The Beautiful One handed me a broom and said,
"Sweep the dust from the sea!",
then burned the broom in the fireplace and said,
"Give me back my broom."
Bewildered, I put my head to the ground.
"In real submission there's no longer
even someone to bow."
"Without hesitation or anything of yourself."
I bared my neck and said,
"Sever me from myself with Ali's sword."
But as I was struck, and struck again,
countless heads appeared.
As if I were a lamp, and each head a wick,
flames rose on every side,
countless candle-eyed heads,
a procession spanning East and West.
But what is East or West within placelessness?
It's all a furnace and a bath house.
Your heart is cool; how long will you lie in this
warm bath house?
Leave the bath house and its stove.
Undress yourself in the inner world
and appreciate the frescoes, the beautiful figures,
colored with the hues of the tulip bed;
look towards the window that lets in the light.
The six directions are the bath house,
and a window opens toward the placeless.
Above it is the beauty of a Sovereign
from whose reflection the earth and the sky
received their color, from Whom soulfulness
has rained down upon the Turk and Zanzibari.
The day is gone, and my story ends.
Night and day are shamed by my beauty's story.
Beloved keeps me
drunk and languishing in this state.
-- Version by Kabir Edmund Helminski
"Love is a Stranger"
Threshold Books, 1993
Art by dianadades