Monday, September 23, 2013

[Sunlight] You took away my rosary -- Ghazal 940


Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 940, from Rumi's
"Diwan-e Shams", in a poetic version by Coleman Barks and
a literal translation by A.J. Arberry:


Love has taken away my practices
and filled me with poetry.

I tried to keep quietly repeating,
No strength but Yours, but I couldn't.
I had to clap and sing.

I used to be respectable and chaste and stable,
but who can stand in this strong wind
and remember those things?

A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That's how I hold your Voice.

I am scrap wood thrown in your Fire,
and quickly reduced to smoke.

I saw You and became empty. This Emptiness,
more beautiful than existence, it obliterates existence;
and yet when It comes, existence thrives and creates more existence!

The sky is blue. The world is a blind man squatting on the road.
But whoever sees Your Emptiness
sees beyond blue and beyond the blind man.

A great soul hides like Muhammed, or Jesus,
moving through a crowd in a city where no one knows Him.

To praise is to praise how one surrenders to the Emptiness.
To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the Ocean. What we say, a little ship.

So the sea-journey goes on, and who know where!
Just to be held by the Ocean is the best luck we could have.
It's a total waking up!

Why should we grieve that we've been sleeping?
It doesn't matter how long we've been unconscious.

We're groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness around you, the buoyancy.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995


Love for you took away my rosary and gave verses and songs; I
cried "No strength (save with God)" and repented oft, but my
heart did not heed.
At Love's hand I became a singer of odes, hand-clapping; love
for you consumed reputation and shame and all that I possessed.
Once I was chaste and self-denying and firm-footed as a
mountain; what mountain is there that your wind did not carry away
life chaff?
If I am a mountain, yet I hold the echo of your voice; and if I
am chaff, in your fire I am reduced to smoke.
When I saw your being, I became nonexistent out of shame;
out of the love of this nonexistence the world of soul came into
Wherever nonexistence comes, existence diminishes � brave
nonexistence, from which, when it came, existence augmented!
Heaven is blue, earth like a blind squatter on the road; he who
beholds your moon escapes from blind-and-blue.
The likeness of the soul of a great saint, hidden in the body
of the world is the likeness of Ahmad the Messenger amidst the
Guebres and Jews.
To praise you in reality is to praise oneself, for he who praises
the sun thereby praises his own eyes.
Your praise is as the sea, our tongue is a ship; the soul voyages
on the sea, and its end is praiseworthy.
The tender care of the sea is for me like wakeful fortune; why
should I grieve, if my eye is stained with sleep?

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




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