|Before such spirit-bestowing Beauty, |
I not die ?
I not go mad and seize hold of
Thy chainlike tresses?
When I drink Thy wine,
I not be obliterated?
Thou art wine and I am water,
Thou art honey and I am milk.
Open Thy mouth, that infinite candy --
if Thou acceptest not my excuses, well,
I accept Thy blandishments!
Dost Thou know why I laugh?
Because of my own high aspiration
in the city of Thy Love,
I am the prince of lovers!
I and eternal Love were born into the world
from a single womb
though I appear as a new lover,
by God I am exceedingly ancient!
If you open your own eye,
you will be fitting only for yourself.
But if you find this vision,
you will know that I am peerless.
Like Men, I fire up the stove of all those
who are cold; and within the stove of warm spirits,
my dough is cooked to the greatest perfection!
In my gentleness, I am like milk
I never become caught in the throat.
Make no mistakes, though
I be salty like cheese!
In my love for Beloved Shams , I am a sultan
wearing a crown
but when he comes to the throne,
I am his vizier*.
From Rumi's "Diwan-e Shams"
Translation by Professor William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983
*A vizier is a high executive officer of various Muslim
countries and especially of the Ottoman Empire.
Art by Michelle Scott