|Lovers, who die knowingly,|
die like sugar
before their Beloved.
On the day of Alast
they drank the Water of Life --
so they cannot die like others.
Since they have been resurrected in Love,
they do not die like these people in the crowd.
Through his Gentleness they have passed
beyond the angels--
far be it from them to die like humans!
Do you suppose that lions die like dogs,
far from His Presence?
When lovers die in their journey,
the spirit's King runs out to meet them.
When they die at the feet of that Moon,
they all light up like the sun.
The lovers who are each others' spirit,
die in their mutual love.
The water of Love soothes their aching livers,
they all come and die in that heartache.
Each is an unparalleled orphan pearl --
they do not die next to mothers and fathers.
Lovers fly to the spheres,
deniers die in the depths of the Blaze.
Lovers open the eye that sees the Unseen,
the rest all die blind and deaf.
In fear the lovers never used to sleep at night--
now they all die without dread or danger.
Those who worshiped fodder here were all cows --
they die like asses.
Those who sought that vision today die happy
and laughing in vision's midst.
The king places them next to His Gentleness--
they do not die in the lowliness
and insignificance you see.
Those who seek to acquire the virtue of
Great Love die like Great Lovers
Far from them is death and annihilation!
But I have sung this ghazal
supposing they were to die.
(Those who have already died)
-- Ghazal (Ode) 972
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983
Art by Henry Asencio