The qibla of love

Qu’ran 2:144

We have seen the turning of thy face to heaven. And now verily We shall turn you toward a qibla [direction of prayer] which is dear to thee. So turn thy face toward the Inviolable Place of Worship, and ye, wheresoever ye may be, turn your faces toward it. Lo! Those who have received the Scripture know that is the Truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.

Qur’an 10:87

We revealed to Moses and his brother, “Appoint houses for your people in Egypt and make your houses a qibla [direction of prayer], and establish worship. And give good news to the believers.”

 

Qur’an 2:155

To god belong the East and West, and wheresoever you turn, there is the face of God.

 

“Do you think my qibla is only here [before me]? By God, your bowing and prostrating are not concealed from me; I can see you even though you are behind my back.”

-Hadith

 

Rumi

Since the qibla of the soul has been hidden

everyone has turned his face to a different corner

(Masnavi 5:328-337)

Original:

قبله‌ی جان را چو پنهان کرده‌اند
هر کسی رو جانبی آورده‌اند

 

 

The Kaaba of Gabriel and the celestial spirits is a Lote-tree;
the glutton’s qibla is a cloth laden with dishes of food.
The qibla of the Knower is the light of union with God;
the qibla of the philosopher’s mind is fantasy.
The qibla of the ascetic is God, the Gracious;
the qibla of the flatterer is a purse of gold.
The qibla of the spiritual is patience and long-suffering;
the qiblah of form-worshippers is an image of stone.
The qibla of those who live in the inward is the Bounteous One;
the qibla of those who worship the outward is a woman’s face.
(Masanvi 6, 1896–1900)

 

Original:

کعبه‌ی جبریل و جانها سدره‌ای ** قبله‌ی عبدالبطون شد سفره‌ای
قبله‌ی عارف بود نور وصال  ** قبله‌ی عقل مفلسف شد خیال
قبله‌ی زاهد بود یزدان بر ** قبله‌ی مطمع بود همیان زر
قبله‌ی معنی‌وران صبر و درنگ ** قبله‌ی صورت‌پرستان نقش سنگ
قبله‌ی باطن‌نشینان ذوالمنن ** قبله‌ی ظاهرپرستان روی زن

 

By virtue of that Light the calf becomes a qibla of (Divine) grace;
without that Light the qibla becomes (a symbol of) infidelity and an idol.
The licence that comes from self-will is error;
the licence that comes from God is perfection.
In that quarter where the illimitable Light has shone,
infidelity has become faith and the Devil has attained unto Islam.

 

Original:
عجل با آن نور شد قبله‌ی کرم ** قبله بی آن نور شد کفر و صنم
هست اباحت کز هوای آمد ضلال ** هست اباحت کز خدا آمد کمال
کفر ایمان گشت و دیو اسلام یافت ** آن طرف کان نور بی‌اندازه تافت

(Masnavi 6: 2073)

 

 

Within the Ka‘ba the rule of the qibla does not exist:
what matter if the diver has no snow-shoes?
Do not seek guidance from the drunken:
why dost thou order those whose garments are rent in pieces to mend them?
The religion of Love is apart from all religions:
for lovers, the (only) religion and creed is—God.

 

Original:

در درون کعبه رسم قبله نیست ** چه غم ار غواص را پاچیله نیست‏
تو ز سر مستان قلاووزی مجو ** جامه چاکان را چه فرمایی رفو
تو ز سر مستان قلاووزی مجو ** جامه چاکان را چه فرمایی رفو

(Masnavi 6:1768-1770)

 

 

Since the Hand of God has made the Qibla manifest,
henceforth deem searching to be disallowed.
Hark, avert your face and head from searching,
now that the Destination and Dwelling-place has come into view.
If you forget this Qibla for one moment, you will become in thrall to every worthless qibla (object of desire).
When you show ingratitude to him that gives you discernment, the thought that recognises the Qibla will dart away from you.

 

Original:

قبله را چون کرد دست حق عیان ** پس تحری بعد ازین مردود دان
هین بگردان از تحری رو و سر ** که پدید آمد معاد و مستقر
ک زمان زین قبله گر ذاهل شوی ** سخره‌ی هر قبله‌ی باطل شوی
چون شوی تمییزده را ناسپاس ** بجهد از تو خطرت قبله‌شناس

 

 

 

Amīr Khusrow

Every sect has a faith, a  Qibla to which they turn,
I have turned my face towards the crooked cap (of Nizamudin Aulia)
The whole world worships something or the other,
Some look for God in Mecca, while some go to Kashi (Banaras),
So why can’t I, Oh wise people, fall into my beloved’s feet?
Every sect has a faith, a Qibla.

 

Original:

هر قوم راست راهي، ديني و قبله گاهي

من قبله راست كرديم ،‌بر سمت كج كلاهي

 

Transliteration:
Har qaum raast raahay, deen-e wa qibla gaahay,
Mun qibla raast kardam, bar samt kajkulaahay.
Sansaar har ko poojay, kul ko jagat sarahay,
Makkay mein koyi dhoondhay, Kaashi ko koi jaaye,
Guyyian main apnay pi kay payyan padun na kaahay.
Har qaum raast raahay, deen-e wa qibla gaahay…

 

Mirza Ghālib

The one to whom I bow is beyond senses’ boundaries

The qiblah itself’s a pointer for those who can see

 

Original:

ہے پرے سرحدِ ادراک سے اپنا مسجود

قبلے کو اہلِ نظر قبلہ نما کہتے ہیں

 

 

 

Ibn ‘Arabi:

Contemplate the house: for sanctified hearts,
its lights shine openly
They look at it through God, without a veil,
and its august and sublime secret appears to them.

 

and famously:

My heart has become receptive to every form
A meadow for gazelles, and a cloister for the monks
A house for the idols, and the pilgrim’s Ka’aba
The tablets of the Torah, pages of the Qur’an
My religion is love’s own and wheresoever turn
Her caravan, that love is my religion and my faith
We have an example in Bishr, lover of Hind and her sister,
And Qays and Layla, and Mayya and Ghaylan*

 

Original:
لقدْ صارَ قلبي قابلاً كلَّ صورة ٍ                فمَرْعًى لغِزْلاَنٍ وديرٌ لرُهْبانِ
وبَيْتٌ لأوثانٍ وكعبة ُ طائفٍ،                 وألواحُ توراة ٍ ومصحفُ قرآنِ
أدينُ بدينِ الحبِّ أنَّى توجَّهتْ                   رَكائِبُهُ فالحُبُّ ديني وإيماني
لنا أُسْوَة ٌ في بِشْرِ هندٍ وأُخْتِهَا               وقيسٍ وليلى ، ثمَّ مي وغيلانِ

 

Also see:

P | A | Chodkiewicz: The Paradox of the Ka‘ba

and

O Lovers, O Lovers

 

Several of Rumi’s most musical ghazals begin with this refrain

Translation:

O Lovers, O lovers, the time has come to leave this world

In my soul’s ears resound the traveling drums from Heaven

Behold, the driver has risen and made ready the files of camels,
And begged us to acquit him of blame: why, O travelers, are you asleep ?
These sounds before and behind are the din of departure and of the camel-bells;
With each moment a soul and a spirit is setting off into the Void.
From these stars like inverted candles, from these blue awnings of the sky
There has come forth a wondrous people, that the mysteries may be revealed.
A heavy slumber fell upon thee from the circling spheres:
Alas for this life so light, beware of this slumber so heavy!
O soul, seek the Beloved, O friend, seek the Friend,
O watchman, be wakeful: it behooves not a watchman to sleep.
On every side is clamor and tumult, in every street are candles and torches,
For to-night the teeming world gives birth to the world everlasting.
Thou wert dust and art spirit, thou wert ignorant and art wise;
He who has led thee thus far will lead thee further also.
How pleasant are the pains he makes thee suffer while he gently draws thee to himself!
His flames are as water. Do not frown upon him.
To dwell in the soul is his task, to break vows of penitence is his task;
By his manifold artifice these atoms are trembling at their core.
O ridiculous puppet that leapest out of thy hole, as if to say, ‘I am the lord of the land,’
How long wilt thou leap? Abase thyself, or they will bend thee like a bow.
Thou didst sow the seed of deceit, thou didst indulge in derision,
Thou didst regard God as nothing: see now, O miscreant!
O ass, thou wert best with straw; thou art a caldron: thou wert best black;
Thou wert best at the bottom of a well, O disgrace of thy house and family!
In me there is Another by whom these eyes sparkle;
If water scalds, it is by fire; understand this.
I have no stone in my hand, I have no quarrel with anyone,
I deal harshly with none, because I am sweet as a garden of roses.
Mine eye, then, is from that source and from another universe;
Here a world and there a world: I am seated on the threshold.
On the threshold are they alone whose eloquence is mute;
It is enough to utter this intimation: say no more, draw back thy tongue.

 

(trans. R.A. Nicholson)

Original:

ای عاشقان ای عاشقان هنگام کوچ است از جهان
در گوش جانم می رسد طبل رحیل از آسمان
نک ساربان برخاسته قطارها آراسته
از ما حلالی خواسته چه خفته‌اید ای کاروان
این بانگ‌ها از پیش و پس بانگ رحیل است و جرس
هر لحظه‌ای نفس و نفس سر می کشد در لامکان
زین شمع‌های سرنگون زین پرده‌های نیلگون
خلقی عجب آید برون تا غیب‌ها گردد عیان
زین چرخ دولابی تو را آمد گران خوابی تو را
فریاد از این عمر سبک زنهار از این خواب گران
ای دل سوی دلدار شو ای یار سوی یار شو
ای پاسبان بیدار شو خفته نشاید پاسبان
هر سوی شمع و مشعله هر سوی بانگ و مشغله
کامشب جهان حامله زاید جهان جاودان
تو گل بدی و دل شدی جاهل بدی عاقل شدی
آن کو کشیدت این چنین آن سو کشاند کش کشان
اندر کشاکش‌های او نوش است ناخوش‌های او
آب است آتش‌های او بر وی مکن رو را گران
در جان نشستن کار او توبه شکستن کار او
از حیله بسیار او این ذره‌ها لرزان دلان
ای ریش خند رخنه جه یعنی منم سالار ده
تا کی جهی گردن بنه ور نی کشندت چون کمان
تخم دغل می کاشتی افسوس‌ها می داشتی
حق را عدم پنداشتی اکنون ببین ای قلتبان
ای خر به کاه اولیتری دیگی سیاه اولیتری
در قعر چاه اولیتری ای ننگ خانه و خاندان
در من کسی دیگر بود کاین خشم‌ها از وی جهد
گر آب سوزانی کند ز آتش بود این را بدان
در کف ندارم سنگ من با کس ندارم جنگ من
با کس نگیرم تنگ من زیرا خوشم چون گلستان
پس خشم من زان سر بود وز عالم دیگر بود
این سو جهان آن سو جهان بنشسته من بر آستان
بر آستان آن کس بود کو ناطق اخرس بود
این رمز گفتی بس بود دیگر مگو درکش زبان

 

“The time of meeting and union has come”

Translation:
O Lovers, O Lovers the time of union and meeting has come
A call came from heaven proclaiming
“Moon-faced beauties, come hither
The fiery wine has come, O demon of grief, go sit in a corner!
O death-pondering soul, you too go! O immortal Saqi, come now!
O drunk ones, O drunk ones, The enraptured whirling one has come
The chains of his locks have captured us and our heart’s yearning has captured him
O you on which the seven heavens are drunk
We are but a bead in your hands
O you from whose being ours is
A hundred greetings, welcome!
O sound of the reed with sweet stories
In your sound is the taste of sugar
From your sound comes the fragrance of faithfulness
night and day!
Begin again and tune those notes
Open those veils
for all good souls
O sun of our happy meeting
Be quiet, don’t tear the veil, drink the bowl of the silent
be a concealer (sattar), be a concealer (sattar), get used to God’s clemency

 

 

 

 

Original:

ای عاشقان ای عاشقان آمد گه وصل و لقا
از آسمان آمد ندا کای ماه رویان الصلا
ای سرخوشان ای سرخوشان آمد طرب دامن کشان
بگرفته ما زنجیر او بگرفته او دامان ما
آمد شراب آتشین ای دیو غم کنجی نشین
ای جان مرگ اندیش رو ای ساقی باقی درآ
ای هفت گردون مست تو ما مهره‌ای در دست تو
ای هست ما از هست تو در صد هزاران مرحبا
ای مطرب شیرین نفس هر لحظه می‌جنبان جرس
ای عیش زین نه بر فرس بر جان ما زن ای صبا
ای بانگ نای خوش سمر در بانگ تو طعم شکر
آید مرا شام و سحر از بانگ تو بوی وفا
بار دگر آغاز کن آن پرده‌ها را ساز کن
بر جمله خوبان ناز کن ای آفتاب خوش لقا
خاموش کن پرده مدر سغراق خاموشان بخور
ستار شو ستار شو خو گیر از حلم خدا

 

 

“I am an ancient lover”

This is a popular Afghan song attributed to Rumi, but I haven’t found it in a written collection, so it may be part of the oral tradition:

Translation:
O Lovers, O lovers, I am an ancient lover
O honest ones, O honest one, I am an ancient lover
At that time when the light of my love passed through the heavenly world
I myself was all there, I am an ancient lover
Adam was not, but I was; the world was not, but I was
Before all the worlds, I was, I am an ancient lover
I was with Noah in the ark, I was with Joseph in the well
In the fire with Abraham I was, I am an ancient lover.

 

Original:
ای عاشقان ای عاشقان من عاشق دیرینه ام
ای صادقان ای صادقان من عاشق دیرینه ام
این دم که نور عشق من از عالم علوی گذشت
آنجا همه خود من بودم ، من عاشق دیرینه ام
آدم نبود و من بودم ، عالم نبود و من بودم
پيش از همه عالم بودم ، من عاشق دیرینه ام
با نوح در كشتي بودم با يوسف اندر چاه بودم
در نار بودم با خليل من عاشق ديرينه ام

 

 

 

 

“O Lovers, I turn dust into gems”

Translation:

O Lovers, O Lovers, I turn dust into gems

O singers, O singers, I fill your drums with gold

“Oh thirsty souls! Oh thirsty souls! Today I am giving water to drink!

I will transform this dustbin into paradise, a celestial pool.”

“Oh helpless men! Oh helpless men! Relief has come! Relief has come! I turn everyone with a wounded and aching heart into a sultan, a Sanjar.

“Oh helpless men! Oh helpless men! Relief has come! Relief has come! I turn everyone with a wounded and aching heart into a sultan, a Sanjar.

Oh elixir! Oh elixir! Look at me, for I transmute a hundred monasteries into mosques, a hundred gallows into pulpits!

Oh unbelievers! Oh unbelievers! I unfasten your locks! For I am the absolute ruler: I make some people believers, others unbelievers!

Oh sir! Oh sir! You are wax in my hands! If you become a sword, I will make you a cup; if you become a cup, I will make you into a sword.

You were a sperm-drop and became blood, then you gained this harmonious formcome to me, oh son of Adam! I will make you even more beautiful.

I turn grief into joy and guide the lost, I make the wolf into Joseph and poison into sugar!

Oh sakis! Oh sakis! I have opened my mouth in order to marry every dry lip to the lip of the cup!

Oh rosegarden! Oh rosegarden! Borrow roses from my rosery! Then I will place your sweet herbs next to the lotus. Oh heaven! Oh heaven! You will become even more bewildered than the narcissus when I make dust into ambergris, thorns into jasmine.

“Oh Universal Intellect! Oh Universal Intellect! Whatever you say is true. You are the ruler, you are munificentlet me stop my speaking.”

Translation From: William Chittick’s Sufi Path of Love

 

Original:
ای عاشقان ای عاشقان من خاک را گوهر کنم
وی مطربان ای مطربان دف شما پرزر کنم
ای تشنگان ای تشنگان امروز سقایی کنم
وین خاکدان خشک را جنت کنم کوثر کنم
ای بی‌کسان ای بی‌کسان جاء الفرج جاء الفرج
هر خسته غمدیده را سلطان کنم سنجر کنم
ای کیمیا ای کیمیا در من نگر زیرا که من
صد دیر را مسجد کنم صد دار را منبر کنم
ای کافران ای کافران قفل شما را وا کنم
زیرا که مطلق حاکمم مؤمن کنم کافر کنم
ای بوالعلا ای بوالعلا مومی تو اندر کف ما
خنجر شوی ساغر کنم ساغر شوی خنجر کنم
تو نطفه بودی خون شدی وانگه چنین موزون شدی
سوی من آ ای آدمی تا زینت نیکوتر کنم
من غصه را شادی کنم گمراه را هادی کنم
من گرگ را یوسف کنم من زهر را شکر کنم
ای سردهان ای سردهان بگشاده‌ام زان سر دهان
تا هر دهان خشک را جفت لب ساغر کنم
ای گلستان ای گلستان از گلستانم گل ستان
آن دم که ریحان‌هات را من جفت نیلوفر کنم
ای آسمان ای آسمان حیرانتر از نرگس شوی
چون خاک را عنبر کنم چون خار را عبهر کنم
ای عقل کل ای عقل کل تو هر چه گفتی صادقی
حاکم تویی حاتم تویی من گفت و گو کمتر کن

 

 

 

Another one not found in the books,

“I am found”

Translation:

O Lovers, O Lovers, I am found, I am found!

From the face of that love I myself became enflamed with love, enflamed with love

The beloved says go and be disgraced in our love

I will be ashamed of asceticism, I will be disgraced, disgraced

My friend, if it becomes scary, I will put a belt around my waist

In infidelity, if I am sincere, I will be half-afraid, afraid

From the water of mercy, drops fall on me until I leave

How long will I be like that? I became the sea, the sea

The Saqi gives such wine, that from its dregs I am afflicted with pain

The taverns have all become wine, I’ve become wine

I am lost because for a while like a particle in his sun

Each particle of me became the sun, I am found, I am found.

 

 

Original:
ای عاشقان ای عاشقان پیدا شوم پیدا شوم
بر روی آن مهروی خود شیدا شوم شیدا شوم
معشوقه گر گوید برو در عشق ما رسوا شوی
من زهد را یکسو نهم رسوا شوم رسوا شوم
یارم اگر ترسا شود زنار بندم بر میان
در کفر اگر صادق نیم ترسا شوم ترسا شوم
زان آب رحمت قطره یی بر من فشان تا وا رهم
تا کی صدف باشم چنین؟ دریا شوم دریا شوم
ای عاشقان ای عاشقان پیدا شوم پیدا شوم
بر روی آن مه روی خود شیدا شوم شیدا شوم
معشوقه گر گوید برو در عشق ما رسوا شوی
من زهد را یکسو نهم رسوا شوم رسوا شوم
ساقی چنین می میدهد زان دُرد درد آلوده ام
میخانه ها را سر بسر صهبا شوم صهبا شوم
شد مدتی گم گشته ام چون ذره در خورشید او
هر ذره ام خورشید شد پیدا شوم پیدا شوم

 

 

“We’ve fallen into a whirlpool”

Translation:

O Lovers, O Lovers, today we and you have fallen into a whirlpool—who knows how to swim?

Though the world’s torrent should overflow and every wave become like a dromedary, why shall the waterfowl worry? It is the bird of the air that should be anxious.

Our faces are lighted up with gratitude, schooled as we are in wave and sea, inasmuch as ocean and flood are life-increasing to the fish.

Elder, hand us a towel; water, let us plunge into you; Moses son of ‘Imr ̄an, come, smite the water of the sea with your staff!

This wind concocts in every head a different passion; let my passion be for yonder cupbearer, and you may have all the rest!

Yesterday yon saki on the way snatched the caps of the drunkards; today he is giving yet more wine, preparing to strip us of our robes.

O envy of the Moon and of Jupiter, with us, yet hidden from sight like a peri, gently, gently you are drawing me on—will you not say whither?

Wherever you go, you are with me still, you who are my eyes and my brightness; if you will, draw me to drunkenness, if you will, transport me to annihilation.

Know that the world is like Mount Sinai, and we like Moses

are seekers; every moment an epiphany arrives and cleaves the mountain asunder.

One portion becomes green, one portion becomes narcissus- white; one portion becomes a pearl, one portion ruby and amber.

You who seek to behold Him, gaze upon this mountain chain of His. O mountain, what wind has blown upon you? We have become intoxicated with the echo.

O gardener, gardener, why have you come to grapple with us? If we have carried off your grapes, you have carried off our purse!

 

Translation from: Arberry, Mystical Poems of Rumi

 

Original:

ای عاشقان ای عاشقان امروز ماییم وشما
افتاده در غرقابه‌ای تا خود که داند آشنا
گر سیل عالم پر شود هر موج چون اشتر شود
مرغان آبی را چه غم تا غم خورد مرغ هوا
ما رخ ز شکر افروخته با موج و بحر آموخته
زان سان که ماهی را بود دریا و طوفان جان فزا
ای شیخ ما را فوطه ده وی آب ما را غوطه ده
ای موسی عمران بیا بر آب دریا زن عصا
این باد اندر هر سری سودای دیگر می‌پزد
سودای آن ساقی مرا باقی همه آن شما
دیروز مستان را به ره بربود آن ساقی کله
امروز می در می‌دهد تا برکند از ما قبا
ای رشک ماه و مشتری با ما و پنهان چون پری
خوش خوش کشانم می‌بری آخر نگویی تا کجا
هر جا روی تو با منی ای هر دو چشم و روشنی
خواهی سوی مستیم کش خواهی ببر سوی فنا
عالم چو کوه طور دان ما همچو موسی طالبان
هر دم تجلی می‌رسد برمی‌شکافد کوه را
یک پاره اخضر می‌شود یک پاره عبهر می‌شود
یک پاره گوهر می‌شود یک پاره لعل و کهربا
ای طالب دیدار او بنگر در این کهسار او
ای کُه چه باد خورده‌ای ما مست گشتیم از صدا
ای باغبان ای باغبان در ما چه درپیچیده‌ای
گر برده‌ایم انگور تو تو برده‌ای انبان ما

 

“Whoever sees his face”

Translation:

Lovers, lovers, whoever sees His face, his reason becomes distraught, his habit confounded.

He becomes a seeker of the Beloved, his shop is ruined, he runs headlong like water in his river.

He becomes in love like Majnun, head spinning like the sky; whoever is sick like this, his remedy is unobtainable.

The angels prostrate before him who became God’s dust, the Turk of heaven becomes the servant of him who has become His Hindu [slave].

His love places the aching heart on his hand and smells it; how did not that rejoice which has become His.

Many a breast He has wounded, many a sleep He has barred; that magical glance of His has bound the hand of the magicians.

Kings are all His beggars, beauties clippings of His [beauty], lions drop their tail on the earth before His street-dogs.

Glance once at heaven, at the fortress of the spiritual ones, so many lamps and torches on His towers and battlements.

The keeper of His fortress is Universal Reason, that king without drum and tabor; he alone climbs that fortress who no longer possesses his own ownness.

Moon, have you seen His face and stolen beauty from Him? Night, have you seen His hair? No, no, not one hair of Him.

This night wears black as a sign of mourning, like a black- robed widow whose husband has gone into the earth.

Night makes a pretense and imposture; secretly it makes merry, its eye closes no eye, its brow is set awry.

Night, I do not believe this lamenting of yours; you are running like a ball before the mallet of fate.

He who is struck by His mallet carries the ball of happiness, he runs headlong like the heart about His street.

Our cheeks are like saffron through love of His tulip bed, our heart is sunk like a comb in His hair.

Where is love’s back? Love is all face, back and face belong to this side, His side is only face.

He is free of form, His business is all form-fashioning. O heart, you will never transcend form because you are not single with Him.

The heart of every pure man knows the voice of the heart from the voice of clay; this is the roaring of a lion in the form of His deer.

What is woven by the hand of the One becomes revealed, becomes revealed from the workmanship of the weaver and his hand and shuttle.

O souls His shuttle, O our qibla His street, heaven is the sweeper of this street, this earth its mistress.

My heart is burning with envy for Him, my eyes have be- come His water bags: how should He be wet with tears, while the sea is up to His knees?

This love has become my guest, struck a blow against my soul; a hundred compassions and a hundred blessings to his hand and arm!

I flung away hand and foot and had done with searching; my searching is dead before His searching.

Often I said, “O heart, be silent to this heart’s passion”; my ha is useless when my heart hears His hu.

 

Translation from Arberry, Mystical Poems of Rumi

Original:

ای عاشقان ای عاشقان آن کس که بیند روی او
شوریده گردد عقل او آشفته گردد خوی او
معشوق را جویان شود دکان او ویران شود
بر رو و سر پویان شود چون آب اندر جوی او
در عشق چون مجنون شود سرگشته چون گردون شود
آن کو چنین رنجور شد نایافت شد داروی او
جان ملک سجده کند آن را که حق را خاک شد
ترک فلک چاکر شود آن را که شد هندوی او
عشقش دل پردرد را بر کف نهد بو می‌کند
چون خوش نباشد آن دلی کو گشت دستنبوی او
بس سینه‌ها را خست او بس خواب‌ها را بست او
بسته‌ست دست جادوان آن غمزه جادوی او
شاهان همه مسکین او خوبان قراضه چین او
شیران زده دم بر زمین پیش سگان کوی او
بنگر یکی بر آسمان بر قلعه روحانیان
چندین چراغ و مشعله بر برج و بر باروی او
شد قلعه دارش عقل کل آن شاه بی‌طبل و دهل
بر قلعه آن کس بررود کو را نماند اوی او
ای ماه رویش دیده‌ای خوبی از او دزدیده‌ای
ای شب تو زلفش دیده‌ای نی نی و نی یک موی او
این شب سیه پوش است از آن کز تعزیه دارد نشان
چون بیوه‌ای جامه سیه در خاک رفته شوی او
شب فعل و دستان می‌کند او عیش پنهان می‌کند
نی چشم بندد چشم او کژ می‌نهد ابروی او
ای شب من این نوحه گری از تو ندارم باوری
چون پیش چوگان قدر هستی دوان چون گوی او
آن کس که این چوگان خورد گوی سعادت او برد
بی‌پا و بی‌سر می‌دود چون دل به گرد کوی او
ای روی ما چون زعفران از عشق لاله ستان او
ای دل فرورفته به سر چون شانه در گیسوی او
مر عشق را خود پشت کو سر تا به سر روی است او
این پشت و رو این سو بود جز رو نباشد سوی او
او هست از صورت بری کارش همه صورتگری
ای دل ز صورت نگذری زیرا نه‌ای یک توی او
داند دل هر پاک دل آواز دل ز آواز گل
غریدن شیر است این در صورت آهوی او
بافیده ی دست احد پیدا بود پیدا بود
از صنعت جولاهه‌ای وز دست وز ماکوی او
ای جان ما ماکوی او ، وی قبله ی ما کوی او
فراش این کو آسمان وین خاک کدبانوی او
سوزان دلم از رشک او گشته دو چشمم مشک او
کی ز آب چشم او تر شود ای بحر تا زانوی او
این عشق شد مهمان من زخمی بزد بر جان من
صد رحمت و صد آفرین بر دست و بر بازوی او
من دست و پا انداختم وز جست و جو پرداختم
ای مرده جست و جوی من در پیش جست و جوی او
 من چند گفتم های دل خاموش از این سودای دل
سودش ندارد های من چون بشنود دل هوی او

 

“Enjoy every moment of life”

 

Original:

عیش‌هاتان نوش بادا هر زمان ای عاشقان
وز شما كان شكر باد این جهان ای عاشقان
نوش و جوش عاشقان تا عرش و تا كرسی رسید
برگذشت از عرش و فرش این كاروان ای عاشقان
از لب دریا چه گویم لب ندارد بحر جان
برفزوده‌ست از مكان و لامكان ای عاشقان
ما مثال موج‌ها اندر قیام و در سجود
تا بدید آید نشان از بی‌نشان ای عاشقان
گر كسی پرسد كیانید ای سراندازان شما
هین بگوییدش كه جان جان جان ای عاشقان
گر كسی غواص نبود بحر جان بخشنده است
كو همی‌بخشد گهرها رایگان ای عاشقان
این چنین شد وان چنان شد خلق را در حقه كرد
بازرستیم از چنین و از چنان ای عاشقان
ما رمیت اذ رمیت از شكارستان غیب
می جهاند تیرهای بی‌كمان ای عاشقان
چون ز جست و جوی دل نومید گشتم آمدم
خفته دیدم دل ستان با دلستان ای عاشقان
گفتم ای دل خوش گزیدی دل بخندید و بگفت
گل ستاند گل ستان از گلستان ای عاشقان
زیر پای من گل است و زیر پاهاشان گل است
چون بكوبم پا میان منكران ای عاشقان
خرما آن دم كه از مستی جانان جان ما
می نداند آسمان از ریسمان ای عاشقان
طرفه دریایی معلق آمد این دریای عشق
نی به زیر و نی به بالا نی میان ای عاشقان
تا بدید آمد شعاع شمس تبریزی ز شرق
جان مطلق شد زمین و آسمان ای عاشقان

 

 

And this poem by Amir Hushang Ebtahaj that begins in the same way:

 

 

 

Original:

ای عاشقان، ای عاشقان پیمانه ها پر خون کنید
وز خون دل چون لاله ها رخساره ها گلگون کنید
آمد یکی آتش سوار، بیرون جهید از این حصار
تا بردمد خورشید نو شب را ز خود بیرون کنید
آن یوسف چون ماه را از چاه غم بیرون کشید
در کلبه ی احزان چرا این ناله ی محزون کنید
از چشم ما آیینه ای در پیش آن مه رو نهید
آن فتنه ی فتانه را برخویشتن مفتون کنید
دیوانه چون طغیان کند زنجیر و زندان بشکند
او زلف لیلی حلقه ای در گردن مجنون کنید
دیدم به خواب نیمه شب خورشید و مه را لب به لب
تعبیر این خواب عجب، ای صبح خیزران، چون کنید؟
نوری برای دوستان، دودی به چشم دشمنان
من دل بر آتش می نهم، این هیمه را افزون کنید
زین تخت و تاج سرنگون تا کی رود سیلاب خون؟
این تخت را ویران کنید، این تاج را وارون کنید
چندین که از خم در سبو خون دل ما می رود
ای شاهدان بزم کین پیمانه ها پرخون کنید

 

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 upon 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

 

Emily Dickinson

Unable are the Loved to die
For Love is Immortality
Nay, it is Deity—

 

Unable they that love—to die
For Love reforms Vitality
Into Divinity

 

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.

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

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

 

The Iwan of Chosroes

The Iwan of Chosroes in Iraq is the only visible structure remaining of the Sassanid capital of Ctesphion (Madā’in in Arabic), about 35 km south of present-day Baghdad. Its Iwan, or arch, the largest vault of unreinforced brickwork in the world, is considered an architectural marvel. Possibly constructed during the reign of Anushirwan (Chosroes I) c 540 AD, the ruins of this palace have served as inspiration for many poets, particularly due to Islamic legends that this Iwan cracked upon the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, signaling the emergence of Islam as a new empire and civilization that would replace that of the Sassanids.

Below are three of the most famous poems inspired by these ruins. The first, written by the Senegalese Sufi shaykh, Ibrahim Niasse, upon his visit to the site in 1960, references many of the miraculous legends surrounding the Prophet’s birth and life; it is a celebration of the coming of the spiritual reality of the Prophet Muhammad into the world, eclipsing all other temporal power, and representing the miraculous, but inevitable triumph of truth, justice and spiritual authority over seemingly invincible political authority and power. The second, by the Persian poet al-Khaqānī, inspired by his visit to the site on his way back from ḥajj, is one of the most-celebrated Persian qasidas and takes the ruins as a moralizing reminder of the transience of power, wealth and glory, and the inevitable march of time which tramples all underfoot. The third, and oldest of these poems is by the ‘Abbasid court poet al-Buḥturī, and is a complex and vibrant celebration of the glory of the Sassanid kings, an appropriation and alliance of their civilization and time with that of the poet, and a textured reflection on memory, time, decay, and renewal. Whereas al-Buḥturī’s poem is largely celebratory of the memory of bygone glory and nobility, Khāqāni’s verse emphasizes its transience and evanescence, and the moral renewal such contemplation can provoke (as described in Qur’an 3:137, 6:6, 30:9, 40:21, 40:82, 44:25 etc.), and Niasse’s shorter, more straightforward and repetitive poem takes the ruins as a reminder of the glory of the spiritual reality of the Prophet and the once, future, and always victory of the truth over earthly power. All three poems are filled with literary allusions, creative and evocative imagery, literary devices, and profound musicality, as you can hear in the recordings below.

 

 

Ibrahim Niasse (d. 1975)

Translation:

Was it Chosroes’ Iwan that was crushed, heralding
            The emergence of the Prophet and Chosroes’ evanescence?
O Chosroes Anushirvan, when Muhammad came with
            His greatest signs, was it your castle that he saw?[1]
O Chosroes Anushirvan, when Muhammad came
            Did the rivers run dry? Or did they gush forth?
O Chosroes Anushirvan, when Muhammad came
            Did not the Magi come to you extolling him?
O Chosroes Anushirvan, did not Muhammad come
            Reciting, reminding, warning and giving glad tidings?
While the idols had prostrated to God, speaking [of his coming]
            And the soothsayers had told of what was hidden?
Greetings of peace to the light of God that
            Overshadowed, by his lights, the lights of Chosroes and Caesar
Greetings of peace to he who brought, while he was in Mecca
            A light by which Chosroes’ Iwan was cracked
Greetings of peace to being’s secret and its mystery
            For God’s alone is what is more exalted, and precious, and dazzling
Greetings of peace to he who came, while existence, all of it
            Was darkness, and from his lights it was illumined
Greetings of peace to him from a lovelorn servant
            In Baghdad, exhausted from having spent the night in sleepless contemplation
So he who razed this castle while he was a child in Mecca
            did not leave behind any appearance of that infidelity
So he who razed this castle while he was in Mecca
            He will demolish the castles of infidelity whenever he is remembered
Upon him be the blessings of God and then His peace too
            For I see that the lot of Muslims is abundant fortune
Upon him be the blessings of God and then His peace too
            And the share of the enemies of religion is a scourge of destruction

 

[1] An allusion to a miracle of the Prophet at the Battle of the Trench: when attempting to split a rock while digging a trench to protect the Medinan community, the Prophet’s three blows produced three flashes of light by which he reported that he saw three landmarks: the palace of Chosroes, the castles of the Yemen and those of Syria, each representing an opening of a direction for the spread of Islam (East, South, and North/West).

 

Original:

أإيوان كسرى هل دهاك وأنذرا        بروز نيبيّي إنّ كسرى تقهقرا
أكسرى أنوشروان جاء محمّد         بآياته الكبرى وقصرك أبصرا
أكسرى أنوشروان جاء محمّد        وهل قطع الأنهار أم هل تفجّرا
أكسرى أنوشروان جاء محمّد           وهل قد أتاك الموبذان مكبّرا
أكسرى أنوشروان جاء محمّد               يرتِّل ذكراً منذراً ومبشّرا
وقد سجد المعبود لله ناطقاً            وقد أبنأ الكهان ما كان مضمرا
سلام على نور الإله الذي خبت          بأنواره أنوار كسرى وقيصرا
سلام على من جاءوهو بمكّةٍ               بنورٍ به إيوان كسرى تكسّرا
سلام على سرّ الوجود ورمزه             فللّه ما أعلى وأغلى وأبهارا
سلام على من جاء والكون كلّه             ظلام ومن أنواره قد  تنوّرا
سلام عليه من خديمٍ متيّمٍ                      بببداد وهناً لا ينام تفكّرا
فمن هدّ هذا القصر وهو بمكّةٍ          وليداً فلا يبقي لذا الكفر مظهرا
ومن هدّ هذا القصر وهوبمكةٍ           سيهدم قصر الكفر حين تذكّرا
عليه صلاة الله ثمّ سلامه                    وأبصر حظّ المسلمين موفّرا
عليه صلاة الله ثمّ سلامه                  يلقى عدوّ الدّين سوطاً مدمّرا

al-Khَāqānī (d. 1199)

Translation:

(By Julie Meisami, from Qasida Poetry in Islamic Africa and Asia: Eulogy’s Bounty, Stefan Sperl and Christopher Shackle, eds. (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 163-169.

Awake!, O heart that sees portents, reflect on what you see,
Awake! Consider Madaʾin’s great arch as admonition’s mirror.
Leaving the banks of the Tigris, alight at Madaʾin,
on its ground let spill from your eyes, another Tigris
The very Tigris weeps a hundred Tigrises of blood; you’d say
Heat makes its bloody torrent pour fire from its lashes
Consider how the Tigris’ lips have caused its mouth to foam;
You’d say its fevered sighs of pain have caused its lips to blister
Consider how the fire of grief is grilling Tigris’ liver;
Have you ever heard of water that was roasted by a fire?
Again and again weep over the Tigris; give it alms from your eyes,
Even though the Tigris itself bestows its alms on the seashore.
Should the Tigris mingle its lips’ cold sighs with the burning of its heart,
Half of it would freeze over, half become a fiery grate
When the Aivan’s chain of justice broke apart in Madā’in,
The maddened Tigris was enchained, its waves twisted like chains
Now and again, in the tongue of tears, call out to the Aivan
In the hope that with your heart’s ear you will hear an answer from it.
Each palace battlement will give you counsel again and again;
Heed the advice of the battlement’s head from the bottom of your heart.
It says: ‘You are of earth and we are now your earth; so take
Two or three steps upon us; scatter two or three tears as well.
‘Truly the owl’s lamenting wail has caused our heads to ache.
‘Pour rosewater from your eyes to ease our headache and grief.
Indeed why should you marvel so? For in the world’s pleasance
‘The owl follows the nightingale; laments follow sweet songs.’
‘We are the court of justice, yet have suffered this injustice.
‘Say, what reversal will befall the castles of the unjust!’
‘You’d say this Aivan, lofty as the sky, had been overturned by command
Of the turning of the sky itself, or of Him who turns the sky.
You laugh at my eyes, as if to say, ‘What does he weep for here?’
But in this place they weep at those eyes that are not moved to tears
The white-haired crone of Madā’in is no less than Kufa’s old woman
The narrow chamber of the one is not less than the other’s oven
Do you know then what you must do? Make Madā’in equal Kufa
Make your breast a fiery oven; seek the flood from your eyes.
This is that very Aivan where, from the impress of men’s faces,
The dirt of its threshold was transformed to an idol-temple’s wall
This is that very court wherein, of the rulers of the world
Babylon’s king was a Daylami, Turkestan’s king, and Indian
This is that very portico whose grandeur was so awesome
That the lion of its hangings assaulted Lion’s heaven
Imagine it is that very age, and look, with reflection’s eye
On the chain before the court, the splendid assembly in the field
Dismount from your horse, and place your face upon the mat of earth and see
How great Nu’man is checkmated beneath its elephants’ feet
Nay, nay: see, like Nu’man, those elephant-felling kings themselves
Slain by the elephants Night and Day in the winding turns of time
How many an elephant-slaying king has been slain with a king-elephant
By the chess-player of his destiny, mated, deprived of hope.
The earth is drunk, for it has drunken deep–instead of wine—
From the cup of Hurmuz’s skull, the heart’s blood of Anushirvan
So many words of counsel then showed plainly in his crown
That now a hundred fledgling kites are hidden in his brains.
Kisrā and his golden citron, Parviz and his golden quince
Were swiftly carried off the wind, became as one with the earth
Parviz at every feast would scatter herbs of gold; transform
his golden carpet into a garden sprouting golden herbs
Parviz has vanished now; speak less of that vanished one.
where now is his feast, his golden herbs? Go and recite ‘How many…’
You ask, ‘Where have they gone, those crowned heads?’ Behold!
The belly of the earth swells pregnant with them ever more.
The pregnant earth takes long in giving birth. Indeed,
The task of giving birth is difficult, though impregnation’s easy.
It is the blood in Shirin’s heart, that wine the vine gives forth;
It is Parviz’s clay that forms the jar its grower offers
How many tyrants’ bodies have been swallowed by the earth?
No matter, she of greedy eyes is still not sated by them.
She mixes rouge to paint her face from the blood of children’s hearts,
This aged crone with whitened brows, this mother with black dugs
Khāqānī: like a beggar, seek admonition from this court,
That at your door, hereafter, the Khāqān [regal] will seek charity.
If today a traveller seeks provision from the sultan,
Tomorrow at the traveller’s door the sultan will seek provision.
If gifts from every town provision Mecca’s road,
Then you take Madā’in’s provision as a gift for Sharvan’s sake
Everyone takes from Mecca prayer-beads of Hamza’s clay
Then you take from Madā’in prayer-beads from the clay of Salman.
Look on this sea of insight, don’t pass by without a drink;
One cannot leave the shore of such a sea with thirsting lips.
When friends return from journeying, they bring with them a gift.
This bit of poetry is a gift brought for the hearts of friends.
Observe then in this poem what magic he displays,
The dead man with a Christlike heart, the madman with a wise soul.

!هان! ای دل ِ عبرتبین! از دیده عبر کن! هان
ایوان ِ مدائن را آیینهی عبرت دان!
یکره زِ لب ِ دجله منزل به مدائن کن
وَ ز دیده دُوُم دجله بر خاک ِ مدائن ران
خود دجله چنان گرید صد دجلهی خون گویی
کاز گرمی ِ خوناباش آتش چکد از مژگان
بینی که لب ِ دجله چون کف به دهان آرد؟
گوئی زِ تَف ِ آهاش لب آبله زد چندان
از آتش ِ حسرت بین بریان جگر ِ دجله
خود آب شنیدهستی کآتش کُنَد اَش بریان
بر دجله گِری نونو! وَ ز دیده زکاتاش ده
گرچه لب ِ دریا هست از دجله زکاتاِستان
گر دجله درآمیزد باد ِ لب و سوز ِ دل
نیمی شود افسرده، نیمی شود آتشدان
تا سلسلهی ایوان بگسست مدائن را
در سلسله شد دجله، چون سلسله شد پیچان
گهگه به زبان ِ اشک آواز ده ایوان را
تا بو که به گوش ِ دل پاسخ شنوی ز ایوان
دندانهی هر قصری پندی دهد اَت نو نو
پند ِ سر ِ دندانه بشنو زِ بن ِ دندان
گوید که تو از خاکی، ما خاک تو ایم اکنون
گامی دو سه بر ما نه و اشکی دو سه هم بفشان
از نوحهی جغدالحق مائیم به درد ِ سر
از دیده گلابی کن، درد ِ سر ِ ما بنشان
آری! چه عجب داری؟ کاندر چمن ِ گیتی
جغد است پی ِ بلبل؛ نوحهست پی ِ الحان
ما بارگه ِ دادیم این رفت ستم بر ما
بر قصر ِ ستمکاران تا خود چه رسد خذلان
گوئی که نگون کردهست ایوان ِ فلکوش را
حکم ِ فلک ِ گردان؟ یا حکم ِ فلکگردان؟
بر دیدهی من خندی کاینجا زِ چه میگرید!
خندند بر آن دیده کاینجا نشود گریان
نی زال ِ مدائن کم از پیرزن ِ کوفه
نه حجرهی تنگ ِ این کمتر زِ تنور ِ آن
دانی چه؟ مدائن را با کوفه برابر نه!
از سینه تنوری کن وَ ز دیده طلب طوفان
این است همان ایوان کاز نقش ِ رخ ِ مردم
خاک ِ در ِ او بودی دیوار ِ نگارستان
این است همان درگَه کاورا زِ شهان بودی
دیلم مَلِک ِ بابِل، هندو شه ِ ترکستان
این است همان صفّه کاز هیبت ِ او بردی
بر شیر ِ فلک حمله شیر ِ تن ِ شادروان
پندار همان عهد است. از دیدهی فکرت بین!
در سلسلهی درگَه، در کوکبهی میدان
از اسب پیاده شو، بر نَطع ِ زمین رُخ نه
زیر ِ پی ِ پیلاش بین شهمات شده نُعمان
نی! نی! که چو نُعمان بین پیلافکن ِ شاهان را
پیلان ِ شب و روز اَش کُشته به پی ِ دوران
ای بس شه ِ پیلافکن کافکند به شهپیلی
شطرنجی ِ تقدیر اَش در ماتگَه ِ حرمان
مست است زمین. زیرا خوردهست بهجایِ می
در کاس ِ سر ِ هرمز، خون ِ دل ِ نوشروان
بس پند که بود آنگه بر تاج ِ سر اَش پیدا
صد پند ِ نو است اکنون در مغز ِ سر اَش پنهان
کسری و ترنج ِ زر، پرویز و ترهی زرّین
بر باد شده یکسر، با خاک شده یکسان
پرویز به هر خوانی زرّینتره گستردی
کردی زِ بساط ِ زر، زرّینتره را بستان
پرویز کنون گم شد! زآن گمشده کمتر گو
زرّین تره کو برخوان؟ رو «کَم تَرَکوا» برخوان
گفتی که کجا رفتند آن تاجوران اینک؟
ز ایشان شکم ِ خاک است آبستن ِ جاویدان
بس دیر همیزاید آبستن ِ خاک، آری
دشوار بود زادن، نطفه ستدن آسان
خون ِ دل ِ شیرین است آن می که دهد رَزبُن
ز آب و گِل ِ پرویز است آن خُم که نهد دهقان
چندین تن ِ جبّاران کاین خاک فرو خوردهست
این گرسنهچشم آخر هم سیر نشد ز ایشان
از خون ِ دل ِ طفلان سرخاب ِ رخ آمیزد
این زال ِ سپید ابرو، وین مام ِ سیهپستان
خاقانی ازین درگه دریوزهی عبرت کن
تا از در ِ تو زینپس دریوزه کند خاقان
امروز گر از سلطان رندی طلبد توشه
فردا زِ در ِ رندی توشه طلبد سلطان
گر زاد ِ ره ِ مکه تحفهست به هر شهری
تو زاد ِ مدائن بَر تحفه ز پی ِ شروان
هرکس برَد از مکّه سبحه زِ گِل ِ جمره
پس تو ز مدائن بَر سبحه ز گل ِ سلمان
این بحر ِ بصیرت بین! بیشربت از او مگذر
کاز شطّ ِ چنین بحری لبتشنه شدن نتوان
اِخوان که زِ راه آیند، آرند رهآوردی
این قطعه رهآورد است از بهر ِ دل ِ اِخوان
بنگر که در این قطعه چه سحر همی راند
معتوه ِ مسیحا دل، دیوانهیِ عاقل جان

From:

 https://ganjoor.net/khaghani/divankh/gha…

Al-Buḥturī (d. 897)

Translation:

(by Samer Ali from Reinterpreting al-Buḥturī’s “Īwān Kisrā Ode”: Tears of Affection for the Cycles of History, Journal of Arabic Literature , 2006, Vol. 37, No. 1 (2006), pp. 65-67)

I saved myself from what defiles my self
and rose above the largess of every craven coward.
I endured when Time shook me,
seeking misery and reversal for me.
Mere subsistence from the dregs of life have I.
Days have rationed it inadequately.
Stark is the difference between him who drinks at will twice a day
and him who drinks every fourth day.
As if Time’s inclinations are predicated on the vilest of the vile.
My purchase of Iraq was a swindler’s ploy,
after my sale of Syria, a trickster’s sale.
Do not test me endlessly about my knowledge
of these ordeals to deny my misfortunes.
You once knew me as a man of qualities,
disdaining petty matters, undaunted.
But the scorn of my cousin,
after heartfelt kindness and amity, disturbs me.
When I am scorned, I am likely
to be seen rising not where I spent the night.
Sorrows attend my saddle. I direct
my stout she-camel to Mada’in [Ctesiphon].
I console myself for such luck
and find solace in a site for the Sasanians, ruined.
Perpetual misfortune reminds me of them;
misfortune makes one remember and forget.
They live the good life, shaded by guarded peaks,
which tire and baffle the gaze.
Its gates, on Qabq Mountain, are secure, extending to the uplands of Khilat and Muks.
The abodes are unlike the ruins of Su’da,
in a wasteland, bare and plantless.
Heroic feats-were it not for my partiality-the
feats of ‘Ans and ‘Abs would not surpass them.
Time despoiled their era of vitality. It
devolved to worn-out rags.
As if the Arched Hall, for lack of humanity, and sheer abandonment,
is a grave’s edifice.
 If you saw it, you would know that the nights
are holding a funeral in it after a wedding.
It would inform you of a troop’s marvels,
their record does not gray with obscurity.
When you see a panel of the Battle at Antioch,
you tremble among Byzantines and Persians.
The Fates stand still, while Anushirvan
leads the ranks onward under the banner
In a deep green robe over yellow.
It appears dyed in saffron.
 Men in combat are under his command.
Some are quiet and hushed.
Some are intense, rushing forward with spear-points.
Others are cautious of them, using shields.
The eye depicts them very much alive:
they have between them speechless signs.
My wonder about them boils till
my hand explores them with a touch.
Abu al-Ghawth [poet’s son] had poured me a drink without stinting,
for the two armies, a draft
of wine. You would think it a star
lighting the night or sun’s luscious kiss.
You see, when it renews joy and
contentment for the drinker, one sip after the other,
That it was poured into glasses-into every heart.
It is beloved to every soul.
I fancied Kisra Aparviz handing me
a drink and al-Balahbadh [king’s minstrel] my companion.
A dream that closes my eye to doubt?
Or desire that alters my fancy and guesses?
As if the Arched Hall, by its wondrous craftsmanship,
were hollowed in the cliff of a mountain side.
It would be thought, from its sadness-
to the eyes of morning and evening visitors-
Distraught like a man torn from the company of loved ones,
or distressed by the breaking of nuptials.
Nights have reversed its luck. There, Jupiter
whiled the night but as a star of misfortune.
It shows hardiness, but the cruel weight of Time
is fixed upon it.
It’s no stigma that it was ravished of
silken carpets, stripped of damask drapes.
Towering, its ramparts rise high,
It looms over the summits of Ridwd and Quds.
Donning white clouds, you do not
glimpse of them but cotton tunics.
It is not quite known: Is it the work of humans for jinn
to live in or the work of jinn for humans?
Yet, as I gaze upon it, it attests
its builder is among kings not the least a cipher.
As though I see generals and troops,
as far as the eye can see.
As though foreign embassies suffer in the sun.
They are dismayed standing behind crowds, kept waiting.
As though minstrels in the Hall’s center
croon lyrics between plum-like lips.
As though the gathering were the day before yesterday
and the hurry of departure just yesterday.
As though the seeker of their trail could hope
to catch up with them the morning of the fifth day.
It was built up for joy forever, but
their domain is for condolence and consolation now.
It deserves that I lend it my tears,
tears committed to affection, devoted.
I feel this, though the abode is not my abode
-by blood-nor this race my race.
Beyond their graces toward my people,
they seeded, out of their goodness, fine sprouts.
They backed our dominion and buttressed its might
with warriors under armor, zealous.
They helped against Aryat’s regiment
by stabbing chests and spearing.
I find myself thereafter completely enamored
by noble men of every race and origin.

Original:

صنت نفسي عما يدنس نفسي *** وَتَرَفَّعتُ عَن جَدا كُلِّ جِبسِ
وَتَماسَكتُ حينَ زَعزَعَني الدَهـ *** ـرُ التِماسًا مِنهُ لِتَعسي وَنَكسي
بُلَغٌ مِن صُبابَةِ العَيشِ عِندي *** طَفَّفَتها الأَيّامُ تَطفيفَ بَخسِ
وَبَعيدٌ مابَينَ وارِدِ رِفْهٍ *** عَلَلٍ شُربُهُ وَوارِدِ خِمسِ
وَكَأَنَّ الزَمانَ أَصبَحَ مَحمو *** لًا هَواهُ مَعَ الأَخَسِّ الأَخَسِّ
وَاشتِرائي العِراقَ خُطَّةُ غَبنٍ *** بَعدَ بَيعي الشَآمَ بَيعَةَ وَكسِ
لاتَرُزني مُزاوِلًا لِاختِباري *** بَعدَ هَذي البَلوى فَتُنكِرَ مَسّي
وَقَديمًا عَهِدَتني ذا هَناتٍ *** آبِياتٍ عَلى الدَنِيّاتِ شُمسِ
وَلَقَد رابَني نُبُوُّ ابنُ عَمّي *** بَعدَ لينٍ مِن جانِبَيهِ وَأُنسِ
وَإِذا ماجُفيتُ كُنتُ جَديرًا *** أَن أَرى غَيرَ مُصبِحٍ حَيثُ أُمسي
حَضَرَت رَحلِيَ الهُمومُ فَوَجَّهـ *** ـتُ إِلى أَبيَضِ المَدائِنِ عَنسي
أَتَسَلّى عَنِ الحُظوظِ وَآسى *** لِمَحَلٍّ مِن آلِ ساسانَ دَرسِ
أَذكَرتِنيهُمُ الخُطوبُ التَوالي *** وَلَقَد تُذكِرُ الخُطوبُ وَتُنسي
وَهُمُ خافِضونَ في ظِلِّ عالٍ *** مُشرِفٍ يَحسِرُ العُيونَ وَيُخسي
مُغلَقٍ بابُهُ عَلى جَبَلِ القَبـ *** ـقِ إِلى دارَتَي خِلاطَ وَمُكسِ
حِلَلٌ لَم تَكن كَأَطلالِ سُعدى *** في قِفارٍ مِنَ البَسابِسِ مُلسِ
وَمَساعٍ لَولا المُحاباةُ مِنّي *** لَم تُطِقها مَسعاةُ عَنسٍ وَعَبسِ
نَقَلَ الدَهرُ عَهدَهُنَّ عَنِ الـ *** ـجِدَّةِ حَتّى رَجَعنَ أَنضاءَ لُبسِ
فَكَأَنَّ الجِرْمازَ مِن عَدَمِ الأُنـ *** ـسِ وَإِخلالِهِ بَنِيَّةُ رَمسِ
لَو تَراهُ عَلِمتَ أَنَّ اللَيالي *** جَعَلَت فيهِ مَأتَمًا بَعدَ عُرسِ
وَهوَ يُنبيكَ عَن عَجائِبِ قَومٍ *** لايُشابُ البَيانُ فيهِم بِلَبسِ
وَإِذا مارَأَيتَ صورَةَ أَنطا *** كِيَّةَ اِرتَعتَ بَينَ رومٍ وَفُرسِ
وَالمَنايا مَواثِلٌ وَأَنوشِر *** وانَ يُزجى الصُفوفَ تَحتَ الدِرَفسِ
في اخضِرارٍ مِنَ اللِباسِ عَلى أَصـ *** ـفَرَ يَختالُ في صَبيغَةِ وَرسِ
وَعِراكُ الرِجالِ بَينَ يَدَيهِ *** في خُفوتٍ مِنهُم وَإِغماضِ جَرسِ
مِن مُشيحٍ يَهوى بِعامِلِ رُمحٍ *** وَمُليحٍ مِنَ السِنانِ بِتُرسِ
تَصِفُ العَينُ أَنَّهُم جِدُّ أَحيا *** ءَ لَهُم بَينَهُم إِشارَةُ خُرسِ
يَغتَلي فيهِم ارتِابي حَتّى *** تَتَقَرّاهُمُ يَدايَ بِلَمسِ
قَد سَقاني وَلَم يُصَرِّد أَبو الغَو *** ثِ عَلى العَسكَرَينِ شَربَةَ خُلسِ
مِن مُدامٍ تَظُنُّها وَهيَ نَجمٌ *** ضَوَّأَ اللَيلَ أَو مُجاجَةُ شَمسِ
وَتَراها إِذا أَجَدَّت سُرورًا *** وَارتِياحًا لِلشارِبِ المُتَحَسّي
أُفرِغَت في الزُجاجِ مِن كُلِّ قَلبٍ *** فَهيَ مَحبوبَةٌ إِلى كُلِّ نَفسِ
وَتَوَهَّمتُ أَنَّ كِسرى أَبَرويـ *** ـزَ مُعاطِيَّ وَالبَلَهبَذَ أُنسي
حُلُمٌ مُطبِقٌ عَلى الشَكِّ عَيني *** أَم أَمانٍ غَيَّرنَ ظَنّي وَحَدسي
وَكَأَنَّ الإيوانَ مِن عَجَبِ الصَنـ *** ـعَةِ جَوبٌ في جَنبِ أَرعَنَ جِلسِ
يُتَظَنّى مِنَ الكَآبَةِ إِذ يَبـ *** ـدو لِعَينَي مُصَبِّحٍ أَو مُمَسّي
مُزعَجًا بِالفِراقِ عَن أُنسِ إِلفٍ *** عَزَّ أَو مُرهَقًا بِتَطليقِ عِرسِ
عَكَسَت حَظُّهُ اللَيالي وَباتَ الـ *** ـمُشتَري فيهِ وَهوَ كَوكَبُ نَحسِ
فَهوَ يُبدي تَجَلُّدًا وَعَلَيهِ *** كَلكَلٌ مِن كَلاكِلِ الدَهرِ مُرسي
لَم يَعِبهُ أَن بُزَّ مِن بُسُطِ الديـ *** ـباجِ وَاستَلَّ مِن سُتورِ الدِّمَقسِ
مُشمَخِّرٌ تَعلو لَهُ شُرُفاتٌ *** رُفِعَت في رُؤوسِ رَضوى وَقُدسِ
لابِساتٌ مِنَ البَياضِ فَما تُبـ *** ـصِرُ مِنها إِلّا غَلائِلَ بُرسِ
لَيسَ يُدرى أَصُنعُ إِنسٍ لِجِنٍّ *** سَكَنوهُ أَم صُنعُ جِنٍّ لِإِنسِ
غَيرَ أَنّي أراه يَشهَدُ أَن لَم *** يَكُ بانيهِ في المُلوكِ بِنُكسِ
فَكَأَنّي أَرى المَراتِبَ وَالقَو *** مَ إِذا ما بَلَغتُ آخِرَ حِسّي
وَكَأَنَّ الوُفودَ ضاحينَ حَسرى *** مِن وُقوفٍ خَلفَ الزِحامِ وَخنسِ
وَكَأَنَّ القِيانَ وَسطَ المَقاصيـ *** ـرِ يُرَجِّعنَ بَينَ حُوٍ وَلُعسِ
وَكَأَنَّ اللِقاءَ أَوَّلَ مِن أَمـ *** ـسٍ وَوَشكَ الفِراقِ أَوَّلَ أَمسِ
وَكَأَنَّ الَّذي يُريدُ اتِّباعًا *** طامِعٌ في لُحوقِهِم صُبحَ خَمسِ
عُمِّرَت لِلسُرورِ دَهرًا فَصارَت *** لِلتَعَزّي رِباعُهُم وَالتَأَسّي
فَلَها أَن أُعينَها بِدُموعٍ *** موقَفاتٍ عَلى الصَبابَةِ حُبسِ
ذاكَ عِندي وَلَيسَت الدارُ داري *** باِقتِرابٍ مِنها وَلا الجِنسُ جِنسي
غَيرَ نُعمى لِأَهلِها عِندَ أَهلي *** غَرَسوا مِن زَكائِها خَيرَ غَرسِ
أَيَّدوا مُلكَنا وَشَدّوا قُواهُ *** بِكُماةٍ تَحتَ السَنَّورِ حُمسِ
وَأَعانوا عَلى كَتائِبِ أَريا *** طَ بِطَعنٍ عَلى النُحورِ وَدَعسِ
وَأَراني مِن بَعدُ أَكلَفُ بِالأَشـ *** ـرافِ طُرًّا مِن كُلِّ سِنخِ وَأُسِّ

Words of Bewilderment…

 

Say: My Lord increase me in knowledge!

قل ربّي زدني علماً

Quran 20:114

 

My Lord increase me in bewilderment in Thee!

ربّي زدني فيك تحيراً

-Saying of the Prophet Muḥammad

Rumi

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment

for cleverness is mere opinion and bewilderment is vision.

زیرکی بفروش و حیرانی بخر

زیرکی ظنست و حیرانی نظر

 

Ibn al-‘Arabi

“Now guidance is that man should be guided to bewilderment, and know that the affair is bewilderment and that bewilderment is unrest and motion, and that motion is life, without stillness and so without death, and is existence without non-existence.”

“And thus there is nothing but bewilderment, shattering one’s vision, although the one who knows what we are saying shall not be bewildered.”

“…Drowned in the sea which the knowledge of God is, and which is bewilderment”

Hafez

As the sprout of bewilderment, your love came
As the perfection of bewilderment, your union came
Many a drowned one, in the ecstasy of union
to whom in the ecstasy itself, bewilderment came
Neither union nor united remain
where the specter of bewilderment came
Show me one heart on his path
in whose face no mole of bewilderment came
From every direction that I listened
the sound of the question of bewilderment came
From head to foot, Hafez’s existence
In love, a sprout of bewilderment became

 

Original:
عشق تو نهال حیرت آمد         وصل تو کمال حیرت آمد
بس غرقه حال وصل کآخر        هم بر سر حال حیرت آمد
یک دل بنما که در ره او     بر چهره نه خال حیرت آمد
نه وصل بماند و نه واصل       آن جا که خیال حیرت آمد
از هر طرفی که گوش کردم            آواز سؤال حیرت آمد
شد منهزم از کمال عزت         آن را که جلال حیرت آمد
سر تا قدم وجود حافظ          در عشق نهال حیرت آمد

 

Ibn al-Fāriḍ

Translation:

Give me an excess of love for you, bewildered
And have mercy on a heart scorched by a glance of your love
And if I ask to see you truly
Then allow me, graciously
And let not your answer be, “Thou shalt not see
O heart, you have promised me to be patient in loving them
So be sure to bear it do not dismay
Passion is life, so die in it lovingly.
 Your duty is to die and be absolved
 My heart, say to those ahead of me, and those behind me,
Whoever has seen the sacrifice of my sorrow
“Follow my example and listen to me
And tell the tale of my love amongst mankind”
I was alone with the Beloved and between us there was
A secret more subtle than the dawn breeze when it blows
And he allowed my eyes a glance
So I became famous, having been unknown before
I was awestruck between his beauty and majesty
And tomorrow, the tongue of my state will explain
Turn your gaze to the beauties of his face,
Where all beauty has been gathered
If all beauty were perfected into one form
on seeing him, it would exclaim [in wonder],
“There is no god but God, and God is greater.”

 

 

Original:
زِدْني بفَرْطِ الحُبّ فيك تَحَيّرا          وارْحَمْ حشىً بلَظَى هواكَ تسعّرا
وإذا سألُتكَ أن أراكَ حقيقةً          فاسمَحْ ولا تجعلْ جوابي لن تَرى
يا قلبُ أنتَ وعدَتني في حُبّهمْ          صَبراً فحاذرْ أن تَضِيقَ وتَضجرا
إنَّ الغرامَ هوَ الحياةُ فمُتْ بِهِ             صَبّاً فحقّك أن تَموتَ وتُعذرا
قُل لِلّذِينَ تقدَّموا قَبلي ومَن        بَعدي ومَن أضحى لأشجاني يَرَى
عني خذوا وبي اقْتدوا وليَ اسمعوا             وتحدّثوا بصَبابتي بَينَ الوَرى
ولقد خَلَوْتُ مع الحَبيب وبَيْنَنَا              سِرٌّ أرَقّ منَ النسيمِ إذا سرى
وأباحَ طَرْفِي نَظْرْةً أمّلْتُها               فَغَدَوْتُ معروفاً وكُنْتُ مُنَكَّرا
فَدُهِشْتُ بينَ جمالِهِ وجَلالِهِ             وغدا لسانُ الحال عنّي مُخْبِرا
فأَدِرْ لِحَاظَكَ في محاسنِ وجْهه            تَلْقَى جميعَ الحُسْنِ فيه مُصَوَّرا
لو أنّ كُلّ الحُسْنِ يكمُلُ صُورةً                    ورآهُ كان مُهَلِّلاً ومُكَبِّر

 

 

Night

“The Night” by Henry Vaughan

 There is in God, some say,
A deep but dazzling darkness, as men here
Say it is late and dusky, because they
             See not all clear.
    O for that night! where I in Him
    Might live invisible and dim!

 

Rumi

Translation:

Truth is the Night of Power,
hidden amid the other nights
so the soul may try each one.
Not all nights are the Night of Power,
yet all nights aren’t empty of it either.

 

Original:

Haqq Shab-e Qadrast dar shab-hâ nehân
tâ konad jân har shabi-râ emtehân
Nah hameh shab-hâ bovad Qadr ay javân
nah hameh shab-hâ bovad khâli az ân

حق شب قدراست در شبها نهان
تا كند جان هر شب را امتهان
نه همه شبها بود قدر اط جوان
نه همه شبها بود خال از ان

 

— Mathnawi II: 2935-2936
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
“Rumi: Daylight”
Threshold Books, 1994

Shabistari

The Rose Garden of Mystery (verses 122-130)

Reason’s light applied to the Essence of Lights
is like the eye of the head looking at the brilliance of the Sun
when the object seen is very close to the eye
The eye is darkened so that it cannot see it
This blackness, if you know it, is the very light of Being
in the land of darkness is the fountain of life
Since the darkness destroys the light of vision
Give up loooking, for this is no place for looking
What connection has dust with the pure world?
Its perception is the inability to perceive perception
What shall I say? since this saying is fine,
“A bright night in the midst of a dark day”
In this place of witnessing, which is the light of manifestation
 I have much to say, but silence is best.

 

Original:

بود نور خرد در ذات انور              به سان چشم سر در چشمه خور
چو مبصر با بصر نزدیک گردد              بصر ز ادراک آن تاریک گردد
سیاهی گر بدانی نور ذات است              به تاریکی درون آب حیات است
سیه جز قابض نور بصر نیست               نظر بگذار کین جای نظر نیست
چه نسبت خاک را با عالم پاک        که ادراک است عجز از درک ادراک
سیه رویی ز ممکن در دو عالم                       جدا هرگز نشد والله اعلم
سواد الوجه فی الدارین درویش                 سواد اعظم آمد بی کم و بیش
چه می‌گویم که هست این نکته باریک              شب روشن میان روز تاریک
در این مشهد که انوار تجلی است           سخن دارم ولی نا گفتن اولی است

 

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Glances of Love

Two of my favorite Nusrat classics, Tumhein Dillagi Bhool and Mast Naszron Say illuminate each other nicely:

Tumhein dillagi bhool

Translation (modified from Sur Street) and transliteration:

Chorus:

Tumhein dillagi bhool jani pare gi
Tumhein dillagi bhool jani pare gi
Muhabbat ki raahon mein aa kar to dekho

You will have to forget about playing games
You will have to forget about playing games
Come into the ways of love and see

 

Tarapne pe mere na phir tum hanso ge
Tarapne pe mere na phir tum hanso ge
Kabhi dil kissi se laga kar to dekho

Then you will not laugh at my torment
Then you will not laugh at my torment
Give your heart to someone once and see

 

Honton ke paas aye hansi, kya majaal hai
Dil ka muamla hai koi dillagi nahin

A smile dare not creep over the lips…
This is a matter of the heart, not a mere game

 

Zakhm pe zakhm kha ke ji
Apne lahoo ke ghont pi
Aah na kar labon ko si
Ishq hai dillagi nahin

Take wound upon wound, yet live
Drink sips of your own blood
Drink sips of your own blood
Let out not a single sigh, seal your lips
This is love, not a game

 

Dil laga kar pata chaley ga tumhein
Aashiqui dillagi nahin hoti

When you have given your heart you will realize
Love is not a game

 

Kuch khel nahin hai ishq ki laag
Paani na samajh ye aag hai aag

Love is not child’s play
Don’t think of it as water, this is fire!

 

Khoon rulaye gi ye lagi dil ki
Khel samjho na dillagi dil ki

It makes you shed bloody tears
Don’t think of it as child’s play

 

Yeh ishq nahin aasaan
Bas itna samajh leejay
Ik aag ka darya hai
Aur doob ke jaana hai

This love is not easy
think of it this way:
It is a river of fire
and to cross you must drown!

 

Wafaaon ki hum se tawaqo nahin hai
Wafaaon ki hum se tawaqo nahin hai
Magar ek baar aazma kar to dekho
Zamanay ko apna bana kar to dekha
Humein bhi tum apna bana kar to dekho

You may not expect me to be faithful
You may not expect me to be faithful
But you have to try me at least once
You gave yourself to the whole world
Now try making me your own!

 

Khuda ke liya chor do ab yeh parda…

Rukh se naqab utha, ke bari der ho gayi
Mahol ko tilaawat-e-quraan kiye hoye
Khuda ke liye chor do ab yeh parda…

For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…
Lift the veil now, it has been long since
the world burst into songs of praise…
For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…

 

Hum na samjhe teri nazron ka taqaza kya hai
Kabhi parda kabhi jalwa yeh tamasha kya hai
Khuda ke liye chor do ab yeh parda…

I couldn’t understand the meaning of your glace
Withdrawn this moment, and open the next, what is this play?
For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…

 

Jan-e-jan hum se uljhan nahin dekhi jaati
Khuda ke liye chor do ab yeh parda…

My darling, I cannot bear to see this struggle now
For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…

 

Khuda ke liya chor do ab yeh parda
Keh hain aaj hum tum nahin ghair koi
Shab-e-wasl bhi hai hijaab iss kadar kyon
Zara rukh se aanchal utha kar to dekho

For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…
For you and I are strangers no more
Why the veil on the night of the union?
Uncover your face and look up now…

 

Jafaaein buhat kien buhat zulm dhaye
Kabhi ik nigah-e-karam iss taraf bhi
Humesha huay dekh kar mujh ko barham
Kissi din zara muskura kar to dekho

So much oppression, so much cruelty
Perhaps a kind glance this way now?
Forever my sight offended you
Perhaps direct a smile my way now?

 

Jo ulfat mein har ek sitam hai gawara
Yeh sab kuch hai paas-e-wafa tum se warna
Satate ho din raat jiss tarha mujh ko
Kissi ghair ko youn sata kar to dekho

In love, I have borne every wound inflicted
All of this out of loyalty to you
The way that you tease me day and night…
Go tease another and see what happens!

 

Agarche kissi baat par woh khafa hain
To acha yehi hai tum apni si kar lo
Woh maanein na mannein yeh marzi hai unki
Magar un ko pur-nam mana kar to dekho

Though she seems upset about something
Perhaps it is better to just move on
To accept me or not, that is her will
But try to convince her with all your passion!

 

Tumhein dillagi bhool jani pare gi
Muhabbat ki raahon mein aa kar to dekho

You will have to forget about playing games
Come into the ways of love and see

 

 

Mast Nazron Se Allah Bacchaye

Translation (from Music from Pakistan and this site)

Entire life spent in splendor, it need not be
Every night of sorrow has a dawn, it need not be
Slumber can arise in a bed of pain, in  the arms of my love, it need not be
Fire is considered by the moths as child’s play, every moth is afraid of its fate, it need not be
A shaykh who prays to god in the mosque, his prostration is effective, it need not be

O God save us from the intoxicated glances! O God save us from the moon-faced ones!
Let any affliction come upon us [but] God save us from the pretty ones.

Don’t let their innocence fool you; don’t let them make you a fool
they rob with just a smile, O God save us from their spells!

Innocent appearance and innocuous talk, but there is a difference between what they say and what they mean
though their face is like that of moon, O God save us from the schemes of their hearts!

In the hearts there is a desire for beautiful companions in heaven, but they show their love of prayers [to the world].
Now, from the likes of the abstinent, O God save us from these “Godly” ones!

In their nature is infidelity, it is known by all and sundry
they beguile even the smart ones, O God save us from the innocuous ones!

Poetry by Nasir Iqbal Maikash

Original (in transliteration):

umr jalwon mein basar ho yeh zarori to nahi
her shab e gham ki sahr ho yeh zarori to nahi
neend to dard ke bistar pe bhi aa sakti hai
unki aaghosh mein sir ho yeh zarori to nahi

aag ko khail patangon ne samajh rakh hai
sub ko anjaam ka dar ho yeh zarori to nahi
shaikh karta hai jo masjid mein khuda ko sajde
iske sajdoon mein asar ho yeh zarori to nahi

Mast nazron se Allah bachaye
Mahjamalon se Allah bachaye
Mast nazron se Allah bachaye
Mahjamalon se Allah bachaye

Har bala sar pe aa jaye lekin
Husn walon se Allah bachaye

Inki maasoomiyat par na jaana
Inke dhoke mein har giz na aana
Loot lete hain yeh muskura kar
In ki chalon se Allah bachaye

Inki maasoomiyat par na jaana
Inke dhoke mein har giz na aana
Loot lete hain yeh muskura kar
Inki chalon se Allah bachaye

Loot lete hain yeh muskura kar
Inki chalon se Allah bachaye
Loot lete hain ye, loot lete hain
Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain

Jalakrukhi dikha kar, muskura kar loot lete hain
Nigao se nigao ko mila kar loot lete hain
Ye atchi pardadaadi hain, ye atchi dilnawazi hain
Hasa kar loot lete hain, rula kar loot lete hain

Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain

Husn waale wafa nahi karte
Ishq waale dagha nahi karte
Zulm karna to inki aadat hain
Ye kisi ka bhala nahi karte

Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Amir is raaste se jo guzrte hain woh kehte hain
Muhalla hain haseeno ka, ke ki basti hain

Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Loot lete hain yeh muskura kar
Inki chalon se Allah bachaye

Inki fitrat mein hain be-wafaai
Jaanti hain ye saari khudaaee
Atche-atcho ko dete hain dhoka
Bhole-bhalo se Allah bachaye

Atche-atcho ko dete hain dhoka
Bhole-bhalo se Allah bachaye
Mast nazron se Allah bachaye
Mahjamalon se Allah bachaye

 

Original (inspired by the above poems)

Forget about your poetry,
forget music, and dance
This love is not a game, my friend
it’s real life, not romance
It’s serious as death again
and twice as hard to stand
Your life is but the bargained price
for stealing just a glance
Your life is but the bargained price
for stealing just a glance

Since my eyes fell on your beauty
Swarms of evil eyes pursued me
I swatted them away like flies
But your one glance shot right through me
They seek my blood, I seek your heart
Because you stole mine so cruelly

Planted ‘neath your balcony
wat’ring flowers with my eyes
chasing storm clouds with my sighs
too weak to live, too strong to die

Waiting for your glance to fall
On me like a guillotine
Setting body and head free
from this wishful, hopeless dream

This love is not a river,
it’s an ocean of fire
a broad desert of ceaseless sighs,
wide skies of vast desire

And there’s no way get across,
it’s too hard to swim down
So keep away from the edge or
plunge in and burn and drown!

The candle flame has hitched a ride
on this moth bound for the sun
Climbing moonbeams to your face
your eyes become my drop’s ocean

Don’t blame me for this smoke
it was you who lit the fire
don’t complain of the heat
it’s my body on the pyre

It’s your fault that I hope, my dear
and you caused all this pain
sweet as it is, please stop playing—
I can’t take this and the blame

I dreamed that I kissed you
and I prayed I’d never wake
I heard that I missed you
and my life I tried to take

but found that you’d beat me to it
My life was yours before I knew it

Don’t leave me stumbling in the dark
With flashes of your lightning smile
Please light my path and guide my ark
have mercy on a heart beguiled!

Let me be your veil, my love
kissing your lips with every breath
Let me be your hair, above
your bright eyes, glinting dark as death

Your eyes are blinding eclipses
within these magic ellipses
See all that was, will be, and is
but only if you hush—listen!

It seems like I’m your shadow
I can’t even get away
so cast me anywhere you will
all I can do is sway

Where you fly is where I run
and where you stop is where I’m through
Waiting for high noon to come
and return me back to you

Beneath your feet is where I’m from
between your finger and your thumb
My heart is spinning, sick, struck dumb
by this love, what I—you’ve become

Forget about your poetry,
forget music, and dance
This love is not a game, my friend
it’s real life, not romance
It’s serious as death again
and twice as hard to stand
Your life is but the bargained price
for stealing just a glance
Your life is but the bargained price
for stealing just a glance

She walks in beauty like the night…

One of my favorite English poems of all time is reminiscent of Sufi poetry about Layla, whose name means “night,” and who symbolizes the beloved Divine Essence/Essence of the Self.

Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

 

 

Rumi
Translation:
 You look through my two eyes, you are closer to me than myself
Your light shines brighter than the moon
Come into the garden so that the glory of the rose garden is humbled
that it may be more beautiful and blooming than a hundred gardens and rosebeds
so that the cedar will hide its height in shame
that the tongue of the lily will declare you more lily than itself
When you are kind, you are the candle of the soul, soft and pliable as wax
When you are aloof, you are more iron than iron
Do no be wild because you will meet her face to face
her charm will make you as cool and pliant as the earth
Throw away your armor and bare your chest at the moment of battle
there is no better protection nor armor than her.
That’s why in every Sufi retreat, all the openings are are sealed shut
so that from your light the house becomes more illumined

 

 

Orignal:
در دو چشم من نشین ای آن که از من منتری
تا قمر را وانمایم کز قمر روشنتری
اندرآ در باغ تا ناموس گلشن بشکند
ز آنک از صد باغ و گلشن خوشتر و گلشنتری
تا که سرو از شرم قدت قد خود پنهان کند
تا زبان اندرکشد سوسن که تو سوسنتری
وقت لطف ای شمع جان مانند مومی نرم و رام
وقت ناز از آهن پولاد تو آهنتری
چون فلک سرکش مباش ای نازنین کز ناز او
نرم گردی چون زمین گر از فلک توسنتری
زان برون انداخت جوشن حمزه وقت کارزار
کز هزاران حصن و جوشن روح را جوشنتری
زان سبب هر خلوتی سوراخ روزن را ببست
کز برای روشنی تو خانه را روشنتری

 

Ibn al-Farid

 

Translation:
Every part of me kissed her veil
With every mouth whose touch held every kiss
If she dissolved my body, she would see in every atom
each and every heart filled with each and every love

 

Original:

ويلثم مني كلّ جزء لثامها
بكلّ فم فى لثمه كلّ قبلة
فلو بسطت جسمي رأت كلّ جوهر
به كلّ قلب فيه كلّ محبة

 

Translation:

If I sought consolation, who would be there to be my guide
when in love, every leader follows my lead?
In my every limb is every yearning for her
and every longing tugs at my reins
As she bends, I imagine every hip she moves
to be a branch in a sand dune topped by the full moon
Mine is every limb filled with every inner core
wherein, when she glances, is embedded every arrow
And if she dissolved my body she would find every atom
every heart inhabited by every human love
In union with her, a year to me is but an instant,
an hour’s separation like a year.
When we met at nightfall, as the twin straight paths
between her dwelling and my tents brought us together,
We moved away a little from the tribe,
avoiding spies and slanderers with their deceitful talk
I spread my cheek upon the ground for her to walk upon
and she said, “Good news, now you may kiss my veil.”
But this my soul did not permit me, jealously
shielding her from me, for higher is my purpose
We passed the night in hope as my wish decreed
and I saw the world my kingdom and time itself my slave.

 

Translation modified from Stefan Sperl’s in Stefan Sperl, C. Shackle, Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa

 

Original:

بمنْ أهتَدي في الحبِّ لو رُمْتُ سَلوَةً
وبي يقتَدي ، في الحبِّ ، كلُّ إمامِ

وفي كلِّ عُضوٍ فيَّ كلُّ صبابَةٍ
إليها ، وشَوْقٍ جَاذِبٍ بِزِمَامي

تَثَنَّتْ ، فَخِلْنا كلَّ عِطْفٍ تهُزُّهُ
قَضيبَ نقاً ، يَعْلُوهُ بَدْرُ تَمامِ

ولي كلُّ عُضوٍ ، فيهِ كلُّ حشىً بها
إذا ما رَنَتْ ، وَقْعٌ لكلِّ سِهامِ

ولوْ بسطتْ جسْمي رأتْ كلَّ جوهرٍ
بهِ كلُّ قلبٍ ، فيهِ كلُّ غَرامِ

وفي وَصْلِها ، عامٌ لدَيَّ كَلَحْظَةٍ
وساعَةُ هِجْرَانٍ عَلَيَّ كَعَامِ

ولمَّا تَلاقَينا عِشاءً ، وضَمَّنا
سواءُ سبيلَيْ دَارِها وخِيامي

ومِلْنا كذا شيئاً عنِ الحيِّ ، حيثُ لا
رَقيبٌ ، ولا وَاشٍ بِزَوْرِ كَلامِ

فرَشْتُ لها خَدِّي ، وِطاءً ، على الثَّرَى
فقالتْ : لكَ البُشرَى بِلَثمِ لِثامي

فما سَمَحَتْ نَفسي بذلِكَ ، غَيْرَةً
على صَوْنِها مِنِّي لِعزِّ مرامي

وبِتْنا ، كما شاءَ اقتراحي ، على المُنى
أرَى المُلكَ مُلكي والزَّمانَ غُلامي

 

Shushtari

Translation:

You seek Layla, but she reveals herself within you
You think she’s other, but she’s not other than you
And that’s a madness that is apparent to the cult of lovers
So be careful, for otherness is the essence of being cut off
Don’t you see how her beauty envelops you?
She disappears only when you reject part of yourself
“Come close to me,” you say to she who is your All
And when she loves you, she leads you to yourself
Meeting her is bliss beyond description
and none reach her, save those who see meaning without forms
I was so in love with her that I would have vanished in her love
had she not sworn that I only obey her
I concealed her from people with fantasy
After having revealed her, truly, inside my cloak.
I hid her from myself, with the robe of my worlds,
And from my envy, out of the severity of my jealousy
O Dazzling beauty! Should the light of your face
Touch the eyes of a blind man, he would see every atom
She is adorned with each and every charm and grace of beauty
And wherever she appears, she is desired by those who love.

 

Original:

أَتَطلُبُ لَيلى وَهيَ فيكَ تَجَلَّت                  وَتَحسَبُها غَيراً وَغَيرُكَ لَيسَتِ

فَذابلُهُ في مِلَّةِ الحُبِّ ظاهِرٌ                   فَكُن فَطِناً فَالغيرُ عَينُ القَطيعَةِ

أَلَم تَرَها أَلقَت عَلَيكَ جَمالَها               وَلَو لَم تَقُم بِالذاتِ مِنكَ اِضمَحَلَّتِ

تَقولُ لَها اُدنُ وَهيَ كُلَّك ثُمَّ إِن                    حَبَتكَ بِوَصلٍ أَوهَمَتكَ تَدَلَّتِ

عَزيزٌ لِقاها لا يَنالُ وِصالَها                 سِوى مَن يَرى مَعنىً بِغَيرِ هَوِيَّةِ

كَلِفت بِها حَتّى فَنِيتُ بِحُبِّها                       فَلَو أَقسَمَت أَنّيَ إِيّاها لَبَرَّتِ

وَغالَطتُ فيها الناسَ بِالوَهمِ بَعدَما                      تَبَيَّنتها حَقّاً بِداخِلِ بُردَتي

وَغَطَّيتُها عَنّي بِثَوبِ عَوالِمي                 وَعَن حاسِدي فيها لِشِدَّةِ غيرَتي

بَديعَة حُسنٍ أَو بَدا نورُ وَجهِها                 إِلى أَكمَهٍ أَضحى يَرى كُلَّ ذَرَّةِ

تحلّت بأنواع الجمال بأسرها                  فهام بها أهل الهوى حيثُ حلّت