Saturday, 16 June 2012

If you stay awake for an entire Rumi

If you stay awake 
for an entire night 
watch out for a treasure 
trying to arrive 

You can keep warm 
by the secret sun of the night
keeping your eyes open
for the softness of dawn

Try it for tonight
challenge your sleepy eyes
do not lay your head down
wait for heavenly alms

Night is the bringer of gifts
Moses went on a ten-year journey
during a single night
invited by a tree
to watch the fire and light

Mohammed too made his passage
during that holy night
when he heard the glorious voice
when he ascended to the sky

day is to make a living
night is only for love
commoners sleep fast
lovers whisper to God all night

All night long
a voice calls upon you
to wake up
in the precious hours

If you miss your chance now
when your body is left behind
your soul will lament
death is a life of no return

~ Rumi
Ghazal (Ode) 258
Translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Cal-Earth Press, 1994

1 comment:

  1. Don't go to sleep one night.
    What you most want will come to you then.
    Warmed by a sun inside, you'll see wonders.
    Tonight, don't put your head down.

    Be tough, and strength will come.
    That which adoration adores
    appears at night. Those asleep
    may miss it. One night Moses stayed awake
    and asked, and saw a light in a tree.

    Then he walked at night for ten years,
    until finally he saw the whole tree
    illuminated. Muhammad rode his horse
    through the night sky. The day is for work.
    The night for love. Don't let someone
    bewitch you. Some people sleep at night.

    But not lovers. They sit in the dark
    and talk to God, who told David,
    "Those who sleep all night every night
    and claim to be connected to us, they lie."

    Lovers can't sleep when they feel the privacy
    of the beloved all around them. Someone
    who's thirsty may sleep for a little while,
    but he or she will dream of water, a full jar
    beside a creek, or the spiritual water you get
    from another person. All night, listen
    to the conversation. Stay up.
    This moment is all there is.

    Death will take it away soon enough.
    You'll be gone, and this earth will be left
    without a sweetheart, nothing but weeds
    growing inside thorns.

    I'm through. Read the rest of this poem
    in the dark tonight.
    Do I have a head? And feet?

    Shams, so loved by Tabrizians, I close my lips.
    I wait for you to come and open them.

    ~ Rumi
    (THE VIGIL )
    Version by Coleman Barks
    "The Essential Rumi"
    HarperSanfrancisco, 1995.