I am the smoke of a blown out candle

Another beautiful death poem, so good it deserves its own post

 

Poetry by Ali Akbar Natiq, sung by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Translation by A. Changezi:

I am the smoke of a blown out candle, returning to my source
My heart’s desires erased, I now efface my existence
Last night, your lost remembrance came into my heart
Like the silent arrival of spring in the wilderness
Like the soft movement of the morning breeze in the desert
Like an ailing man finding stillness, without a reason
How You have changed, like the times
Whenever we have met, as if for the first time
Should I call it your cruelty – or your favor, this?
That even grief comes to me like a precious souvenir
When the fires of sorrow were stoked in the heart
We cried the way water bursts from the sky
What offerings could we have made to your Beauty?
There is only this one life, received like charity
I am the smoke of a blown out candle, returning to my source
My heart’s desires erased, I now efface my existence
Solely to see Your face, I bring forth images of idols
That I may collect their various splendours, into a likeness of You
I have hidden myself in a shroud, so trouble Yourself not with concealment
In creating a cloak for myself, it is your Veil that I lift
There, You have already departed home – here, my breath is departing
Lord, what is this calamity? You approach just as I am leaving
Love is man’s nature – where is the possibility of abandoning it?
The more I try to forget, the more You are present in my remembrance
“Here I am” on every tongue, on every breath – my brow in prostration at every step
You travel to the home of idols, Naatiq, as if you were journeying to the House of God
Original:

بجھی ہوئی شمع کا دھواں ھوں اور اپنے مرکز کو جا رہا ھوں
کہ دل کی حسرت تو مٹ چکی ھے اب اپنی ہستی مٹا رہا ھوں

تیری ہی صورت کے دیکھنے کو بتوں کی تصویریں لا رہا ھوں
کہ خوبیاں سب کی جمع کر کے تیرا تصور جما رہا ھوں

کفن میں خود کو چھپا لیا ھے کہ تجھ کو پردے کی ھو نہ زحمت
نقاب اپنے لیے بنا کر حجاب تیرا اٹھا رہا ھوں

ادھر وہ گھر سے نکل پڑے ہیں ادھر میرا دم نکل رہا ہے
الہی کیسی ہے یہ قیامت وہ آ رہیں ہیں میں جا رہا ہوں

محبت انسان کی ھے فطرت کہاں ھے امکان ترک الفت
وہ اور بھی یاد آ رہے ہیں میں ان کو جتنا بھلا رھا ھوں

زبان پہ لبیک ہر نفس میں جبیں پہ سجدہ ہے ہر قرم پہ
یوں جا رہا بت کدے کو ناطق کہ جیسے کعبے کو جا رہا ہوں

بجھی ہوئی شمع کا دھواں ھوں اور اپنے مرکز کو جا رہا ھوں
کہ دل کی حسرت تو مٹ چکی ھے اب اپنی ہستی مٹا رہا ھوں

Death Poems

Mīr Dard

Translation:

My friends, we have seen enough of this play
We are going home, you can stay

 

Original:

دوستو، دیکها تماشا یاں کا بس
تُم رہو خوش ہم تو اپنے گھر چلے

 

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khwaja_Mir_Dard)

 

Kozan Ichikyo

Translation:

Empty-handed I entered this world
Barefoot I leave it
My coming and my going
two simple happenings
that got entangled

 

Original:

来時は空手、去時は赤脚。一去一来、単重交折

Raiji wa karate kyoji wa sekkyaku ikkyoichirai tanjuu sekkou

 

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_poem)

 

Mīrzā ‘abd al-Qādir Bīdil

Translation:

A mere waking between two slumbers, we are
The dust of dreams between mirages we are
From the crash of two waves, a bubble emerges
That is, a talisman written on water we are

 

Original:

بیدارئ میان دو خواب است هستیم
گرد تخیل دو سراب است هستیم
از لطمهٔ دو موج حبابی دمیده است
یعنی طلسم نقش بر آبست هستیم

 

 

Ibn al-Ḥaddād

Translation:

People are like bubbles
Time, depths beyond sounding
One world floats in foam
One world’s light is drowning

 

Original:

الناس مثل حباب         والدهر لجّة ماء
فعالَمٌ  في طفُوًّ       وعالَمٌ  في آنطفاء

 

(see https://mobile.twitter.com/ClassyArabic/status/1481605037646561284 for an alternate translation)

 

 

Mīr Taqī Mīr

 

My life is like a bubble
This world is like a mirage

 

Original:

ہستی اپنی حباب کی سی ہے
یہ نمائش سراب کی سی ہے
Hasti apni habab ki si hai
Yeh numaish ik saraab ki si hai

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins: Spring and Fall

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

 

(From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44400/spring-and-fall)

 

Hafez

 

Translation:

Where’s the good news of union that from this life I rise?
I am a holy bird, from this world’s net I arise
And I swear by your love, that if you call me your slave
that up from the world’s sovereignty and rank I will arise
O Lord, from the cloud of your guidance, let rain fall
Before the time when, from the midst, dust-like I will arise
Sit beside my grave with a musician and with wine
So that with your scent dancing from the tomb I will arise
Rise and show your stature, O idol of sweet moves
So that from this life and world, dancing I arise
Although I’m old, hold me tight in your arms for one night
So that at morning light, young, from your embrace I’ll arise
On the day of my death, take a break to visit me
So that Hafez, from this life and this world, will arise

 

Original:

مژده وصل تو کو کز سر جان برخیزم
طایر قدسم و از دام جهان برخیزم
به ولای تو که گر بنده خویشم خوانی
از سر خواجگی کون و مکان برخیزم
یا رب از ابر هدایت برسان بارانی
پیشتر زان که چو گردی ز میان برخیزم
بر سر تربت من با می و مطرب بنشین
تا به بویت ز لحد رقص کنان برخیزم
خیز و بالا بنما ای بت شیرین حرکات
کز سر جان و جهان دست فشان برخیزم
گر چه پیرم تو شبی تنگ در آغوشم کش
تا سحرگه ز کنار تو جوان برخیزم
روز مرگم نفسی مهلت دیدار بده
تا چو حافظ ز سر جان و جهان برخیزم

 

Moriya Sen’an

Translation:

Bury me when I die
beneath a wine barrel
in a tavern.
With luck,
the cask will leak.

 

Original:

我死なば
酒屋の瓶の下にいけよ
もしや雫の
もりやせんなん
Ware shinaba
sakaya no kame no
shita ni ikeyo
moshi ya shizuku no
mori ya sen nan

 

(note the pun on the poet’s name “Moriya Sen’an” and the last line:
“with luck the cask will leak”—”mori ya sen nan”)

 

 

Hafez

 

Translation:

One whose heart has been revived by love can never die
Our everlastingness is engraved in the cosmic scroll

 

Original:

هرگز نمیرد آن که دلش زنده شد به عشق                ثبت است بر جریده عالم دوام ما

 

 

Translation:

When I am dead, open my grave and see
The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet:
In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee;
Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet!

 

Original:

بگشای تربتم را بعد از وفات و بنگر

کز آتش درونم دود از کفن برآید

 

Translation: Gertrude Bell

 

Me

Lips scalded by love’s tongues of flame
Can never taste death’s bitter pain

 

 

Macedonio Fernández-Creíyo Yo

Translation:

Love’s reach does not to everything extend, for
it cannot shake or break the stab of Death.
Yet little can Death take
if in a loving heart the fear of it subsides.
Nor can Death much take at all, for it cannot
drive its fear into the heart where Love resides.
That if Death rule over Life, Love over Death.

 

Original:

No a todo alcanza Amor, pues que no puede
romper el gajo con que Muerte toca.
Mas poco Muerte logra
si en corazón de Amor su miedo muere.
Mas poco Muerte logra, pues no puede
entrar su miedo en pecho donde Amor.
Que Muerte rige a Vida; Amor a Muerte.

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cre%C3%ADa_yo)

Rumi

Translation:

When my bier moveth on the day of death
Think not my heart is in this world.
Do not weep for me and cry “woe, woe!”
Thou wilt fall in the devil’s snare: that is woe
When thou seest my hearse, cry not, “gone, gone!”
Union and meeting are mine in that hour
If thou commit me to the grave, say not “Farewell, farewell”
For the grave is a curtain hiding the communion of paradise
After beholding descent, consider resurrection
Why should setting be injurious to the sun and moon?
To thee it seems a setting, but ’tis a rising’
Tho’ the vault seems a prison, ’tis the release of a soul
What seed went down into the earth but it grew?
Why this doubt of thine as regards the seed of man?
What bucket was lowered but it came out brimful?
Why should the Joseph of the Spirit complain of the well?
Shut thy mouth on this side, and open it beyond
For in placeless air will by thy triumphal song.

(From R.A. Nicholson, Selected Poems form the Divani Shamsi Tabriz, p. 94-96)

 

Original:

به روز مرگ چو تابوت من روان باشد
گمان مبر که مرا درد این جهان باشد
برای من مگری و مگو دریغ دریغ
به دوغ دیو درافتی دریغ آن باشد
جنازه‌ام چو ببینی مگو فراق فراق
مرا وصال و ملاقات آن زمان باشد
مرا به گور سپاری مگو وداع وداع
که گور پرده جمعیت جنان باشد
فروشدن چو بدیدی برآمدن بنگر
غروب شمس و قمر را چرا زبان باشد
تو را غروب نماید ولی شروق بود
لحد چو حبس نماید خلاص جان باشد
کدام دانه فرورفت در زمین که نرست
چرا به دانه انسانت این گمان باشد
کدام دلو فرورفت و پر برون نامد
ز چاه یوسف جان را چرا فغان باشد
دهان چو بستی از این سوی آن طرف بگشا
که های هوی تو در جو لامکان باشد

 

Clare Harner

Do not stand
By my grave, and weep.
I am not there,
I do not sleep—
I am the thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints in snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle, autumn rain.
As you awake with morning’s hush,
I am the swift, up-flinging rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight,
I am the day transcending night.
Do not stand
By my grave, and cry—
I am not there,
I did not die.

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_Not_Stand_at_My_Grave_and_Weep)

 

al-Ghazali

Translation:

Say unto brethren when they see me dead,
And weep for me, lamenting me in sadness:
“Think ye I am this corpse ye are to bury?
I swear by God, this dead one is not I.
I in the Spirit am, and this my body
My dwelling was, my garment for a time.
I am a treasure: hidden I was beneath
This talisman of dust, wherein I suffered.
I am a pearl; a shell imprisoned me,
But leaving it, all trials I have left.
I am a bird, and this was once my cage;
But I have flown, leaving it as a token.
I praise God who hath set me free,
and made For me a dwelling in the heavenly heights.
Ere now I was a dead man in your midst,
But I have come to life, and doffed my shroud.”

(Translation by Martin Lings)

 

Original:

قل لإخوان رأوني ميتا            فبكوني ورثوني حزنا
أتظنون بأني ميتكم           ليس هذا الميت والله أنا
أنا في الصور وهذا جسدي       كان لباسي وقميصي زمنا
أنا در قد حواني صدف         طرت عنه وبقى مرتهنا
أنا عصفور وهذا قفصي       كان سجني فتركت السجنا
أشكر الله الذي خلصني        وبنا لي في المعالي وطنا
كنت قبل اليوم ميتا بينكم            فحييت وخلعت الكفنا

 

 

Zheng Ting

Translation:

Illusion appears, illusion ceases
The biggest illusion among all is our body
Once a pacified heart finds its place
There’s no such body to look for

 

Original:

幻生還幻滅
大幻莫過身
安心自有處
求人無有人

 

John Donne-“Death, Be Not Proud”

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Although it is night…

Lovely poem of San Juan de la Cruz, set to music by Enrique Morente

 

Translation:

Song of the Soul that /delights in knowing God through Faith

How well I know the spring, that flows and runs
Although it is in the night

 

That eternal spring is hidden
How well I know where it has its refuge
Although it is in the night

 

In the darkened night of this life,
How well I know, by faith, the cold spring
Although it is in the night

 

I do not know its beginning, for it has none
But I know that all beginnings come from it
Although it is in the night,

 

I know that there cannot be a thing so beautiful,
And that the heavens and earth drink from it
Although it is in the night

 

I know well that it is not found in the soil
And that no one can wade through it
Although it is in the night

 

Its clarity is never darkened
And all light is coming from it,
Although it is in the night

 

And its streams are so abundant,
That it waters the heavens, hells, and the people
Although it is in the night

 

The current that is born from this spring,
I know well that it is so capable and so powerful
Although it is in the night

 

The current that proceeds from these two
I know that neither of them precede it
Although it is in the night

 

Here all the creatures are being called
And from this water, they are sated, though in the dark
Because it is in the night

 

In this living fountain that I yearn for,
In it, I see the bread of life
Although it is in the night

 

In this eternal fountain it is hidden
In this bread that gives me life
Although it is in the night

Original:

Cantar del alma que se huelga de conoscer a Dios por fe.

Que bien sé yo la fonte que mana y corre
aunque es de noche.

Aquella eterna fonte está ascondida,
que bien sé yo do tiene su manida,
aunque es de noche.

Su origen no lo sé, pues no le tiene,
mas sé que todo origen della viene,
aunque es de noche.

Sé que no puede ser cosa tan bella,
y que cielos y tierra beban della,
aunque es de noche.

Bien sé que suelo en ella no se halla,
y que ninguno puede vadealla,
aunque es de noche.

Su claridad nunca es escurecida,
y sé que toda luz della es venida,
aunque es de noche.

Sé ser tan caudalosas sus corrientes,
que infiernos, cielos riegan, y las gentes,
aunque es de noche.

El corriente que nace desta fuente
bien sé que es tan capaz y tan potente,
aunque es de noche.

El corriente que de estas dos procede

sé que ninguna de ellas le precede,

aunque es de noche.

Aquesta Eterna fuente está escondida
en este vivo pan por darnos vida,
aunque es de noche.

Aquí se está llamando a las criaturas
porque desta agua se harten aunque a oscuras,
porque es de noche.

Aquesta viva fuente que deseo
en este pan de vida yo la veo,
aunque es de noche.

 

In Jerusalem…

Mahmoud Darwish

In Jerusalem

TRANSLATED BY FADY JOUDAH
In Jerusalem, and I mean within the ancient walls,
I walk from one epoch to another without a memory
to guide me. The prophets over there are sharing
the history of the holy … ascending to heaven
and returning less discouraged and melancholy, because love
and peace are holy and are coming to town.
I was walking down a slope and thinking to myself: How
do the narrators disagree over what light said about a stone?
Is it from a dimly lit stone that wars flare up?
I walk in my sleep. I stare in my sleep. I see
no one behind me. I see no one ahead of me.
All this light is for me. I walk. I become lighter. I fly
then I become another. Transfigured. Words
sprout like grass from Isaiah’s messenger
mouth: “If you don’t believe you won’t be safe.”
I walk as if I were another. And my wound a white
biblical rose. And my hands like two doves
on the cross hovering and carrying the earth.
I don’t walk, I fly, I become another,
transfigured. No place and no time. So who am I?
I am no I in ascension’s presence. But I
think to myself: Alone, the prophet Muhammad
spoke classical Arabic. “And then what?”
Then what? A woman soldier shouted:
Is that you again? Didn’t I kill you?
I said: You killed me … and I forgot, like you, to die.
From : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52551/in-jerusalem
Original:

في القدس، أَعني داخلَ السُّور القديمِ،
أَسيرُ من زَمَنٍ إلى زَمَنٍ بلا ذكرى
تُصوِّبُني. فإن الأنبياءَ هناك يقتسمون
تاريخَ المقدَّس… يصعدون إلى السماء
ويرجعون أَقلَّ إحباطاً وحزناً، فالمحبَّةُ
والسلام مُقَدَّسَان وقادمان إلى المدينة.
كنت أَمشي فوق مُنْحَدَرٍ وأَهْجِسُ: كيف
يختلف الرُّواةُ على كلام الضوء في حَجَرٍ؟
أَمِنْ حَجَر ٍشحيحِ الضوء تندلعُ الحروبُ؟
أسير في نومي. أَحملق في منامي. لا
أرى أحداً ورائي. لا أرى أَحداً أمامي.
كُلُّ هذا الضوءِ لي. أَمشي. أخفُّ. أطيرُ
ثم أَصير غيري في التَّجَلِّي. تنبُتُ
الكلماتُ كالأعشاب من فم أشعيا
النِّبَويِّ: ((إنْ لم تُؤْمنوا لن تَأْمَنُوا)).
أَمشي كأنِّي واحدٌ غيْري. وجُرْحي وَرْدَةٌ
بيضاءُ إنجيليَّةٌ. ويدايَ مثل حمامتَيْنِ
على الصليب تُحلِّقان وتحملان الأرضَ.
لا أمشي، أَطيرُ، أَصيرُ غَيْري في
التجلِّي. لا مكانَ و لا زمان . فمن أَنا؟
أَنا لا أنا في حضرة المعراج. لكنِّي
أُفكِّرُ: وَحْدَهُ، كان النبيّ محمِّدٌ
يتكلِّمُ العربيَّةَ الفُصْحَى. ((وماذا بعد؟))
ماذا بعد؟ صاحت فجأة جنديّةٌ:
هُوَ أَنتَ ثانيةً؟ أَلم أَقتلْكَ؟
قلت: قَتَلْتني… ونسيتُ، مثلك، أن أَموت.

 

Tamim Al-Barghouti

In Jerusalem:
(Translated by Houssem Ben Lazreg in Transference 5(1) Fall 2017:61-65)

We passed by the home of the beloved
but the enemy’s laws and wall turned us away
I said to myself, “Maybe, that is a blessing”
What will you see in Jerusalem when you visit?
You will see all that you can’t stand
when her houses become visible from all sides When meeting her beloved, not every soul rejoices Nor does every absence harm
If they are delighted when meeting before departure such joy cannot remain kindled
For once your eyes have seen Jerusalem
You will only see her, wherever you look.
In Jerusalem, a greengrocer from Georgia,
annoyed with his wife,
thinks of going on vacation or painting his house
In Jerusalem, a middle-aged man from Upper Manhattan holds a Torah and teaches Polish boys its commandments In Jerusalem, an Ethiopian policeman
seals off a street in the marketplace,
A machine gun hangs from the shoulder of a teenage settler, A person wearing a yarmulke
bows at the Wailing Wall,
Blonde European tourists who don’t see Jerusalem at all but spend most of the time taking pictures of each other

beside a Palestinian woman selling radishes in public squares all day long

In Jerusalem, there are walls of basil
In Jerusalem, there are barricades of concrete
In Jerusalem, the soldiers marched with heavy boots over the clouds
In Jerusalem, we were forced to pray on the asphalt

In Jerusalem, everyone is there but you.
And History turned to me and smiled:
“Have you really thought that you would overlook them
and see others?
Here they are in front of you;
They are the text while you are the footnote and margin
O son, have you thought that your visit would remove, from the city’s face, the thick veil of her present, so that you may see what you desire?
In Jerusalem, everyone is there but you.
Jerusalem is the wandering deer
As fate sentenced it to departure
You still chase her since she bid you farewell
O son, calm down for a while, I see that you began to faint” In Jerusalem, everyone is there but you.
O historian, wait,
The city has two timelines:
One foreign, serene, with steady steps as if it is walking asleep

The other wears a mask and walks secretly with caution
And Jerusalem knows herself,
Ask the people there, everyone will guide you
Everything in the city
has a tongue which, when you ask, will reply
In Jerusalem, the crescent becomes more curved like an embryo

Bending towards other crescents over the domes
And over the years, their relation developed to be like a father to a son

In Jerusalem, the stones of the buildings are quoted from the Bible and the Quran
In Jerusalem, beauty is octagonal and blue

On top of it, lies a golden dome
that looks like, I think, a convex mirror

Reflecting the face of the heavens
Playing with it, drawing it near
Distributing the sky, like aid in a siege for those in need

If people appeal to God after Friday sermon
In Jerusalem, the sky is shared by everyone,

We protect it and it protects us
And we carry it on our shoulders
If time oppresses its moons.
In Jerusalem, the marble columns are dark
as though their veins were smoke
Windows, high in mosques and churches,
took dawn by hand, showing him how to paint with colors

He says, “like this”
but the windows reply, “no, like this”
And after long debate, they compromise
as the dawn is free when outside the threshold

But if he wants to enter through God’s Windows

He has to abide by their rules
In Jerusalem there’s a school built by a Mameluke who came from beyond the river,
was sold at a slave market in Isfahan
to a merchant from Baghdad, who traveled to Aleppo,
and gave the Mameluke to Aleppo’s Prince
Fearing the blueness in the Mameluke’s left eye,
the Prince gave him to a caravan heading for Egypt
where soon, he became the vanquisher of the Moguls and the Sovereign Sultan
In Jerusalem, the scent of Babylon and India
are at an herbalist’s shop in Khan El Zeit
I swear, it is a scent with a language that you will understand if you listen;

It says to me
when tear gas canisters are being fired
“Don’t worry”
And as the gas wanes, that scent fills the air again and says:
“You see?”
In Jerusalem, contradictions get along, and wonders cannot be denied

People check them out like pieces of old and new fabric
and miracles there are tangible.
In Jerusalem, if you shake hands with an old man or touch a building you will find, engraved on your palm, my friend, a poem or two
In Jerusalem, despite successive calamities
a breeze of innocence and childhood fills the air
And you can see doves fly high
announcing, between two shots, the birth of an independent state

In Jerusalem, the rows of graves
are the lines of the city’s history while the book is the soil
Everyone has passed through
For Jerusalem welcomes all visitors, whether disbelievers or believers

Walk through, and read the headstones in all languages
You will find the Africans, the Europeans, the Kipchaks, the Slavs, the Bosniaks, the Tatars, the Turks, the believers, the disbelievers,
the poor and the rich, the hermits, and the miscreants
Here lie all sorts of people that ever walked the earth
They were the footnotes of the book, now they are the main text before us.
Is it just for us that the city has become too small?
Oh chronicler! What made you exclude us?
Re-write and think again, for I see that you made a grave mistake
The eyes close, then look again
The driver of the yellow car heads north, away from the city’s gates. And now Jerusalem is behind us
I could glance at her through the right wing-mirror
Her colors have changed before the sunset
Then, a smile sneaked onto my face
and said to me when I looked close and careful,
“Oh you who weep behind the wall, are you a fool?
Have you lost your mind?
Do not weep because you were excluded from the main text
O Arab, do not weep, and know for sure
that whomever is in Jerusalem
It is only you I see.”

Original:
مَرَرْنا عَلــى دارِ الحبيب فرَدَّنا
عَنِ الدارِ قانونُ الأعادي وسورُهافَقُلْتُ لنفســي رُبما هِيَ نِعْمَةٌ
فماذا تَرَى في القدسِ حينَ تَزُورُها
تَرَى كُلَّ ما لا تستطيعُ احتِمالَهُ
إذا ما بَدَتْ من جَانِبِ الدَّرْبِ دورُهاوما كلُّ نفسٍ حينَ تَلْقَى حَبِيبَها تُـسَرُّ
ولا كُلُّ الغـِيابِ يُضِيرُهافإن سـرَّها قبلَ الفِراقِ لِقاؤُه
فليسَ بمأمـونٍ عليها سـرُورُهامتى تُبْصِرِ القدسَ العتيقةَ مَرَّةً
فسوفَ تراها العَيْنُ حَيْثُ تُدِيرُها***
في القدسِ، بائعُ خضرةٍ من جورجيا برمٌ بزوجته
يفكرُ في قضاءِ إجازةٍ أو في في طلاءِ البيتْفي القدس، توراةٌ وكهلٌ جاءَ من مَنْهاتِنَ العُليا يُفَقَّهُ فتيةَ البُولُونِ في أحكامها
في القدسِ شرطيٌ من الأحباشِ يُغْلِقُ شَارِعاً في السوقِ..
رشَّاشٌ على مستوطنٍ لم يبلغِ العشرينَ،
قُبَّعة تُحَيِّي حائطَ المبكَىوسياحٌ من الإفرنجِ شُقْرٌ لا يَرَوْنَ القدسَ إطلاقاً
تَراهُم يأخذونَ لبعضهم صُوَرَاًمَعَ امْرَأَةٍ تبيعُ الفِجْلَ في الساحاتِ طُولَ اليَومْفي القدسِ دَبَّ الجندُ مُنْتَعِلِينَ فوقَ الغَيمْفي القدسِ صَلَّينا على الأَسْفَلْتْ
في القدسِ مَن في القدسِ إلا أنْتْ!***
وَتَلَفَّتَ التاريخُ لي مُتَبَسِّماً
أَظَنَنْتَ حقاً أنَّ عينَك سوفَ تخطئهم،! وتبصرُ غيرَهم
ها هُم أمامَكَ، مَتْنُ نصٍّ أنتَ حاشيةٌ عليهِ وَهَامشٌ

أَحَسبتَ أنَّ زيارةً سَتُزيحُ عن وجهِ المدينةِ، يا بُنَيَّ، حجابَ واقِعِها السميكَ
لكي ترى فيها هَواكْ
في القدسِ كلًّ فتى سواكْ

وهي الغزالةُ في المدى، حَكَمَ الزمانُ بِبَيْنِها
ما زِلتَ تَرْكُضُ إثْرَهَا مُذْ وَدَّعَتْكَ بِعَيْنِها
رفقاً بِنَفسكَ ساعةً إني أراكَ وَهَنْتْ
في القدسِ من في القدسِ إلا أَنْتْ

***
يا كاتبَ التاريخِ مَهْلاً، فالمدينةُ دهرُها دهرانِ

دهر أجنبي مطمئنٌ لا يغيرُ خطوَه وكأنَّه يمشي خلالَ النومْ
وهناك دهرٌ، كامنٌ متلثمٌ يمشي بلا صوتٍ حِذار القومْ

والقدس تعرف نفسها..
إسأل هناك الخلق يدْلُلْكَ الجميعُ
فكلُّ شيء في المدينة
ذو لسانٍ، حين تَسأَلُهُ، يُبينْ

في القدس يزدادُ الهلالُ تقوساً مثلَ الجنينْ
حَدْباً على أشباهه فوقَ القبابِ
تَطَوَّرَتْ ما بَيْنَهم عَبْرَ السنينَ عِلاقةُ الأَبِ بالبَنينْ

في القدس أبنيةٌ حجارتُها اقتباساتٌ من الإنجيلِ والقرآنْ

في القدس تعريفُ الجمالِ مُثَمَّنُ الأضلاعِ أزرقُ،
فَوْقَهُ، يا دامَ عِزُّكَ، قُبَّةٌ ذَهَبِيَّةٌ،
تبدو برأيي، مثل مرآة محدبة ترى وجه السماء مُلَخَّصَاً فيها
تُدَلِّلُها وَتُدْنِيها

تُوَزِّعُها كَأَكْياسِ المعُونَةِ في الحِصَارِ لمستَحِقِّيها
إذا ما أُمَّةٌ من بعدِ خُطْبَةِ جُمْعَةٍ مَدَّتْ بِأَيْدِيها

***

وفي القدس السماءُ تَفَرَّقَتْ في الناسِ تحمينا ونحميها
ونحملُها على أكتافِنا حَمْلاً إذا جَارَت على أقمارِها الأزمانْ

في القدس أعمدةُ الرُّخامِ الداكناتُ
كأنَّ تعريقَ الرُّخامِ دخانْ

ونوافذٌ تعلو المساجدَ والكنائس،
أَمْسَكَتْ بيدِ الصُّباحِ تُرِيهِ كيفَ النقشُ بالألوانِ،

وَهْوَ يقول: ?لا بل هكذا?،
فَتَقُولُ: ?لا بل هكذا?،

حتى إذا طال الخلافُ تقاسما
فالصبحُ حُرٌّ خارجَ العَتَبَاتِ لَكِنْ
إن أرادَ دخولَها
فَعَلَيهِ أن يَرْضَى بحُكْمِ نوافذِ الرَّحمنْ

***
في القدس مدرسةٌ لمملوكٍ أتى مما وراءَ النهرِ،
باعوهُ بسوقِ نِخَاسَةٍ في أصفهانَلتاجرٍ من أهلِ بغدادٍ
أتى حلباً فخافَ أميرُها من زُرْقَةٍ في عَيْنِهِ اليُسْرَى،
فأعطاهُ لقافلةٍ أتت مصراً
فأصبحَ بعدَ بضعِ سنينَ غَلاَّبَ المغولِ وصاحبَ السلطانْ

في القدس رائحةٌ تُلَخِّصُ بابلاً والهندَ في دكانِ عطارٍ بخانِ الزيتْ
واللهِ رائحةٌ لها لغةٌ سَتَفْهَمُها إذا أصْغَيتْ

وتقولُ لي إذ يطلقونَ قنابل الغاز المسيِّلِ للدموعِ عَلَيَّ: ?لا تحفل بهم?
وتفوحُ من بعدِ انحسارِ الغازِ، وَهْيَ تقولُ لي: ?أرأيتْ!?

في القدس يرتاحُ التناقضُ، والعجائبُ ليسَ ينكرُها العِبادُ،
كأنها قِطَعُ القِمَاشِ يُقَلِّبُونَ قَدِيمها وَجَدِيدَها،
والمعجزاتُ هناكَ تُلْمَسُ باليَدَيْنْ

في القدس لو صافحتَ شيخاً أو لمستَ بنايةً
لَوَجَدْتَ منقوشاً على كَفَّيكَ نَصَّ قصيدَةٍ
يا بْنَ الكرامِ أو اثْنَتَيْنْ

في القدس، رغمَ تتابعِ النَّكَباتِ، ريحُ براءةٍ في الجوِّ، ريحُ طُفُولَةٍ،
فَتَرى الحمامَ يَطِيرُ يُعلِنُ دَوْلَةً في الريحِ بَيْنَ رَصَاصَتَيْنْ

***
في القدس تنتظمُ القبورُ، كأنهنَّ سطورُ تاريخِ المدينةِ والكتابُ ترابُها
الكل مرُّوا من هُنا

فالقدسُ تقبلُ من أتاها كافراً أو مؤمنا
أُمرر بها واقرأ شواهدَها بكلِّ لغاتِ أهلِ الأرضِ

فيها الزنجُ والإفرنجُ والقِفْجَاقُ والصِّقْلابُ والبُشْنَاقُ
والتتارُ والأتراكُ، أهلُ الله والهلاك، والفقراءُ والملاك، والفجارُ والنساكُ،
فيها كلُّ من وطئَ الثَّرى

كانوا الهوامشَ في الكتابِ فأصبحوا نَصَّ المدينةِ قبلنا

يا كاتب التاريخِ ماذا جَدَّ فاستثنيتنا
يا شيخُ فلتُعِدِ الكتابةَ والقراءةَ مرةً أخرى، أراك لَحَنْتْ

العين تُغْمِضُ، ثمَّ تنظُرُ، سائقُ السيارةِ الصفراءِ، مالَ بنا شَمالاً نائياً عن بابها
والقدس صارت خلفنا

والعينُ تبصرُها بمرآةِ اليمينِ،
تَغَيَّرَتْ ألوانُها في الشمسِ، مِنْ قبلِ الغيابْ

إذ فاجَأَتْني بسمةٌ لم أدْرِ كيفَ تَسَلَّلَتْ للوَجْهِ
قالت لي وقد أَمْعَنْتُ ما أَمْعنْتْ

يا أيها الباكي وراءَ السورِ، أحمقُ أَنْتْ؟
أَجُنِنْتْ؟

لا تبكِ عينُكَ أيها المنسيُّ من متنِ الكتابْ
لا تبكِ عينُكَ أيها العَرَبِيُّ واعلمْ أنَّهُ

في القدسِ من في القدسِ لكنْ
لا أَرَى في القدسِ إلا أَنْت.

June Jordan

Apologies to All the People in Lebanon

Dedicated to the 600,000 Palestinian men, women, and children who lived in Lebanon from 1948-1983.

I didn’t know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway?
They said you shot the London Ambassador
and when that wasn’t true
they said so
what
They said you shelled their northern villages
and when U.N. forces reported that was not true
because your side of the cease-fire was holding
since more than a year before
they said so
what
They said they wanted simply to carve
a 25 mile buffer zone and then
they ravaged your
water supplies your electricity your
hospitals your schools your highways and byways all
the way north to Beirut because they said this
was their quest for peace
They blew up your homes and demolished the grocery
stores and blocked the Red Cross and took away doctors
to jail and they cluster-bombed girls and boys
whose bodies
swelled purple and black into twice the original size
and tore the buttocks from a four month old baby
and then
they said this was brilliant
military accomplishment and this was done
they said in the name of self-defense they said
that is the noblest concept
of mankind isn’t that obvious?
They said something about never again and then
they made close to one million human beings homeless
in less than three weeks and they killed or maimed
40,000 of your men and your women and your children
But I didn’t know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway?
They said they were victims. They said you were
Arabs.
They called      your apartments and gardens      guerrilla
strongholds.
They called      the screaming devastation
that they created       the rubble.
Then they told you to leave, didn’t they?
Didn’t you read the leaflets that they dropped
from their hotshot fighter jets?
They told you to go.
One hundred and thirty-five thousand
Palestinians in Beirut and why
didn’t you take the hint?
Go!
There was the Mediterranean: You
could walk into the water and stay
there.
What was the problem?
I didn’t know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway?
Yes, I did know it was the money I earned as a poet that
paid
for the bombs and the planes and the tanks
that they used to massacre your family
But I am not an evil person
The people of my country aren’t so bad
You can expect but so much
from those of us who have to pay taxes and watch
American TV
You see my point;
I’m sorry.
I really am sorry.
From : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48757/apologies-to-all-the-people-in-lebanon
Lisa Suhair Majaj
https://beladi.org/2021/05/21/conversation-a-poem-by-lisa-suhair-majaj/
Yehuda Ha-Levi:
My Heart Is In The East
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
My heart is in the east, and the rest of me at the edge of the west.
How can I taste the food I eat? How can it give me pleasure? 
How can I keep my promise now, or fulfill the vows I’ve made
While Zion remains in the Cross’s reign1, and I in Arab chains? 
With pleasure I would leave behind all the good things of Spain,
If only I could gaze on the dust of our ruined Holy Place.
Original:
לִבִּי בְמִזְרָח וְאָנֹכִי בְּסוֹף מַעֲרָב
אֵיךְ אֶטְעֲמָה אֵת אֲשֶׁר אֹכַל וְאֵיךְ יֶעֱרָב
אֵיכָה אֲשַׁלֵּם נְדָרַי וָאֱסָרַי, בְּעוֹד
צִיּוֹן בְּחֶבֶל אֱדוֹם וַאֲנִי בְּכֶבֶל עֲרָב
יֵקַל בְּעֵינַי עֲזֹב כָּל טוּב סְפָרַד, כְּמוֹ
יֵקַר בְּעֵינַי רְאוֹת עַפְרוֹת דְּבִיר נֶחֱרָב.
1-The Crusaders had taken Jerusalem (1099) at the time of the poem’s composition and forbidden Jews to live there.
http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.com/2014/08/yehuda-halevi-my-heart-is-in-east-from.html

The Troubadour of Love

 

Translation:
The troubadour of love has such a wonderful voice and song
      Every melody in his repertoire has a path to a place
May the world never be empty of the cry of lovers
      Because it has a sweet and joyful voice
Although our dreg-draining Pir has neither gold nor power,
     He has a sin-forgiving and fault-concealing God
My heart should respect this sugar-worshipping fly
     Since You became his desire, he has the splendor of the Homa
It is not far from justice, if he asks around,
     that king who has a beggar for a neighbor
I showed my bloody tears to the physicians, they said:
     “It’s love’s pain and the burning of the liver has the cure”
Learn tyranny from flirtatiousness, for in the religion of Love
      Every action has a reaction, and every deed, a repercussion
How pithy was the word of the idol of a young Christian wine-worshipper:
      “Enjoy the happiness on the face of a pure one”
O Great King!  Hafiz, a member of your court, recites the Fatiha
     And desires a prayer from your tongue

 

Original:
          مطرب عشق عجب ساز و نوایی دارد
 نقش هر نغمه که زد راه به جایی دارد
                    عالم از ناله عشاق مبادا خالی
که خوش آهنگ و فرح بخش صدايى دارد
     پیر دردی کش ما گر چه ندارد زر و زور
 خوش عطابخش و خطاپوش خدایی دارد
             محترم دار دلم کاین مگس قندپرست
 تا هواخواه تو شد فر همایی دارد
             از عدالت نبود دور گرش پرسد حال
 پادشاهی که به همسایه گدایی دارد
               اشک خونین بنمودم به طبیبان گفتند
 درد عشق است و جگرسوز دوایی دارد
         ستم از غمزه میاموز که در مذهب عشق
 هر عمل اجری و هر کرده جزایی دارد
           نغز گفت آن بت ترسابچه باده فروش
 شادی روی کسی خور که صفایی دارد
 خسروا حافظ درگاه نشین فاتحه خواند
 و از زبان تو تمنای دعایی دارد

 

Rumi-Looking for a true human

 

Translation:

Show your face, for the orchard and rose garden is what I long for
Open your lips, for heaps of sugar are what I long for
O Sun of beauty, come out of the cloud for a moment
For that shining, radiant face is what I long for
From your air, I heard the sound of the falcon-drum
I returned, for the sultan’s arm is what I long for
You said flirtatiously, “Stop bothering me, get lost!”
That “stop bothering me” of yours is what I long for
Your refusal, “Be gone, the king is not at home”
and the aloofness and sternness of the doorkeeper are what I long for
In the hand of everyone that is, there are scraps of goodness
It is the mine of elegance and that quarry that I long for
The bread and water of heaven’s wheel are like a treacherous torrent
I am a fish, a whale, [the sea of] Oman is what I long for
Like Jacob, I cry alas, alack!
Seeing the fair face of Joseph of Canaan is what I long for
By God, without you, the city is a prison for me
Wandering out in the mountains and desert is what I long for
My heart is tired of these weak-spirited companions
The Lion of God and Rostam of Dastan are whom I long for
My soul is sick of Pharaoh and his oppression
the light of the face of Moses the son of Imran is what I long for
I’m tired of these crybabies always complaining
that ranting and raving of drunks is what I long for
I am more eloquent than the nightingale, but because of common envy
there’s a seal on my tongue and mourning is what I long for
Last night the shaykh went around the city, lamp in hand, crying
“I am tired of devils and beasts, a true human is what I long for.”
They said, “He is not be found, we too have searched”
He said “He who is not found is whom I long for.”
Though I am broke, I will not accept a small carnelian
For that rare, precious carnelian is what I long for
Hidden from every eye, while all things seen are from Him
that hidden One manifest in works is whom I long for
My state has gone beyond every desire and longing
From being and place to the foundations is what I long for
My ear heard the tale of belief and became drunk
What of sight’s portion? The image/face of belief is what I long for
In one hand, the winecup, in the other, the Beloved’s curl
to dance so much in the middle of the square is what I long for
That guitar says, “I am dying of expectation
the hand and pick of ‘Uthman are what I long for”
I am Love’s guitar and Love is the guitarist
these graces of the picking of the All-Merciful are what I long for
The rest of this ghazal, o clever singer
continue it on in this style, for this style is what I long for
Show your face, Shams (Sun), the pride of Tabriz, from the East
I am the hoopoe, the presence of Solomon is what I long for

Modified from A.J. Arberry’s translation in his 1968 Mystical Poems of Rumi, Number 51,

 

 

Original:

بنمای رخ که باغ و گلستانم آرزوست
بگشای لب که قند فراوانم آرزوست
ای آفتاب حسن برون آ دمی ز ابر
کآن چهره مشعشع تابانم آرزوست
بشنیدم از هوای تو آواز طبل باز
باز آمدم که ساعد سلطانم آرزوست
گفتی ز ناز بیش مرنجان مرا برو
آن گفتنت که بیش مرنجانم آرزوست
وآن دفع گفتنت که برو شه به خانه نیست
وآن ناز و باز و تندی دربانم آرزوست
در دست هر که هست ز خوبی قراضه‌هاست
آن معدن ملاحت و آن کانم آرزوست
این نان و آب چرخ چو سیل است بی وفا
من ماهیم نهنگم عمانم آرزوست
یعقوب وار وا اسفاها همی‌زنم
دیدار خوب یوسف کنعانم آرزوست
والله که شهر بی تو مرا حبس می‌شود
آوارگی و کوه و بیابانم آرزوست
زین همرهان سست عناصر دلم گرفت
شیر خدا و رستم دستانم آرزوست
جانم ملول گشت ز فرعون و ظلم او
آن نور روی موسی عمرانم آرزوست
زین خلق پرشکایت گریان شدم ملول
آن های هوی و نعره مستانم آرزوست
گویاترم ز بلبل اما ز رشک عام
مهر است بر دهانم و افغانم آرزوست
دی شیخ با چراغ همی‌گشت گرد شهر
کز دیو و دد ملولم و انسانم آرزوست
گفتند یافت می‌نشود جسته‌ایم ما
گفت آنک یافت می‌نشود آنم آرزوست
هر چند مفلسم نپذیرم عقیق خرد
کان عقیق نادر ارزانم آرزوست
پنهان ز دیده‌ها و همه دیده‌ها از اوست
آن آشکار صنعت پنهانم آرزوست
خود کار من گذشت ز هر آرزو و آز
از کان و از مکان پی ارکانم آرزوست
گوشم شنید قصه ایمان و مست شد
کو قسم چشم؟ صورت ایمانم آرزوست
یک دست جام باده و یک دست جعد یار
رقصی چنین میانه میدانم آرزوست
می‌گوید آن رباب که مردم ز انتظار
دست و کنار و زخمه عثمانم آرزوست
من هم رباب عشقم و عشقم ربابی است
وآن لطف‌های زخمه رحمانم آرزوست
باقی این غزل را ای مطرب ظریف
زین سان همی‌شمار که زین سانم آرزوست
بنمای شمس مفخر تبریز رو ز شرق
من هدهدم حضور سلیمانم آرزوست

Between you and me…

 

al-Ḥallāj

Translation:

Is it you or me? In this there are two gods

yet You forbid, You forbid affirming duality

Your selfhood is in my negation eternally

My all clothes the all in two respects

So where is your self [hidden] from me when I see?

For my self became clear where there’s no where for me

So where is your face, the goal of my gaze?

in the the heart’s interior or the glance of the eye

Between me and you, my “I-ness” torments me

So lift, with your “I-ness,” my “I-ness” from in between

 

Original:

أَأَنتَ أَم أَنا هَذا في إِلَهَينِ
حاشاكَ حاشاكَ مِن إِثباتِ اِثنَينِ
هُوِيَّةٌ لَكَ في لائِيَّتي أَبَداً
كُلّي عَلى الكُلِّ تَلبيسُ بِوَجهَينِ
فَأَينَ ذاتُكَ عَنّي حَيثُ كُنتُ أرى
فَقَد تَبَيَّنَ ذاتي حَيثُ لا أَيني
فَأَينَ وَجهُكَ مَقصوداً بِناظِرَتي
في باطِنِ القَلبِ أَم في ناظِرِ العَينِ
بَيني وَبَينَكَ إِنِيٌّ يُنازِعُني
فَاِرفَع بِلُطفِكَ إِنِيِّ مِنَ البَينِ

Hafez

Translation:

Come! For last night, the tavern’s unseen voice told me

to be pleased with the divine decree and not to flee from destiny

Between Lover and Beloved there is no barrier

You yourself are your own veil, Hafez. Remove yourself!

 

Original:

بیا که هاتف میخانه دوش با من گفت
که در مقام رضا باش و از قضا مگریز
میان عاشق و معشوق هیچ حائل نیست
تو خود حجاب خودی حافظ از میان برخیز

Translation:

When the bubble fills its head with the air of arrogance
It blows its head off as it rises to the top of the wine
You are the obstacle on the road, Hafez, get out of the way!
Blessed is he who walks on this road without obstacle.

 

Original:

حباب را چو فتد باد نخوت اندر سر
کلاه داریش اندر سر شراب رود
حجاب راه تویی حافظ از میان برخیز
خوشا کسی که در این راه بی‌حجاب رود

 

Mawlid 2020, Muḥammad Majdhūb’s Praise

One of my favorite poems in praise of the Prophet is this gem from the Sudanese Sufi Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Qamar al-dīn al-Majdhūb (d. 1831) a friend and student of Aḥmad ibn Idrīs (d. 1837).

 

Translation:

Upon you be God’s blessing, and then His peace too
O Messenger of God, I am so enamored with you
I shed tears from witnessing the sorrow that they
Brought up from a heart in longing, enthralled
But there is not, for this infatuation an explanation
Without seeing its beloved and greeting him
The beloved said to me, don’t fear after this
Any veil or exile, for my covenant is fulfilled
Whenever you want closeness with me, then call on me
O Messenger of God, I am enamored with you
I will answer you from a distance while I am seated with
Whomever is lovingly busy with my remembrance, describing me
I swear that a heart that loves you
For it the torment of the fire is absolutely forbidden
So what of one who waits on you at each hour?
Such a one is certainly in paradise delighting
Greetings of peace be upon you and this greeting grants me
The perfection of witnessing Beauty, inspiring
My tongue with salutations worthy of your rank
Repeating them, saluting you, murmuring
Greetings of peace be upon the head of the Messenger, Muhammad
A majestic head with Majesty turbaned
Greetings of peace be upon the face of Muhammad
O what a wondrous face in brightness veiled!
Greetings of peace be upon the eyes of the prophet Muhammad
Eyes of the deepest black with black lined
Greetings of peace be upon the nose of the prophet Muhammad
A nose straight and bright and aquiline
Greetings of peace be upon the cheeks of the Beloved, Muhammad
Cheeks luminous, soft, and fragrant
Greetings of peace be upon the mouth of the Prophet Muhammad
A mouth in which precious pearls are arrayed
For other than God’s speech and remembrance and the call
to the presence of his Master, he would not speak
Greetings of peace be upon the neck of the prophet Muhammad
A neck flashing bright and shapely
Greetings of peace be upon the chest of the beloved Muhammad
A chest wide, with knowledge brimming
Greetings of peace be upon the heart of the beloved Muhammad
A heart in the Light of God perpetually abiding
It witnesses the Lord of the Throne at every instant
For if the eyes rest, it does not, so know this!
Greetings of peace be upon the palm of the prophet Muhammad
A wide-open palm, how generous and ennobling
By which how many a poor man became after his poverty
Rich, and how many a tyrant by it was harmed
Greetings of peace be upon the feet of the Beloved, Muhammad
that trampled the veils of glory that were offered
By which he stood in the Mihrab for God devoutly
In intimate converse with the Lord of the Throne, while people slept
His persistence continued every night
Until they colored and swelled
Greetings of peace be upon the essence/body (dhāt) of the prophet Muhammad
For in its loveliness, all Beauty is completed
Greetings of peace be upon all of the prophet Muhammad
A magnificent prophet, by the Majestic, magnified
A Prophet [who is] from His Exalted Master, a solicitude
Which appears as creation in the gathering is dumbfounded
Raising the banner of praise as a standard
While the prophets and messengers crowd beneath it
In him, each wayward one in the resurrection is seeking refuge
And each lover is triumphant and spoken to
By him, Majdhūb hopes to be delivered with his companions
Without trial, O intercessor, safe and sound.
Upon you be the blessings of God and then His peace too
Including all [his] family, and here we conclude.

Original:

عليك صلاة الله ثم سلامه       ألا يا رسول الله إنى مغرم

صَبَبتُ دُمُوعاً يَشهَدُ الحُزنُ أَنَّها     أَتَت مِن فُؤَادٍ بالغَرَامِ مُتَيَّمُ

وَلَيسَ لَهُ مِن ذَا التَّتَيُّمِ مُشرِحٌ        سِوَى أن يَرَى مَعشُوقَهُ فَيُسَلِّمُ

يَقُولُ لِى المَعشُوقُ لاَ تَخشَ بَعدَ ذَا   حِجاباً وَلاَ طَرداً فَعَهدِى مُتَمَّمُ

مَتَى ما أردَتَ القُربَ مِنّىِ فَنادِنِى     أَلاَ يا رَسُولَ اللهِ إِنِّىَ مُغرَمُ

أُجُيبُكَ مِن بُعدٍ وَإِنِّى جَلِيسُ مَن      بِحُبِّىَ مَشغولٌ بِذِكرى مُتَرجِمُ

حَلَفتُ يَمِيناً إِنَّ قَلباً يُحِبُّكُم         عَلَيهِ عَذابُ النَّارِ قَطعاً مُحرَّمُ

فَكَيفَ بمَن قَد شامَكُم كُلَّ ساعَةٍ    فَهذَا يَقِيناً في الجِنانِ يُنَعَّمُ

سَلاَمٌ عَلَيكُم وَالسَّلاَمُ يُنِيلُنِى       كَمالَ شُهُودِ لِلجَمالِ وَيُلهِمُ

لِسانِى تَحِيَّاتٍ تَلِيقُ بِقَدرِكُم       أُكُرِّرُها في حَيَّكُم وَأُهمهِم

سَلاَمٌ علَى رَأسِ الرَّسُولِ مُحَمَّدٍ     لَرَأسٌ جَلِيلٌ بالجَلاَلِ مُعَمَّمُ

سَلاَمٌ علَى وَجهِ النَّبِىِّ مُحَمَّدٍ        فَيا نِعمَ وَجهٌ بالضِّياءِ مُلَثَّمُ

سَلاَمٌ عَلى طَرفِ النَّبِىِّ مُحَمَّدٍ      لَطَرفٌ كَحِيلٌ أَدعجٌ وَمُعَلَّمُ

سَلاَمٌ عَلى أنفِ النَّبِىِّ مُحَمَّدٍ       لأَنفٌ عَدِيلٌ أنوَرٌ وَمُقَوَّمُ

سَلامٌ علَى خَدّ الحَبيبِ مُحَمَّدٍ      لَخَدٌ مُنِيرٌ أسهَلٌ وَمُشَمَّمُ

سَلاَمٌ علَى فَمِّ النَّبِىِّ مُحَمَّدٍ        لَفَمٌّ بِهِ دُرٌّ نَفِيسٌ مُنَظَّمُ

بِغَيرِ كَلاَمِ اللهِ وَالذِّكرِ وَالنّدَا        لِحَضرَةِ مَولاَهُ فَلاَ يَتَكَلمُ

سَلامٌ علي عُنق النَّبِىِّ مُحَمَّدٍ        لَعُنقٌ سَطِيعٌ نَيِّرٌ وَمُبَرَّمُ

سَلاَمٌ على صَدرِ الحَبِيبِ مُحَمَّدٍ      لَصَدرٌ وَسِيعٌ بالعُلُومِ مُطَمطَمُ

سَلاَمٌ على قَلبِ الحَبيبِ مُحَمَّدٍ        لَقلبٌ بِنُورِ اللهِ دَوماً مُقَيَّمُ

يُشَاهِدُ رَبَّ العَرشِ في كُلِّ لَحظَةٍ     فإن نامَتِ العَينانِ ما نامَ فاعلَمُوا

سَلاَمٌ على كَفِّ النبي مُحَمَّدٍ         لَكَفٌ رَحيبٌ كَم يَجُودُ وَيُكرِمُ

بهِ كَم فَقِيرٍ صَارَ مِن بَعدِ فَقرِهِ       غَنِيًّا وَكَم طاغٍ بهِ مُتَضَيِّمُ

سَلاَمٌ على قَدَمٍِ الحَبيبِ مُحَمَّدٍ        بهِ دَاسَ حُجبَ العِزِّ ذَاكَ المُقَدِّمُ

بهِ قامَ في المِحرَابِ لِلهِ قانِتاً          يُناجى لِرَبِّ العَرشِ وَالنَّاسُ نُوَّمُ

فَما زَالَ هذَا دَأبُهُ كُلَّ لَيلَةٍ            إِلى أَن بهِ بانَ الوَنا وَالتَّوَرُّمُ

سَلاَمٌ على ذَاتِ النبي مُحَمَّدٍ         فَيا حُسنَها فِيها الجَمالُ مُتَمَّمُ

سَلاَمٌ عَلى كُلِّ النبي مُحَمَّدٍ          نبي عَظِيمٌ بالجَلالِ مُعَظَّمُ

نَبِىٌ لِمَولاَهُ العَلِّى عِنايَةٌ               بِهِ تَبدُو إِذ ما الخَلقُ في الحَشرِ يُفحَمُ

عَلَيهِ لِوَاءُ الحَمدِ يُنصَبُ رِفعَةً        وَمِن تَحتِهِ الانباءُ وَالرُّسلُ يُزحَمُ

بِهِ كُلُّ عاص في القِيامةِ لاَئِذٌ        وَكُلُّ مُحِبٍّ فائِزٌ وَمُكلَّمُ

بِهِ يَرتَجِى المَجذُوبُ يَنجُو بِصَحبهِ   بِغَيرِ امتِحانٍ يا شَفِيعُ وَيَسلَمُ

عليك صلاة الله ثم سلامه          يَعُمَّانِ كلَّ الآلِ ها نحن نختمُ

Lament for Nigeria

Lament for Nigeria

In response to the Lekki massacre, inspired by the words of Ṣeun Kuti and Aisha Yesufu

dear god
I come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water
-warsan shire

A new moon rose up in the ember months over Nigeria
A new spring burst forth as the fires fell over Nigeria
To God I complain of the pain in my heart over Nigeria
Because of the loss of family, my friends over Nigeria
My eyes fill with tears, hot, heavy as lead over Nigeria
But what good are tears for the bullet-pierced dead all over Nigeria?
The lions are silent, the eagles have fled over Nigeria
My grief turns me away from my bed over Nigeria
Nigeria is dead, long reign her people over Nigeria
But she’s long been dead, vultures overhead all over Nigeria
Fighting for carrion, squawking with bald heads, all over Nigeria
As they carry on, feasting on the dead all over Nigeria
This poem was written and traced in the blood all over Nigeria
That’s reddened the skies, our eyes, and the mud all over Nigeria
Tears flow ceaselessly, flooding all the streams all over Nigeria
Grief’s withered the hearts, and dried out our dreams all over Nigeria
How many dark nights have swallowed up screams all over Nigeria?
How many have vanished, never to be seen, all over Nigeria?
How many have fled the hunger, the dread, all over Nigeria?
How many enslaved, with chains on their heads all over Nigeria?
How many have died, how many more bled, all over Nigeria?
How many have lied, how many misled, all over Nigeria?
How many gone blind, how many lives shed, all over Nigeria?
How many prayers un—heard stories misread all over Nigeria?
And how many sighs like smoke still yet rise all over Nigeria?
How many more till we stand tall once more over Nigeria?
But God will not change our state until we, all over Nigeria
‘Till we change our state, decide to be free all over Nigeria
For it is no sin to lament and grieve all over Nigeria
The sin is for us to stay on our knees all over Nigeria
Will we be slaves or will we be free all over Nigeria?
Who’s sacrificed for whose gluttonous greed all over Nigeria?
Ọlọrun! give youth the wisdom we need all over Nigeria
To uproot oppression, corruption’s disease all over Nigeria
And give our elders the eyes that can see, all over Nigeria
The root is rotten, so down fall the trees all over Nigeria
Long fingers and robes, eyes never at rest, all over Nigeria
The arms of the law serve these masters the best, all over Nigeria
The nation was built to steal our wealth all over Nigeria
Can you make a gun a fountain of health all over Nigeria?
The leopard changed skin, but not his dark spots all over Nigeria
Is it a wonder he never gets caught all over Nigeria?
But one day the prey go catch the hunter all over Nigeria
Is this just proverb, or this na today, all over Nigeria?
Our leaders are fingers of an empty glove all over Nigeria
Keeping the hands clean that pillage and reave all over Nigeria
Oyinbo chop, plump up on the pain all over Nigeria
Their glove sated with the palm oil stains all over Nigeria
Our life has flowed out into foreign banks all over Nigeria
Now Kwara, Ọya, overruns its banks all over Nigeria
Orimili rise, sweep rubbish aside all over Nigeria
Maayo Jaaliba come drown all the lies all over Nigeria
Eeepa! Ọya, the mother of nine, all over Nigeria
Let winds of change leave no place left to hide all over Nigeria
Eṣu Ẹlẹgbara, who tests every side all over Nigeria
Take the sacrifice and transform our lives all over Nigeria
Move us beyond strife, man of the crossroads, all over Nigeria
Dance to the drum and tickle its toes all over Nigeria
Untie our feet, transform our sorrows all over Nigeria
Speak with power, turn back all the blows all over Nigeria
Confound all of those killing us on your road and all over Nigeria
Let it be so, Aṣẹ, a maa n sọ, all over Nigeria
Ogun! ti n ru minimini, all over Nigeria
Who bathes in the blood of his enemies, all over Nigeria
Take up your cutlass and open the way all over Nigeria
The liars have come to mock and to play all over Nigeria
Devour the dogs, split them where they stand all over Nigeria
Let truth and justice return to the land all over Nigeria
Kabiyesi! Oronigbagbe all over Nigeria
Ọba to ko so, let your thunder fall all over Nigeria
Lightning touches heaven as it touches earth all over Nigeria
Ewe Ilere, dry tears with fire’s mirth all over Nigeria
Ọbaluaye sweep illness away all over Nigeria
The pox and the cancer that’s stolen our days all over Nigeria
Ọṣun, Iya mi, leader of women all over Nigeria
Stop the marauding invaders again all over Nigeria
Wealthy mother, with dye, beads, and fans all over Nigeria
O flowing water, with your strong, long hands all over Nigeria
Heal us, revive us, help us understand all over Nigeria
O re yeye o, bring peace to the land all over Nigeria
Ọrunmila, Ẹlẹri Ipin wa all over Nigeria
Aboru boye, abo rubo ṣiṣẹ all over Nigeria
Mightier-than-charms, please mend our bad heads all over Nigeria
Grant us wisdom, let’s not lose the thread all over Nigeria
Ẹlẹda ma sun! Ori iya mi all over Nigeria
Awake and fight! cut through bush for me all over Nigeria
Chineke me! How many must die all over Nigeria?
The earth is stuffed full, the sun will not rise over Nigeria
The ground is bleeding, the air choked with flies all over Nigeria
Achikwu oji , come, now is your time, all over Nigeria

Jesu, come clear out the temples again all over Nigeria
The moneylenders pretend they’re your friends all over Nigeria
They blaspheme your name and slaughter your flock all over Nigeria
Hiding behind scriptures they shamelessly mock all over Nigeria

Is this not the land that holds walis’ bones all over Nigeria?
Is this not where Queen Amina laid stones all over Nigeria?
Where Kalumfardo and then Sokoto all over Nigeria
Raised banners of truth and fought the shadows all over Nigeria?
Did not the Shehu, Bello, Asma’u all over Nigeria
Fight with their lives and their pens for truth all over Nigeria?
Would they be slaves of Lugard’s estate ruling over Nigeria?
Or would they revolt against the mandate of an unjust Nigeria?
Is there a way to travel swiftly from all over Nigeria
to justice and tranquil prosperity spread all over Nigeria?
If not, then put this charade to bed—it’s over for Nigeria
The proud lions and great ones all fled, overwhelmed by Nigeria
Compatriots arise, Protest! Disobey! For all over Nigeria
The unjust laws of unjust men are killing our Nigeria
Is this alright? Tell me is this OK? To die all over Nigeria?
If not, Ẹ ba mi sọrọ soke tonight all over Nigeria

In this year of Ogundimeji, we ask safety for our Nigeria
Make our legs strong, we’ve suffered too long, all for this Nigeria
Our diaspora, our people at home, fighting for this Nigeria
This time will be the cradle or grave for this our Nigeria
We seek refuge in God from the evils that swarm all over Nigeria
And blessings upon the best of us all from all over Nigeria
As long as a new moon continues to rise over our Nigeria
As long as the rain comes down from the skies over our Nigeria

-Oludamini Ogunnaike
October 21, 2020

A thread on how to support the protests
For more information, follow @feminist.co; https://feministcoalition2020.com/

Hard times

Skip James’ haunting depression-era blues song seems to only get more relevant with each passing day…

Lyrics:

Hard times is here and everywhere you go
Times are harder than ever been before
You know that people, they are are driftin’ from door to door
But you can’t find no heaven, I don’t care where they go
People, if I ever can get up off of this old hard killin’ floor
Lord, I’ll never get down this low no more
When you hear me singin’ this old lonesome song
People, you know these hard times can last us so long
You know, you say you had money, you better be sure
Lord, these hard times gon’ kill you, just drag on slow