Monday, September 16, 2013

[Sunlight] The Blocked Road – Ghazal 1837


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode)1837, from Rumi's "Diwan-e
Shams" ("The Collection of Shams"), as a poetic version by Coleman
Barks, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:


"The Blocked Road"

I wish I knew what you wanted.
You block the road and won't give me rest.
You pull my lead-rope one way, then the other.
You act cold, my darling!
Do you hear what I say?

Will this night of talking ever end?
Why am I still embarrassed and timid
about you? You are thousands.
You are one.
Quiet, but most articulate.

Your name is Spring.
Your name is wine.
Your name is the nausea
that comes from wine!

You are my doubting
and the lightpoints
in my eyes.

You are every image, and yet
I'm homesick for you.

Can I get there?
Where the deer pounces on the lion,
where the one I'm after's
after me?

This drum and these words keep pounding!
Let them both smash through their coverings
into silence.

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


Lord, would that I knew what is the desire of my Beloved; He
has barred my road of escape, robbed me of my heart and my
Lord, would that I knew whither He is dragging me, to what
purpose He is dragging my toggle in every direction.
Lord, would that I knew why He is stonyhearted, that loving
King of mine, my long-suffering Darling.
Lord, would that I knew whether my sighing and my clamor,
"My Lord and my defense!" – will reach my Beloved at all.
Lord, would that I knew where this will end; Lord, this my
night of writing is very long.
Lord, what is this ferment of mine, all this bashfulness of
mine? – Seeing that you are mine, you are at once my one and my
Your love is always both silent and eloquent before the image
of my eye, my sustenance and my fate!
Now I call him quarry, now I call him spring, now I nickname
him wine, now my crop sickness.
He is my unbelief and faith, my light-beholding eye, that of
mine and this of mine – I cannot escape from him.
No more patience has remained for me, nor sleep, nor tears
nor wrath; Lord, how long will he raid all the four of mine?
Where is the house of water and clay, compared with that of
soul and heart? Lord, my sole desire has become my hometown
and habitation*.
This heart is banished from the town, stuck in dark mire,
lamenting, "O God, where is my family and retinue?"
Lord, if only I might reach my city and behold the companion
of my Palace, and all that city of my friend!
Gone then my hard road, the heavy load from my back; my
long-suffering Darling would come, carrying off my load.
My lion-catching deer would drink to the full of my milk, he
whose quarry I am would have become my quarry.
Black-faced night is then not the mate and consort of my day;
stonyhearted autumn follows not in the wake of my springtide.
Will you not be silent? How long will you beat this drum?
Alas, my veiled lip, that you have become veil-rending!

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

*"The house of water and clay" symbolizes the human body where
the soul, coming from a spiritual land, must sojourn and the
original abode back to which it wishes to fly.




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