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.
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!
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, 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.
In both worlds
love is a stranger
seventy and two insanities,
and love’s minstrel plays
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.
Embrace death, embrace death,
in this love embrace it,
with this love, in death’s embrace,
all shall live receiving life.
Accept death, approach
Arise above the dust,
Rise unto heaven,
In death sever the self
that binds yourself to yourself!
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,
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,