Saturday, February 21, 2015

Too Vast for Partnership

Will it be better for us when we
dissolve into the ground, or worse?

Let's learn now what will happen.

This is lovers' work, to break through and become this earth,
 to die before we die. 
Don't think of pairing up somehow with God! 
That claim is a religious self-indulgence. 
You know it by the smell:
smoke coming off dried dung is different from that of aloe wood! 
The presence that one second is soil, then water, fire,
smoke, woof, warp, a friend, a shame, a modesty, 
is too vast and intimate for partnership!
Observers watch as presence takes thousands of forms.

But inside your eyes the presence doesn't brighten or dim;
it just lives there. 
A saint or a prophet,
one like Muhammad can see the trees of heaven,
the fruit hanging so close he could reach and pick one for his friend. 
But it's not time for that.

They melt and flow away from sight.

  Ghazal (Ode) 941
Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
"The Glance"
Viking-Penguin, 1999
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