art ~ spirit ~ transformation

e*lix*ir   #7
spring 2018



  • Cancer, Comics, and the Healing Power of Art

  • Poetry

  • James Andrews

  • Translations

  • “If I Should Gaze Upon Your Face” by Tahirih
    translated by Shahin Mowzoon and adapted by Sandra Lynn Hutchison
  • Selections from Rumi
    translated by Shahin Mowzoon and adapted by Sandra Lynn Hutchison

  • Essays

  • A Landscape Yearning Towards the Light: A Year with the Paintings of Catharine McAvity
    by Sandra Lynn Hutchison

  • Art

  • Paintings
    by Catharine McAvity

  • Comic

  • Ruhi & Riaz
    by Eira

  • Voices of Iran

  • Sweet Fruit
    by Anisa Bahamin

  • Looking Back on Books

  • The Incomparable Friend
    by Shirin Sabri and Sue Podger
  • The Story of the Báb as a Child
    by Will van den Hoonaard and Gloria Savoie

  • ← Previous       Next →

    James Braun

    Selections from Rumi

    Translated by Shahin Mowzoon and adapted by Sandra Lynn Hutchison

    You and I

    Together, in the cool damp breeze, we sit by the entrance, You and I,
    two forms and two figures, yet one soul, You and I,
    the birds sing for us as we taste the water of life,
    When we set out for the rose garden, You and I,
    the stars in the heavens will watch over us,
    and we shall shine for them as the silver moon, You and I.
    You and I, two selves as one, shall be joined in our delight!
    Blissful, free, and far from idle thought, You and I.
    The parrots of heaven shall be cracking sugar
    in places filled with our laughter, You and I.
    Still, it is still strange that you and I breathe as one
    even as we live so far apart, You and I.
    In one form made from dust and in another far from dust,
    Forever in that far sweet heavenly land, You and I.

    Dialogue With the Soul

    O, how pallid and plain am I!
              When you see me as I am
    said you of the mysteries brought between us
              in this between that I am.
    When will my spirit in stillness rest
              in this soaring stillness that I am,
    Drowned in the sea of self itself, I am,
              Wondering what boundless sea I am?
    In this world and the next do not seek me,
              I am lost in that world where I am
    free from loss or gain, a thing of naught,
              A spark without wax or wane I am.
    I said O life you are I, the same
              But how? So plain is whence I came.
    And then I heard a voice, Silence!
              No tongue has uttered that which I am...
    Said I, No tongue dared speak of thee.
              Tongue-less I speak, to be that I am
    to pass by as the moon without feet,
              Steps without footsteps striding I am.
    Then came these words, Hark! why dost thou run?
              Behold in this unseen, revealed I am,
    As Shams-i Tabriz did take my sight
              peerless treasure, sea and fount am I!

    The Elephant and the Blind Men

    An elephant was placed in a dark house
    to see it many came and entered
    that darkened place but could see
    in the darkness only with their hands,
    And so all present could perceive in part,
    One felt the trunk and said he’d found a drain pipe,
    Another touched the ears and said he saw a fan,
    One more touched the top and called it a bed,
    And so whoever felt some part of the beast
    saw only his part and not the whole.
    Each one had different views on what it was,
    One called it “A”, the other “Z”.

    Then I thought to myself, if you placed a candle
    in each hand, all differences would vanish
    and all would understand that the eye
    of the senses is like the palm of the hand,
    We cannot perceive all, see the whole,
    for the eye of the sea and the surface differ,
    So stop riding the ways and see as the sea does,
    the motion of the foam by night and day
    passes, fades away. We see the foam
    and not the sea and pass like boats
    in darkness on the shining sea.
    Now you, the one in this boat,
    Have you fallen asleep?
    Now can you see the sea?
    Behold the water from inside the water!

    No Fire

    No, the fire shall not be bound by translating,
    Nor the tongue shall sound the secret of hearts,
    And no sigh shall aid this pain in its mending,
    No soul can console the sighs of our hearts,
    Neither the pearl brought forth from the sea,
    Nor that sea as it bears the calm waters.
    Words cannot contain the truth of meanings,
    Not such words as can ever be uttered.
    With meaning the tongue is like a stream,
    How would a stream fit the flowing sea?
    The living world is every part a living world,
    It cannot be contained by a mouthful of words.

    The Lost One

    In both worlds
    love is a stranger
    that holds
    seventy and two insanities,
    and love’s minstrel plays
    only when
    he has found himself lost —
    one entranced and bound
    by the divine.


    Again came the minstrel and he played on the strings,
    opening the gates to love’s calamity. Look, he brings
    the lost Joseph, beloved of hearts, broken free
    from the lure of stands and shops selling sweets,
    See how he lays his sword on the heads of noble kings
    raising them up to such heights as none have seen.
    He killed the lovers and in their blood he sat,
    Then on their corpses He prayed, one by one
    to the curls of their hair, the ones with bound necks.
    Take heed, then, all you who place necks before curls of hair.

    The Beauteous King

    Embrace death, embrace death,
    in this love embrace it,
    with this love, in death’s embrace,
    all shall live receiving life.
    Accept death, approach
    not fearing,
    Arise above the dust,
    Rise unto heaven,
    In death sever the self
    that binds yourself to yourself!
    Enslaved, enchained,
    take the axe and unloose yourself,
    Shatter the cell, free
    the beauteous king who, in death,
    lives in all of us,
    To die, to descend
    and cast away the cloud
    from that luminous moon.
    Be silent, in silence
    does death not descend?
    And so we embrace life,
    in silence.

    The Human Face

    The human face
    wholly enfolded, sealed
    a pattern of pain
    and sorrow showed
    its face as spirit sometimes does,
    as angel or madman.
    And what was bound,
    by what great godly spell,
    remains concealed.

    Shahin Mowzoon

    Bio:   Shahin Mowzoon holds an MA in engineering. He completed Stanford University’s fiction writers’ program, and is currently working on a Master’s in creative writing and English literature at Harvard. Shahin serves as the staff translator for e*lix*ir. He was recognized as a finalist in the prestigious Willis Barnstone Translation Contest for his translation of one of Rumi’s poems. He has translated poems by W. B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot into Persian as well as various classical and contemporary Persian poets into English. Shahin’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries. In his spare time, he paints in the impressionist style, draws portraits in charcoal, and plays the Spanish guitar.

    Sandra Lynn Hutchison

    Bio:   Sandra Lynn Hutchison serves as editor-in-chief of e*lix*ir, which she founded in 2015 to showcase art that celebrates the power of spirit. She is the author of a memoir, Chinese Brushstrokes (Turnstone Press), numerous essays, as well as two books of poetry: The Art of Nesting (GR Books) and a forthcoming volume, The Beautiful Foolishness of Things, which was a finalist for the Poet’s Corner Chapbook Contest in 2022. Hutchison holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Toronto and has been the recipient of various academic and literary awards, including the Emily Dickinson Poetry Prize from Universities West Press. She lives in Orono, Maine, where she teaches scriptural exegesis and mentors writers in the courses in creative writing she teaches through the Wilmette Institute in Chicago. She also serves as faculty for the BIHE (Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education).