Monday, May 03, 2004


Listen to this reed, how it makes complaint,
telling a tale of separation:

"Ever since I was cut off from my reed-bed,
men and women all have lamented my bewailing.

I want a breast torn asunder by severance,
so that I may fully declare the agony of yearning.

Every one who is sundered far from his origin
longs to recapture the time when he was united with it.

In every company I have poured forth my lament,
I have consorted alike with the miserable and the happy:

Each became my friend out of his own surmise,
none sought to discover the secrets in my heart.

My secret indeed is not remote from my lament,
but eye and ear lack the light to perceive it.

Body is not veiled from soul, nor soul from body,
yet to no man is leave given to see the soul."

This cry of the reed is fire, it is not wind;
whoever possesses not this fire, let him be naught!

It is the fire of love that has set the reed aflame;
it is the surge of love that bubbles in the wine.

The reed is the true companion of everyone parted from a
friend: its melodies have rent the veils shrouding our hearts.

Whoever saw poison and antidote in one the like of the
reed? Whoever saw sympathizer and yearner in one the like of
the reed?

The reed tells the history of the blood-bespattered way,
it tells the stories of Majnun's hopeless passion.

Only the senseless is intimate with the mysteries of this Sense;
only the heedful ear can buy what the tongue retails.

Untimely the days have grown in our tribulation;
burning sorrows have travelled along with all our days;

Yet if our days have all departed, bid them be gone—
it matters not; only do Thou abide, O Thou incomparably holy!

Whoever is not a fish is soon satiated with His water;
he who lacks his daily bread, for him the day is very long.

None that is inexperienced comprehends the state of the ripe,
wherefore my words must be short; and now, farewell!

Translated by A. J. Arberry. From "Tales from the Masnavi"
(posted by Iman)

Comments: Post a Comment