Friday, August 24, 2012

[Sunlight] Seashell Toys



Seashell Toys

Go into God’s qualities
and God’s face.

Empty into those and be there,
and not there, as when letters elide
and disappear into each other
to make a smooth connection.

in the uniting
they are silent.

The words, You did not throw when you threw,
where spoken without Muhammed’s speaking them.

The words, God said,
spring from silence.

A medicine on the shelf is medicinal
only when it dissolves into a diseased body.

Even if every tree were cut and split
and every limb and splinter made into pens,
and even if the ocean were ink and every human being
joined in the work, there would still be no hope
for finishing this Mathnawi!

But as long as the brickmaker’s mould stays filled
with clay, this poetry will keep building.

When there’s no more clay, use water!
When there’s no more land-forests,
use ocean-forests!

Muhammed said, “Talk about the ocean for a while.
Then turn toward land, pick up a toy,
and talk about toys.”

Children love their seashell toys,
and with them they learn about the ocean,
because a little piece of ocean
inside the child, and inside the toy,
knows the whole ocean.

-- Mathnawi VI: 2239-2256
Version by Coleman Barks
"Feeling the Shoulder of the Lion"
Threshold Books, 1991



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