Sana’i and Hafez Bilingual Poems (Molamma’āt)

 

One of Hafez’s Molamma’āt (mixed Persian and Arabic) ghazals illustrates not only the unique transformation of Arabic prosody in Persian poetry, but also Hafez’s unique gift for copying, transforming, and improving the verses from previous ghazals (in this case a ghazal by the seminal master of the ghazal, Sanā’ī):

Sana’ī

Translation:

Last night a letter arrived unexpectedly from my beloved.
She said: “My heart has seen the pangs of the resurrection in being
parted from you.”
I said: “Does your loving heart have some sign of suffering?”
She said: “Are not the tears in my eye enough of a sign for
you?”
She said: “What are you planning?” I said: “A journey.”
She said: “Go in health, happiness and safety?”
I said: “You are not trustworthy.” She said: “Test me!”
[I replied:] ” Whoever tests an experienced person will surely regret it.”
I said: “Farewell! You shall not come and conquer my breast.”
She said: “So you want union with me in secret? No, by grace!”
She said: “Take hold of my tresses!” I said: “Scandal will come”
 She said: “Do you really not know about love and scandal?”

 

Original:

دی ناگه از نگارم اندر رسید نامه
قالت: رای فوادی من هجرک القیامه
گفتم که: عشق و دل را باشد علامتی هم
قالت: دموع عینی لم تکف بالعلامه
گفتا که: می چه سازی گفتم که مر سفر را
قالت: فمر صحیحا بالخیر و السلامه
گفتم: وفا نداری گفتا که: آزمودی
من جرب المجرب حلت به الندامه
گفتم: وداع نایی واندر برم نگیری
قالت: ترید وصلی سرا و لا کرامه
گفتا: بگیر زلفم گفتم: ملامت آید
قالت: الست تدری العشق و الملامه

 

Rumi

Translation:

I tested you a lot, but it did not help me
Whoever tries the experienced will come to regret it

Original:

بسيارت آزموذى امّا نبوذ سوذم        من جرّب المجرّب حلّت به الندامة

 

 

Hafez

Translation:

From my heart’s grief I wrote a letter to my beloved.
For an age, from your absence, I have witnessed the resurrection
I have a hundred signs of separation in my eye
Are not the tears of these eyes of mine for us a sign?
However much I tried, she did not help me
Whoever tries the experienced will regret it
I asked a doctor about the state of my beloved. He said:
Suffering is in nearness to her, health is in distance from her.
I said: Will scandal come if I wander about your alley?.
By God! We have never seen a love without scandal.
Hafiz has come like one seeking a cup even at the price of his sweet soul,
that he might taste from it, a goblet of grace.

 

Original:

از خون دل نوشتم نزدیک دوست نامه
انی رایت دهرا من هجرک القیامه
دارم من از فراقش در دیده صد علامت
لیست دموع عینی هذا لنا العلامه
هر چند کآزمودم از وی نبود سودم
من جرّب المجرّب حلّت به الندامه
پرسیدم از طبیبی احوال دوست گفتا
فی بعدها عذاب فی قربها السلامه
گفتم ملامت آید گر گرد دوست گردم
و الله ما راینا حبا بلا ملامه
حافظ چو طالب آمد جامی به جان شیرین
حتی یذوق منه کاسا من الکرامه

From: François de Blois, “A Bilingual Poem by Ḥāfiẓ,” Oriente Moderno , 1996, Nuova serie, Anno 15 (76), Nr. 2, LA CIVILTÀ TIMURIDE COME FENOMENO INTERNAZIONALE. Volume II (Letteratura — Arte) (1996), pp. 379-384.

‘Eid al-Adha

 

Rumi

Translation:

When love sacrifices me, then that day will be my ‘Eid

Were it not my ‘Eid, I’d not be that real man, but a whore

 

 

Original:

عشق چو قربان کندم عید من آن روز بود

ور نبود عید من آن مرد نیم بلک غرم

 

al-Harraq

Translation:

If you appear, then no one else exists

and if you are not hidden, then you are unique

Whoever wants to see other than you outwardly

or inwardly, to me, is distant

O spendour of everything! If we were to witness you one day

That would be, the most joyous day of all time

Each year, for people, there are two ‘Eids

But for us, every moment with you is ‘Eid

 

 

Original:

لَيسَ لِلغيرِ إِن ظَهَرتَ وُجودُ
وَإِذا ما بَطنتَ أَنتَ فَريدُ
كُلُّ مَن رامَ أَن يَرى ظاهِراً غَي
رَكَ أَو باطِناً فَعِندي بَعيدُ
يا سَنا الكُلِّ إِن شَهِدناكَ يَوماً
فَهوَ يَومٌ مِنَ الزَّمانِ سَعيدُ
إِنَّ لِلنّاسِ كُلَّ عامٍ لَعيدَي
نِ وَكُلُّ وَقتٍ لَنا بِكَ عيدُ

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 grace;
without that Light the qibla becomes 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 sect 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
ملت عشق از همه دینها جداست ** عاشقان را ملت و مذهب خداست‏

(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

Charles Long, Siginifcations:

“”For my purposes, religion will mean orientation—orientation in the ultimate sense, that is, how one comes to terms with the ultimate significance of one’s place in the world.”

David Foster Wallace, “This is Water”:

“Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”

-David Foster Wallace

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

 

Rumi-Looking for a true human

 

Translation:

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

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

 

 

Original:

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

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

 

When I die—Rumi and al-Ghazali

Two of the most beautiful death-bed poems from two great Sufis. I pray to live in such a way that someone will recite these at my burial.

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

 

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

 

Rumi—Awake! Enter the Cave!

Translation:

Awake, awake, the time has come, awake!
Without union with him, forsake yourself, forsake!
The heavenly decree has arrived, the healer of lovers has arrived,
If you want him to visit you, become sick, become sick!
Without a trace, without a doubt, he’ll make you rosy-faced
He’ll pluck out the thorn from you hand, become a rosebed, become a rosebed!
Know this breast as a cave, the spiritual retreat of that Friend;
If you’re really the ‘companion of the cave’, then enter the cave, enter the cave!
Once this time has ruined you, laments will be of no avail,
If you want him to restore you, become a restorer, become a restorer!
See the world filled with tumult, see the dominion of the victorious (Manṣūr [al-Ḥallāj])
If you want to become victorious (Manṣūr[al-Ḥallāj), hang on the gallows, hang on the gallows!
As the dawn wind tangles her hair each morning
If you want to savor its scent, become a perfumer ([Farīd al-dīn] ‘Attar), become a perfumer

 

 

Original:

Alternate Version

Translation:

Awake! awake! The night has gone, awake!
Forsake, forsake, your own self, forsake!
In our Egypt a stupid fool is selling a Joseph
Don’t believe me, go to the market and see for yourself!
Without a trace, without a doubt, he’ll make you rosy-faced
He’ll pluck out the thorn from you hand, become a rosebed, become a rosebed!
Know this breast as a cave, the spiritual retreat of that Friend;
If you’re really the ‘companion of the cave’, then enter the cave, enter the cave!
Don’t listen to every scheme and spell, don’t wash blood with blood
Like a glass cup, fall over and shatter, be lowly and debased
In the swing of the polo mallet, be the ball! be the ball!
Because of the arrows in its quiver, drop dead! drop dead!
The heavenly decree has arrived, the healer of lovers has arrived,
If you want him to visit you, become sick, become sick!
Know this breast as a cave, the spiritual retreat of that Friend;
If you’re really the ‘companion of the cave’, then enter the cave, enter the cave!
You’re a fine man, but naive, offering gold to thieves
If you want to recognize the thieves, be an outlaw, be an outlaw!
Hush! Silence the description of the sea and float within its depths
If you want to learn to dive, grow fins! grow fins!

Original:

 بیدار شو بیدار شو هین رفت شب بیدار شو
 بيزارشو بيزارشو وز خويش هم بيزار شو
در مصر ما يك احمقي نك مي فروشد يوسفي
باور نمي داري مرا اينك سوي بازار شو
بي چون ترا بي چون كند روي ترا گلگون كند
 خار از كفت بيرون كند وانگه سوي گلزار شو
مشنو تو هر مكر و فسون خون را چرا شويي به خون
 همچون قدح شو سرنگون وانگاه دردي خوارشو
در گردش چوگان او چون گوي شو چون گوي شو
وز بهر نقل كركسش مردارشو مردارشو
آمد نداي آسمان آمد طبيب عاشقان
 خواهي كه آيد پيش تو بيمارشو بيمارشو
اين سينه را چون غار دان خلوتگه آن يار دان
گر يار غاري هين بيا در غار شو در غار شو
تو مرد نيك ساده اي زر را به دزدان داده اي
خواهي بداني دزد را طرار شو طرار شو
خاموش وصف بحر و در كم گوي در درياي او
 خواهي كه غواصي كني دم دارشو دم دارشو

 

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

This Love is not a River…

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

Translation:
This love is not a river
It has the vastness of the sea
The green dance of the waves
Sobbing in my eyes.
I tried to forget the words
Unspoken between us
But hanging over the silence
On the shores of our voice
I tried to forget your eyes
That do not know how to read mine
But in them is born the daybreak
That dawns on the earth and the heavens
I tried to forget your name
Pluck it from my thoughts
But it returns at every instant
Entwined in the wind.
I tried to see my image
But it was yours that I saw
In my mirror, for I bear
Your flat eyes.
This love is not a river
It has abysses like the sea
And the black mantle of the waves
Shrouds me in blackness
This love is not a river
It has the vastness of the sea
 
Original:
Este amor não é um rio
Tem a vastidão do mar
A dança verde das ondas
Soluça no meu olhar
Tentei esquecer as palavras
Nunca ditas entre nós
Mas pairam sobre o silencio
Nas margens da nossa voz
Tentei esquecer os teus olhos
Que não sabem ler nos meus
Mas neles nasce a alvorada
Que amanhece a terra e os céus
Tentei esquecer o teu nome
Arrancá-lo ao pensamento
Mas regressa a todo o instante
Entrelaçado no vento
Tentei ver a minha imagem
Mas foi a tua que vi
No meu espelho, porque trago
Os olhos rasos de ti
Este amor não é um rio
Tem abismos como o mar
E o manto negro das ondas
Cobre-me de negro o olhar
Este amor não é um rio
Tem a vastidão do mar
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Translation:
I wrote your name on the wind
convinced that I was writing it
on the page of forgetfulness
that in the wind
it would get lost
On the page of forgetfulness
that in the wind it would get lost
And on seeing it go
covered in dust
I considered my heart free
of the bonds of your love
I considered my heart free
of the bonds of your love
Poor me!
I never even thought
that just like me
the wind would fall in love
with that name that is yours
The wind would fall in love
with that name that is yours
As the wind stirs up, so does my pain get stirred up
I want to forget you, believe me
But there is always more wind
I want to forget you
but there is always more wind
Rumi
Translation:
Love is the One who masters all things;
I am mastered totally by Love.
By my passion of love for Love
I have ground sweet as sugar.
O furious Wind, I am only a straw before you;
How could I know where I will be blown next?
Whoever claims to have made a pact with Destiny
Reveals himself a liar and a fool;
What is any of us but a straw in a storm?
How could anyone make a pact with a hurricane?
God is working everywhere his massive Resurrection;
How can we pretend to act on our own?
In the hand of Love I am like a cat in a sack;
Sometimes Love hoists me into the air,
Sometimes Love flings me into the air,
Love swings me round and round His head;
I have no peace, in this world or any other.
The lovers of God have fallen in a furious river;
They have surrendered themselves to Love’s commands.
Like mill wheels they turn, day and night, day and night,
Constantly turning and turning, and crying out.
Original:
If I could see you I would die
and if I died, then I’d see you
I can’t stop, even though I’ve tried
from staring, drowning, in your eyes
Without you all I see are lies
and so my beautiful, that’s why
approaching you, I’m terrified
and yet, still more scared am I
of losing sight of you, my life
In death, I see you with your eyes
awake, you peer out within mine
your love swallowed the whole world up
and burned down my soul and my mind
even my love burned up in yours
it ate up all space and all time
so there’s no inside nor outside
there’s just your side, nothing to find
nothing to say, free, pay no mind
hearing no ears, seeing no eyes
all knots and thoughts simply unwind
as your sword falls, gentler than kind
there’s no one left to realize
Just your dark beauty, shining bright
in each and every lover’s sight
in every tale, in every plight
in all that’s wrong and all that’s right
beneath the depths, above the heights
through all the days, over the nights
you hold my soul closer than tight
and unseen, you perceive the sights
Love’s river floods mine out of sight
Love’s flames burn bodies into light
Love’s kiss turns death back into life
Love conquers all by its sweet might
And so whence my despair or fright?
when all my pains and all delights
are but you, your love and love bites
that bear aloft my soul’s fair kite
and put to shame all that I write