Tuesday, November 27, 2012

[Sunlight] So--no more complaining!


Here, Sunlight offers Rumi's Ghazal Number 1380, in a poetic version by Coleman Barks, along with the literal translation by A.J. Arberry upon which Barks based his version:


Yesterday you put a crown on my head
that, no matter how anyone strikes it,
will not fall off. Love's nightcap,
with your handstitching around the brow.

Even if my head's not in it,
because it is your gift to me,
my head becomes a pearl
lifted from the jewelbox.

Prove it. Here's a heavy mace.
See if I am more bone and marrow than soul.

Inside this skull-nut there's almond essence
to sweeten lip and throat and put light in the eyes.

So no more complaining.
Jesus didn't ask, "Where's my donkey?"
There was just one less in the donkey herd.

The strength of a rider
doesn't come from his lean mount
but from his love.

Don't say Ah, ah, when you're hurt.
Say Allah.

Joseph didn't talk about his time in the well,
but rather of sitting on the throne of Egypt.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"These Branching Moments"
Copper Beech Press, 1988


Yesterday my darling placed a golden crown on my head;
however many blows you may strike, it will not fall from my
The cap-stitching king of eternity from his brows on my brows
sets the nightcap of love, so of course it remains for ever.
And even if my head does not remain with the cap, I will
become all head like the moon; for my pearl will appear brighter
without casket and shell.
Here is my head, and there a heavy mace; strike, to make proof;
and if this bone breaks, I am more full of marrow than intellect and soul.
That nut lacking pith which has chosen the husk – how shall
it have percieved the relish of the almond-essence of my Prophet?
A sweetmeat full of his nuts, his sugar, and almonds sweetens
my throat and lip, gives light to my eyes.
When you discover the pith, my son, and have learned to
disregard the husk, when you have entered the quarter of Jesus,
you will not any more say, "Where is my ass?"
My soul, how long will you complain? Give up one ass from
the head; behold the stoutness of the rider, not my lean draught-
Know that the stoutness of the lover derives from the
stoutness of his Beloved, for the pride of lovers arises from
"I am God Most Great."
O sighing pains, do not say "Ah, ah," say "Allah"; speak not
of the well, speak of the throne, O Joseph my soul-nourisher.

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




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