Showing posts with label myrumi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label myrumi. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

My Rumi 10 (lament and the law)

I’m never full of you. That is my only crime. Please do not finish loving me, my haven of both worlds.

But his cup grows tired of me. There is no carrier, no receptacle. And every moment this fish out of water grows thirsty.

Break the pitcher and tear that waterskin for I am heading for the sea. Make clear my way!

How long will the earth be swamped in my tears? How long will the sky be darkened by the smoke and ashes of my grief?

How long will my heart lament my heart, my desolate heart? How long will I howl before the specter of my sovereign?

Go to the sea where my wave of joy approaches. Watch my house and sanctuary as they drown within its breakers.

Last night the holy water of life overflowed my courtyard. The moon tumbled into the well like Joseph cast into the pit.

The rising waters flooded my harvest. Smoke rose from the heart of my home. Both grain and chaff were devoured.

My crop is gone but I shall not grieve. Why grieve? Just that halo of light around the moon is more than enough for me.

He pierced my heart. His likeness was that of fire. Its flames engulfed my skull. Even my prayer cap was consumed.

Do our ceremonies diminish dignity and ruin our respect? Who cares about my dignity. His love is my respect.

I thirst for neither intellect nor wisdom. His knowledge is enough for me. His faint face at midnight is the light of my dawn.

The forces of sorrow are gathering but I do not fear them, for our cavalry, legion on legion, has captured eternity.

But at the end of every ode, my heart laments the coming discourse. The law of God is summoning my heart again.

~transcreated from an Arberry translation (A-225) of a Rumi ghazal (F-1823)

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

After Transcreating My Ninth Rumi

After nine Rumi transcreations, one of the things I’ve newly noticed: each stanza (couplet, verse, whatever) is locked into another. I’ve read there is a question as to the unity of a Rumi ghazal, and this is one of the reasons why Coleman Barks edits the ghazal in his versions. 

I’ve found the opposite to be true. In fact, I find that a subsequent verse will send me back to a previous one to revise, after seeing the poem was going somewhere I hadn’t imagined. Like building a bridge one slat at a time, and returning to a previous one to correct the slack. 

In my Rumi 9 transcreation, the first 8 verses contain paradox after paradox about fish and the sea but slowly builds into something like a portrait of an enlightened fish. But verse 9, to me, is the key of the entire poem. 

Barks speaks of Walt Whitman when talking of changing Rumi into free verse, and verse 9 reminds me of Whitman’s sudden stop in Song of Myself, when after a litany of Whitmanic desription, he says: ”Enough! Enough! Enough! / Somehow I have been stunn’d. Stand back!” 

After all the paradox, Rumi says something like this: “How long shall you speak in riddles? Paradox bewilders the mind. Now speak clearly so the heart may hear.” In other words, he has successfully confounded the mind, put it out of the way, and now is free to speak to the heart. 

And the next verse is the clear heartfelt expression of his love for his ‘guru’ Shams Tabriz: “The venerable Shams is both my Lord and Master. By his grace, the land of Tabriz is perfume and ambergris.” And this is basically the climax of this love poem. 

In his version, Barks does refer to this in a way: “How / Long will I keep talking in riddles? Shams is the master who turns the earth.” But it’s too much of a gloss for my taste. It doesn’t present the power of this heretical statement. The next 2 verses are, of course important, and not completely anti-climactic. 

The last verse describes the effect Shams has had on Rumi, if there were still the soul of Rumi to describe. It goes something like this: “May I never have my soul again. For after tasting his wine and being drunk on his beauty, I am one in self-awareness.” What a poem! 

Monday, August 17, 2020

My Rumi 9 (fish and sea)

The sea will always offer up more fish, for fish are lesser than the sea.

You shall see the sea is the soul of a fish, for the sea is the fish of God’s own ocean.

The sea is like a nursemaid. And fish are like its feeding children. The woeful child is always looking for its milk.

The sea appears to be indifferent but its compassion for all fish is an infinite grace.

A fish that knows the sea is always caring no longer moves with pride but is ascending through the air.

For that singular fish, the sea is now its counsellor and no task is done without its consultation.

One could say this favored fish is like an emperor and the sea its prime minister.

If anyone were to call this fish a fish, every drop in the wrathful sea would be an arrow.

How long shall you speak in riddles? Paradox bewilders the mind. Now speak clearly so the heart may hear.

The venerable Shams is both my Lord and Master. By his grace, the land of Tabriz is perfume and ambergris.

If this world of thorns were to know his grace, all people would be soft and delicate like silk.

May I never have my soul again. For after tasting his wine and being drunk on his beauty, I am one in self-awareness.

~transcreated from an Arberry translation (A-108) of a Rumi ghazal (F-853)

Saturday, August 15, 2020

My Rumi 8 (the harp and the pearl)

Did you destroy my harp, your eminence? There are ten thousand harps still around here.

Since we have fallen into the hands of love, does it really matter if we lose a harp or flute here and there?

If every lyre or harp in the world is confiscated, who cares? There’s many a hidden harp, my friend.

Their pluck and vibration is reaching to the sky, even if it's falling on deaf ears.

Don't cry if every lamp or candle burns out. There’s still the spark of flint and steel.

Songs are the waves on the face of the sea. But no pearl goes floating on the surface of the ocean.

Know that the grace of every wave is a manifestation of the pearl. The reflection of the reflection is glowing within us.

Yes, songs are the branch that yearns for union. But the branch and the root are not equivalent.

Close your mouth and open that aperture of the heart. This is the way to be played by the absolute spirit.

~transcreated from an Arberry translation (A-13) of a Rumi ghazal (F-110)

Friday, August 14, 2020

My Rumi 7

Your heart has turned to granite, and what good will granite do you?

A wineglass can’t be filled with rock. It breaks into pieces.

So you laugh at the dawn to have Venus fill your desire.

Lust has bared its breast and all discernment flees the scene.

Seeing this, restraint lets loose the reins of wild, wild horses.

With equanimity and insight gone, only passion remains, howling and inflamed.

When cut off from the fine wine, some will look for rotgut in the gutter.

Although their livers turn lethargic, they are fast and reckless on this path.

And because of all this monkey business, we’ve lost our minds to our emotions.

Love is true intent; poetry is the rhythm of its expression.

Beware, for the prince goes galloping every morning on a raid.

Leave this loneliness and separation. Its terror brings about pointless theories and doctrines.

The leader has fled. Crier, be silent. Descend from your minaret.

~transcreated from an Arberry translation (A-301) of a Rumi ghazal (F-2357)

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

My Rumi 6 (A-218)

There is a fire in my voice for you but my mouth is sealed ten thousand times.

These flames rising from my heart would make one portal for both worlds.

And when this world shall pass away, there’s still this one of ten thousand others.

There are sweet caravans now in motion from that Egypt of the absolute.

Being drunk with love, I know not what profit or what loss is in this exchange.

An eye is radiating pearls of love. The eye of the eye is radiating pearls of being.

I am not imprisoned in this world. Like Jesus, my home is in the turning of the sun.

Thank God That makes this spirit manifest. As this spirit is unmanifest, I am the spirit of the spirit.

Seek that which Shams Tabriz the sage presented me. For that is what we are.

~transcreated from an Arberry translation (A-218) of a Rumi ghazal (F-1754)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

My Rumi 5 (A-102)

One by one the drunks are coming. One by one wine-tasters arrive.

Lovers are flirting along the way. The innocent emerge from the garden.

One by one from the field of being and the absolute, potentiality is leaving and becoming is arriving.

Those with robes of gold unearthed from an infinite mine spring forth for the sake of the needy.

The starving and sick, after passing through pastures of love, are showing up nourished and healthy.

The spirit of the true like sunshine from on high is spilling down upon the false.

Hallowed be that place where ripe fruit falls for our blessed mothers even in the middle of the winter.

Our source is grace and our return is grace. From pure awareness to self-awareness, we are transpiring.

~transcreated from an Arberry translation (A-102) of a Rumi ghazal (F-819)

Monday, August 10, 2020

My Rumi 4 (A-7)

The sovereign is here and the sovereign is now. Grace the palace hall. Mark your hands in wonder at the angel from Canaan.

As the heart of the heart of the heart is here, there's no need to name the heart. For in its own presence, what value is the heart except surrender.

Without love I am one who's lost the way. But suddenly the way of love has entered me. I was the mountain and now I'm the hay for the horse of the sovereign.

Whether Turk or Tajik, this captive is as near to either as the heart is to the mind. But the mind never knows the heart.

My friends, good fortune is here. The time has come for letting go our burden. Wisdom is sitting at the helm, ready to unseat all demons.

Get out of your rut. Procrastinate no more. Why are you being helpless? If you don't know the way, ask the hoopoe bird how to get to Solomon's palace.

And when you’ve arrived, make your petitions, tell your secrets, confess your desires. The story goes that Solomon knows the speech of every bird.

Words are the fervent winds dividing the heart. But wisdom is the sun that gathers together the scattered ones.

Friday, August 7, 2020

My Rumi 3 (A-5)

O lovers, lovers, the presence of oneness and enlightenment is here. That manifesto from eternity is always here: “Original-faced beauty, welcome here.”

Blissful hearts, blissful hearts, joy is joining in our whirling dervish. We have caught its train and it has caught our shroud.

The burning spirit is being served. Hell cowers in the corner and mortal terror gives up the ghost. Our steady wine steward reappears!

The seven stages of heaven are drunk with intensity for you. We are counted as mere points in your work. And my being is your universal being whenever resting at ease.

The sweet voice of the singer, the bells that keep the beat, joy is riding on wild horses. Its whirlwind is swirling our vital essence!

O sound of the sweet-responding flute, your note is like the taste of honey. Your music brings to me the fragrance of devotion night and day.

Begin the beginning again. Play the music of the manifest once more. O sun of lovely being, glory over this beautiful creation.

Now be silent. Do not tear the veil. Drain the vessel of contemplation. Be unknown, be unknown. And acclimate yourself to the absolute compassion of an undivided God.

~transcreated from an Arberry translation (A-5) of a Rumi ghazal (F-34)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

My Rumi 2 (A-3)

Now I know the true beloved, this beauty adorning all experience. It rises into heaven like the spirit of the prophet.

The sun is blotted out by its presence; the universe is chaos in its heart. And by its brightest power, the sea and earth catch fire.

So I ask where is the ladder that I may join with you in heaven. And it answers that the mind is the ladder; place it underneath oneself and rise.

As the mind is placed beneath you, you will step into the stars. And when you know you are the air that climbs the air, already you are there.

Ten thousand ways to realization open suddenly to you. One is waking into heaven every morning like a prayer.

Arberry 3

Today I beheld the beloved, that ornament of every affair; he went off departing to heaven like the spirit of Mustafā. 

The sun is put to shame by his countenance, heaven's sphere is as confused as the heart; through his glow, water and clay are more resplendent than fire.

I said, "Show me the ladder, that I may mount up to heaven." He said, "Your head is the ladder, bring your hcad down under your feet."

When you place your feet on your head, you will place your feet on the head of the stars; when you cleave through the air, set your foot on the air, so, and come!

A hundred ways to heaven's air become manifest to you; you go flying up to heaven every dawning like a prayer.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

My Rumi 1 (A-282)

Stay with the ship and do not fall asleep. Do not sail away to the bottom of the sea. 

Gather yourself as the ocean surges.  Do not disperse into the tempest. 

Night travelers are bathed in heaven’s light. Do not fade away from their circle. 

The water of life is rising from the darkness. Stand in the dark and do not light away. 

The midnight candle sits in a golden dish. Do not bury yourself in quicksilver. 

The moon guides all travelers at night. Stay in focus and do not let your full face go. 


Sit with your comrades, do not go to sleep; do not go to the bottom of the sea like a fish. 

Be surging all night like the sea; no, do not go scattered like a torrent. 

Is not the water of life in darkness? Seek in darkness, and do not hurry away. 

The nightfarers of heaven are full of light; you too, go not away from the company of your companions. 

Is not the wakeful candle in a golden dish? Go not into earth like quicksilver.

The moon shows its face to the night-travelers; be watchful, on the night of moonshine do not go.