed from your palms
the odour of onions and chives.
The mine of salt has arrived; take heed, if you are goodly and
a lover. Seize the bowl, and give the cup; choose riot, not broth!
Now I close these two lips, so that the lamp of day and night
even with the flame of the tongue may tell you the whole story.

-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
Mystical Poems of Rumi 1
The University of Chicago Press 1968/1991




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