This Love is not a River…

Two of my favorite Fado songs, by two of my favorite singers, Cristina Branco and Carminho:

Translation:
This love is not a river
It has the vastness of the sea
The green dance of the waves
Sobbing in my eyes.
I tried to forget the words
Unspoken between us
But hanging over the silence
On the shores of our voice
I tried to forget your eyes
That do not know how to read mine
But in them is born the daybreak
That dawns on the earth and the heavens
I tried to forget your name
Pluck it from my thoughts
But it returns at every instant
Entwined in the wind.
I tried to see my image
But it was yours that I saw
In my mirror, for I bear
Your flat eyes.
This love is not a river
It has abysses like the sea
And the black mantle of the waves
Shrouds me in blackness
This love is not a river
It has the vastness of the sea
 
Original:
Este amor não é um rio
Tem a vastidão do mar
A dança verde das ondas
Soluça no meu olhar
Tentei esquecer as palavras
Nunca ditas entre nós
Mas pairam sobre o silencio
Nas margens da nossa voz
Tentei esquecer os teus olhos
Que não sabem ler nos meus
Mas neles nasce a alvorada
Que amanhece a terra e os céus
Tentei esquecer o teu nome
Arrancá-lo ao pensamento
Mas regressa a todo o instante
Entrelaçado no vento
Tentei ver a minha imagem
Mas foi a tua que vi
No meu espelho, porque trago
Os olhos rasos de ti
Este amor não é um rio
Tem abismos como o mar
E o manto negro das ondas
Cobre-me de negro o olhar
Este amor não é um rio
Tem a vastidão do mar
https://lyricstranslate.com/en/fado-perdi%C3%A7%C3%A3o-perdition-fado.html

Translation:
I wrote your name on the wind
convinced that I was writing it
on the page of forgetfulness
that in the wind
it would get lost
On the page of forgetfulness
that in the wind it would get lost
And on seeing it go
covered in dust
I considered my heart free
of the bonds of your love
I considered my heart free
of the bonds of your love
Poor me!
I never even thought
that just like me
the wind would fall in love
with that name that is yours
The wind would fall in love
with that name that is yours
As the wind stirs up, so does my pain get stirred up
I want to forget you, believe me
But there is always more wind
I want to forget you
but there is always more wind
Rumi
Translation:
Love is the One who masters all things;
I am mastered totally by Love.
By my passion of love for Love
I have ground sweet as sugar.
O furious Wind, I am only a straw before you;
How could I know where I will be blown next?
Whoever claims to have made a pact with Destiny
Reveals himself a liar and a fool;
What is any of us but a straw in a storm?
How could anyone make a pact with a hurricane?
God is working everywhere his massive Resurrection;
How can we pretend to act on our own?
In the hand of Love I am like a cat in a sack;
Sometimes Love hoists me into the air,
Sometimes Love flings me into the air,
Love swings me round and round His head;
I have no peace, in this world or any other.
The lovers of God have fallen in a furious river;
They have surrendered themselves to Love’s commands.
Like mill wheels they turn, day and night, day and night,
Constantly turning and turning, and crying out.
Original:
If I could see you I would die
and if I died, then I’d see you
I can’t stop, even though I’ve tried
from staring, drowning, in your eyes
Without you all I see are lies
and so my beautiful, that’s why
approaching you, I’m terrified
and yet, still more scared am I
of losing sight of you, my life
In death, I see you with your eyes
awake, you peer out within mine
your love swallowed the whole world up
and burned down my soul and my mind
even my love burned up in yours
it ate up all space and all time
so there’s no inside nor outside
there’s just your side, nothing to find
nothing to say, free, pay no mind
hearing no ears, seeing no eyes
all knots and thoughts simply unwind
as your sword falls, gentler than kind
there’s no one left to realize
Just your dark beauty, shining bright
in each and every lover’s sight
in every tale, in every plight
in all that’s wrong and all that’s right
beneath the depths, above the heights
through all the days, over the nights
you hold my soul closer than tight
and unseen, you perceive the sights
Love’s river floods mine out of sight
Love’s flames burn bodies into light
Love’s kiss turns death back into life
Love conquers all by its sweet might
And so whence my despair or fright?
when all my pains and all delights
are but you, your love and love bites
that bear aloft my soul’s fair kite
and put to shame all that I write

O you present in my heart…

benyousefmadrasa

dalailkhayratmaghribi

Translation:

O you present in my heart, thinking of you makes me sweet
If no one ever visits my eye, then my heart will take its place for me
I am not gone, but my body is vanishing from wasting away
So no blamer found me, and no chaperone/rival saw me
Had the era known about me, people would have come to me
Nothing remains but passion, ask it about me, and it will answer for me

 

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Orignal:

يَا حاضِراً في فُؤادي ** بِالفكرِ فِيكمْ أطيبُ
إِنْ لمْ يزُرْ شخصُ عيني ** فالقلبُ عِندي ينُوبُ
مَا غِبتُ لَكِنَّ جِسْمي ** من النُّحول يذوبُ
فَلمْ يَجدْني عذولٌ ** وَلاَ رآنِي رَقِيبُ
وَلوْ دَرَى الدَّهْرُ ** عَنِّي جَاءت إِلىَّ شعُوبُ
لَمْ يَبْقَ غَيْرُ غَرامٍ ** فَسَلهُ عَنِّي يِجُيبُ

 

alhambrawall

Original:

Hey you hiding in my heart

I am happy when you’re near

You, my life, my joy and art

Who’s the image, who’s the mirror?

kullushayhalik

Sulayman and Sheba’s Queen

watermirrormosquesulayman

The following verse of the Qur’an has inspired Islamic architecture and literature, illustrating the prominent symbols of the mirror and the perspective shift.

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surah 27-44

Qur’an 27:44 Pickthall translation:

It was said unto her : Enter the hall. And when she saw it she deemed it a pool and bared her legs. (Solomon) said: Lo! it is a hall, made smooth, of glass. She said: My Lord! Lo! I have wronged myself, and I surrender with Solomon unto Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

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And since she, or Bilqîs, said in answer to the question concerning her throne, which was, “Is thy throne like this? (Quran XXVII, 42), “It seems the same” (XXVII, 42), one can detect her knowledge of the renewal of creation at each instant, for she said, “It seems”. And he showed her the pavillion of crystal, so she supposed it was like a spreading water “and she bared her legs” (Quran XXVII, 44) so the water would not touch her clothing. But it was not a spreading water in reality, just as the visible throne brought into existence before Solomon was not the same throne which she left in Sheba in respect of its form, for it had discarded the first form and assumed another, while the substance, upon which the two thrones imposed successively their forms, was one. So he showed her by that that the state of her throne was like that of the pavillion: as for the throne, because it was deprived of existence, and what the Creator created was similar to that which had vanished; and as for the pavillion, because in its extreme delicacy and limpidity it became similar to clear water, while (in reality) it was different. So he showed her with his actions that she was right in her words, “It seems the same.”

-Ibn ‘Arabi Naqsh al-Fusūs trans. by William Chittick


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Original

Solomon’s Pool

 

When you looked at  my polished heart’s shine
    you just saw your own  reflected in mine
And baring your legs,   you hiked up your soul
   to wade in my water, so clear and so cold
But I’m too jealous to let you baptize
    your body in anything else but my eyes
So you’ll walk on water, just like the Messiah
    and dance across skies, like sunset’s smooth fires
You sounded the depths, and to your surprise
    found it but a trick to uncover your thighs
The clothes that you bought, all the things that you thought
   in my mirror’s undertow, are all swept aside
And so now you walk with my heart underfoot
    we’re all alone, lift your head up love and look
Let me lift off that veil, since it’s just you and I
    it’s cold out there darling, come into my eyes…

 

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The Guitar

Rumi

We are pain and what cures pain, both.
We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.
I want to hold you close like a lute,
so that we can cry out with loving.
Would you rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror and here are the stones.

In the lover’s heart is a lute
Which plays the melody of longing
You say he looks crazy
But that’s only because your ears are not attuned
to the music he’s dancing to
amazingoudcloseup
You are sitting here with us,
but you are also out walking in a field at dawn.

 

You are yourself the animal we hunt
when you come with us on the hunt.

 

You are in your body
like a plant is solid in the ground,
yet you are wind.

 

You are the diver’s clothes
lying empty on the beach.
You are the fish.

 

In the ocean are many bright strands
and many dark strands like veins that are seen
when a wing is lifted up.

 

Your hidden self is blood in those,
those veins that are lute strings
that make ocean music,
not the sad edge of surf,
but the sound of no shore.

Venus touches the strings of her lute
 to lure out essence of this poem
My heart is like a lute each chord crying with longing and pain.
My Beloved is watching me wrapped in silence.

 

Jami

aan zamzameyam ze paye taa sar hame ‘eshq
Haqqa keh be ‘ahdha nayaayam birun
Bar ‘ude delam nawaakht yak zamzameye ‘eshq
Az ‘ahdeye haqq gozaari yakdameye ‘eshq

 

On the lute of my heart plays only one song of love:
Because of this melody, from head to foot, I am in love.
Truly, for ages I’ll never be able
To pay what I owe for one moment of love.

 

 

Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi 
(trans. William Chittick and P.L. Wilson)
Love plays its lute behind the screen –
where is a lover to listen to its tune?
With every breath a new song,
each split second a new string plucked.
The world has spilled Love’s secret –
when could music ever hold its tongue?
Every atom babbles the mystery –
Listen yourself, for I’m no tattletale!

 

 

 

 

The Guitar

by Federico García Lorca translated by Cola Franzen

The weeping of the guitar
begins.
The goblets of dawn
are smashed.
The weeping of the guitar
begins.
Useless
to silence it.
Impossible 
to silence it.
It weeps monotonously
as water weeps
as the wind weeps
over snowfields.
Impossible
to silence it.
It weeps for distant 
things.
Hot southern sands
yearning for white camellias.
Weeps arrow without target
evening without morning
and the first dead bird
on the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart mortally wounded
by five swords.

Guitar

Six bars cage my lonely heart
And rattle with its sad love moans
Six stars cluster round my eye
and dance, shimmering on silver thrones

 

Six dark girls, three bronze, three thin
Sing sighing for their distant homes
Six hairs heave with love’s breath
Braid flames into my wooden bones

 

Six rivers run over my mouth
And ripple with its quiet groans
Six threads from your skirt’s wide hem
Have hooked my ear and won’t let go

 

Six barbed lines make a net to catch
My spirit in its shadowed grove
Six bolts of lightning flash across
My mouth, smiling as thunder rolls

 

My body pierced by music from
The six strings of this compound bow
These six veins wrap around my heart
And bleeding song from five swords’ strokes

 

Form six paths for your love to flow
Through my heartsick and stricken soul
And weave love’s sweet, sad melodies
Between your fingers; strikes and blows

 


Segovia

Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.

“The guitar is fit for tender and sweet dialogue
with the girl we love
if the girl becomes disloyal to us
the cello—to confide our sorrow to a friend
and if the friend is also unfaithful
then the organ, to communicate
our affliction to God” ‘
– Andres Segovia The Guitar and I, Vol. 2 (1972. LP: MCA-2536)

 

 

In the violin and cello, we feel the human warmth of their timbres; and the guitar–the guitar condenses and refines the music played on it as the hundred fragrances of the forest are refined and condensed in a tiny flask.

I like very much the true flamenco, which is played with heavy fingers, roughly but from the soul. But flamenco has departed from the good simple tradition. The flamencos should not be professionals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I belong to the scarce minority of artists who work in good faith, around whom the phenomenal world vanishes, as it happens to the mystics when they give themselves to prayer.

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Among God’s creatures two, the dog and the guitar, have taken all the sizes and all the shapes, in order not to be separated from the man.

 

 

The advice I am giving always to all my students is above all to study the music profoundly….

 

 

Music is like the ocean, and the instruments are little or bigger islands, very beautiful for the flowers and trees.

 

 

The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different color, a different voice The guitar is a miniature orchestra in itself.

― Ludwig van Beethoven

 

The wine was so fine…

The following was one of Ibn ‘Arabi’s favorite verses of poetry, oft-quoted by Sufi authors ranging from al-Ghazzali to Fakhr ad-din ‘Iraqi to Emir ‘abd al-Qadir to explain the mysterious relationship between God and the heart.

 

 

The glass was so clear, and so was the wine
they became so similar, that it became unclear
Whether there was wine and no cup
Or a cup and no wine

-Ṣaḥib ibn ‘Abbād

 

Original:

رقَّ الزجاجُ وَرَقَّت الخمرُ          وَتشابها  فَتَشاكل     الأَمرُ

فَكَأَنَّما  خمرٌ   وَلا     قَدحٌ          وَكَأَنَّما  قَدحٌ   وَلا     خمرُ

 

As Junayd famously said,

The colour of water is the colour of its vessel

لون الماء لون انائه

Compare with my own humble meditation on this theme:

 

If you see cup and wine as two, you haven’t drunk enough
In this tavern, we drink love’s molten glass, served by the cup

 

And when the sparkling wine is swirled and left still to breathe well
That’s just the glass-blower whispering his secret sculpting spells

 

Not only does this wine redden cups’ sweet cheeks and their lips
Its pouring gives them lovely shapes and their bright translucence

 

The heavens are but spinning glasses cast from frozen wine
How strange that they all seem to fit within this cup of mine

 

Inside my glass, last night, I saw your face, mingling with mine
In drunken clarity, I sipped myself in your outline

 

The fine lines of your lips are just the rippling of this wine
And so we drink and kiss ‘till I can’t tell what’s yours from mine

 

Last night, I got so drunk I sold my soul for cups of wine
I’m back to see what I can get for my body this time

 

My heart’s the secret flask of that most thirsty of madmen
Who drained the wine, drank the dry glass, then downed the whole tavern

 

Bilqis thought our way was water, but soon learned this glass held wine
Sulayman’s tricked many spirits into these bottles of rhymes

 

Though everyone loves wine’s bouquet, who likes the drunkard’s belch?
Be quiet, hold your drink, and keep its secrets to yourself.

Lovers never die

Hafez:

                    هرگز نمیرد آن که دلش زنده شد به عشق

ثبت است بر جریده عالم دوام ما

He whose heart has been revived by love will never die
Our eternity has been written in the record of the world

 

Me:

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

 

Hafez:

بگشای تربتم را بعد از وفات و بنگر

کز آتش درونم دود از کفن برآید

 

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!

 

Translation: Gertrude Bell