Thursday, December 13, 2012

[Sunlight] I am neither of this not or that


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 1615, in a poetic version by
Professor Coleman Barks and in literal translation by Professor A.J.


I may be clapping my hands,
but I don't belong to a crowd of clappers.
I'm neither this nor that.

I'm not part of a group that loves flute music,
or one that loves gambling,
or one that loves drinking wine.

Those who live in time,
descended from Adam,
made of earth and water,
I'm not part of that.

Don't listen to what I say,
as though these words came from an inside
and went to an outside.

Your faces are very beautiful,
but they are wooden cages.

You'd better run from me.
My words are fire.

I have nothing to do with being famous,
or making grand judgments,
or feeling full of shame.

I borrow nothing.
I don't want anything from anybody.

I flow through all human beings.
Love is my only companion

When Union happens, my speech
goes inward, toward Shams.

At that meeting,
all the secrets of language
will no longer be secret.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
(from a translation by A.J. Arberry)
"Like This"
Maypop, 1990


If I am hand-clapping, I belong not to the clappers; I am
neither of this nor of that, I am of that mighty city.
I am not for fluting and gambling, I am not for wine and
liquor, I am neither leaven nor crop-sickness, I am neither like this
nor like that.
If I am drunk and dissolute, I am not drunk with wine like
you; I am not of earth nor of water, I am not of the people of
The mind of the son of Adam – what knowledge has it of this
utterance? For I am hidden by two hundred veils from the world
Hear not these words as from me, nor from this clear thought,
for I neither receive nor seize this outward and inward.
Though your face is beautiful, the cage of your soul is of
wood; run away from me or you will burn, for my tongue is a
I am not of scent nor colour, I am not of fame nor shame;
beware of my poplar arrow, for God is my bow.
I seize not raw wine, nor borrow from anyone, I seize neither
breath nor snare, O my youthful fortune.
I am as the rosebower of paradise, I am the joy-garden of the
world, for my spirit is flowing through the spirits of all men.
The sugarbed of your phantom brings rose-sugar to me; in the
garden of realities I scatter the rose of a hundred petals.
When I enter the rose-showering garden of union with you,
make me sit down, for I am a target for your brand.
Love, what a mate you are, how strange, how marvellous!
When you seized my mouth, my expression went inwards.
When my soul reaches Tabriz, to come to Shams al-Haqq u
Din, I will bring to an end all the secrets of speech.

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




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