The Song of the Reed

Mathnawi I: 1-18

1 Listen1 to the reed (flute),* how it is complaining! It is telling
about separations,3

(Saying), "Ever since I was severed from the reed field,4 men
and women have lamented in (the presence of) my shrill cries.5

3 "(But) I want a heart (which is) torn, torn from separation, so that
I may explain* the pain of yearning."6

4 "Anyone one who has remained far from his roots,1 seeks a
return (to the) time of his union.2

5 "I lamented in every gathering; I associated with those in bad or
happy circumstances.

"(But) everyone became my friend from his (own) opinion; he did
not seek my secrets3 from within me.

"My secret is not far from my lament, but eyes and ears do not
have the light4 (to sense it).

"The body is not hidden from the soul, nor the soul from the body;
but seeing the soul is not permitted."5

The reed's cry is fire6 -- it's not wind! Whoever doesn't have this
fire, may he be nothing!7

10 It is the fire of Love that fell into the reed. (And) it is the
ferment of Love that fell into the wine.8

The reed (is) the companion of anyone who was severed from a
friend; its melodies tore our veils.9

Who has seen a poison and a remedy like the reed? Who has seen a
harmonious companion and a yearning friend like the reed?

The reed is telling the story of the path full of blood;10 it is
telling stories of Majnoon's (crazed) love.11

There is no confidant (of) this understanding12 except the
senseless!13 There is no purchaser of that tongue14 except the ear [of
the mystic.]

15 In our longing,15 the days became (like) evenings; 16 the days
became fellow-travellers with burning fevers.

If the days have passed, tell (them to) go, (and) don't worry. (But)
You remain!17 -- O You, whom no one resembles in Purity!

Everyone becomes satiated by water,18 except the fish. (And)
everyone who is without daily food [finds that] his days become
long.19

18 None (who is) "raw" can understand the state of the "ripe."20
Therefore, (this) speech must be shortened. So farewell!21

-- From "The Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî" [Rhymed Couplets of
Deep Spiritual Meaning] of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with
gratitude for R. A. Nicholson's 1926 British translation)
Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)
First published on "Sunlight" (yahoogroups.com), 2/17/00

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 be-sh'naw în nay chûn shikâyat mê-kon-ad
az jodâ'îy-hâ hikâyat mê-kon-ad

k-az nayestân tâ ma-râ be-b'rîda-and
dar nafîr-am mard-o zan nâlîda-and

3 sîna khwâh-am sharHa sharHa az firâq
tâ be-gôy-am sharH-é dard-é ishtiyâq

4 har kasê k-ô dûr mând az aSl-é khwêsh
bâz jôy-ad rôzgâr-é waSl-é khwêsh

5 man ba-har jam`îyatê nâlân shod-am
joft-é bad-Hâl-ân-o khwash-Hâl-ân shod-am

har kasê az Zann-é khwad shod yâr-é man
az darûn-é man na-joft asrâr-é man

sirr-é man az nâla-yé man dûr nêst
lêk chashm-o gôsh-râ ân nûr nêst

tan ze-jân-o jân ze-tan mastûr nêst
lêk kas-râ dîd-é jân dastûr nêst

âtesh-ast în bâng-é nây-o nêst bâd
har-ke în âtesh na-dâr-ad nêst bâd

10 âtesh-é `ishq-ast k-andar nây fotâd
jôshesh-é `ishq-ast k-andar may fotâd

nay Harîf-é har-ke az yârê bor-îd
parda-hâ-ash parda-hâ-yé mâ darîd

ham-chô nay zahrê wo tiryâqê ke dîd?
ham-cho nay dam-sâz-o mushtâqê ke dîd?

nay HadîS-é râh-é por khûn mê-kon-ad
qiSSa-hâ-yé `ishq-é majnûn mê-kon-ad

maHram-é în hôsh joz bê-hôsh nêst
mar zabân-râ mushtarê joz gôsh nêst

15 dar gham-é mâ rôz-hâ bê-gâh shod
rôz-hâ bâ sôz-hâ ham-râh shod

rôz-hâ gar raft gô raw bâk nêst
tô be-mân ay ân-ke chûn tô pâk nêst

har-ke joz mâhê ze-âbash sêr shod
har-ke bê-rôzî-st rôz-ash dêr shod

18 dar na-yâb-ad Hâl-é pokhta hêch khâm
pas sokhon kôtâh bây-ad wa 's-salâm

(mathnawi meter: XoXX XoXX XoX)