Test
Download document

ARABI, Ibn



Gentle now


Gentle now,

doves of the thornberry and moringa thicket,

don't add to my heart-ache

your sighs.


Gentle now,

or your sad cooing

will reveal the love I hide

the sorrow I hide away.


I echo back, in the evening,

in the morning, echo,

the longing of a love-sick lover,

the moaning of the lost.


In a grove of tamarisks

spirits wrestled,

bending the limbs down over me,

passing me away.


They brought yearning,

breaking of the heart,

and other new twists of pain,

putting me through it.


Who is there for me in Jám',

and the Stoning-Place at Miná,

who for me at Tamarisk Grove,

or at the way-station of Na'mān?

Hour by hour

they circle my heart

in rapture, in love-ache,

and touch my pillars with a kiss.


As the best of creation

circled the Ka'ba,

which reason with its proofs

called unworthy,


And kissed the stones there –

and he was the Natiq!

And what is the house of stone

compared to a man or a woman?


They swore, and how often!

they'd never change – piling up vows.

She who dyes herself red with henna

is faithless.


A white-blazed gazelle

is an amazing sight,

red-dye signalling,

eyelids hinting,


Pasture between breastbones

and innards.

Marvel,

a garden among the flames!


My heart can take on

any form:

a meadow for gazelles,

a cloister for monks,


For the idols, sacred ground,

Ka'ba for the circling pilgrim,

the tables of the Torah,

the scrolls of the Qur'án.


I profess the religion of love;

wherever its caravan turns along the way,

that is the belief,

the faith I keep.


Like Bishr,

Hind and her sister,

love-mad Qays and his lost Láyla,

Máyya and her lover Ghaylán.



My religion is love


There was a time I would reject those

who were not my faith.

But now, my heart has grown capable

of taking on all forms.

It is a pasture for gazelles,

An abbey for monks.

A table for the Torah.

Kaaba for the pilgrim.

My religion is love.

Whichever the route love’s caravan shall take,

That shall be the path of my faith



A garden among the flames


O Marvel,

a garden among the flames!

My heart can take on

any form:

a meadow for gazelles,

a cloister for monks,

For the idols, sacred ground,

Ka'ba for the circling pilgrim,

the tables of the Torah,

the scrolls of the Qur'án.

I profess the religion of love;

wherever its caravan turns along the way,

that is the belief,

the faith I keep.


translation by Michael A. Sells.



Ocean without Shore

…..
I marvelled at an Ocean without shore,

and at a Shore that did not have an ocean;

And at a Morning Light without darkness,

and at a Night that was without daybreak;

And then a Sphere with no locality

known to either fool or learned scholar;

And at an azure Dome raised over the earth,

circulating 'round its center -- Compulsion;

And at a rich Earth without o'er-arching vault

and no specific location, the Secret concealed . . . .

I courted a Secret which existence did not alter;

for it was asked of me: "Has Thought enchanted you?"

-- To which I replied: "I have no power over that;

I counsel you: Be patient with it while you live.

But, truly, if Thought becomes established

in my mind, the embers kindle into flame,

And everything is given up to fire

the like of which was never seen before!"

And it was said to me: "He does not pluck a flower

who calls himself with courtesy 'Freeborn'."

"He who woos the belle femme in her boudoir, love-beguiled,

will never deem the bridal-price too high!"

I gave her the dower and was given her in marriage

throughout the night until the break of Dawn --

But other than Myself I did not find. -- Rather,

that One whom I married -- may his affair be known:

For added to the Sun's measure of light

are the radiant New Moon and shining Stars;

Like Time, dispraised - though the Prophet (Blessings on him!)

had once declared of your Lord that He is Time.

…..


Wild is she, none can make her his friend


When she kills with her glances, her speech restores to life, as though she, in giving life thereby, were Jesus.

The smooth surface of her legs is (like) the Tora in brightness, and I follow it and tread in its footsteps as though I were Moses.

She is a bishopess, one of the daughters of Rome, unadorned: thou seest in her a radiant Goodness.

Wild is she, none can make her his friend; she has gotten in her solitary chamber a mausoleum for remembrance.

She has baffled everyone who is learned in our religion, every student of the Psalms of David, every Jewish doctor, and every Christian priest.

If with a gesture she demands the Gospel, thou wouldst deem us to be priests and patriarchs and deacons.

The day when they departed on the road, I prepared for war the armies of my patience, host after host.

…..
translated by R.A. Nicholson.



Listen, O dearly beloved


I am the reality of the world, the centre of the circumference,

I am the parts and the whole.

I am the will established between Heaven and Earth,

I have created perception in you only in order to be the

object of my perception.

If then you perceive me, you perceive yourself.

But you cannot perceive me through yourself,

It is through my eyes that you see me and see yourself,

Through your eyes you cannot see me.


Dearly beloved!

I have called you so often and you have not heard me

I have shown myself to you so often and you have not

seen me.

I have made myself fragrance so often, and you have

not smelled me.

Savorous food, and you have not tasted me.

Why can you not reach me through the object you touch

Or breathe me through sweet perfumes?

Why do you not see me? Why do you not hear me?

Why? Why? Why?