Friday, August 5, 2016

The Cry of the Flute

Such is the depth of the Masnavi, the Spiritual Couplets of Rumi that every year I attempt to translate the first 18 verses again.

Here is my attempt this year

Do you hear how woefully this flute complains?
For its telling us tales of separation.

Shall I tell you about the pain of longing ? 
Give me a heart tormented by separation.

Whoever finds themselves left far from their source
Will seek again the days of sweet union.

I joined and sang with many communities
I partnered truly with the joyous and sad

Each befriended me for what they held dear
But they did not seek to learn my inner secrets.

My secret is not too far from my cry
But they don’t have that Light, the ear, the eye

They’re not hidden from each other: body and being
They haven’t quite mastered that inner seeing

This breath in the flute- it’s not wind, its fire!
Those who don’t have this fire should go expire!

The fire of love that was flung into the flute
The boiling of love fell in the wine vat

The flute is the friend of those cut from a friend
Those veils it had would cut our veils asunder

No poison no antidote as good as the flute
no closer friend or enthusiast as the flute

The flute tells us tales of a path marked in blood
Recounts to us the stories of looney love

The confidant of mind is the state of No-mind
The tongue’s best customer is still the ear!

In our sorrow, we feel time go fleeting by
Each day accompanied with burning longing

If the days race by, tell them, begone, no worry!
Stay with us, You to whom none compare in purity

You can quench most thirsts - except that of the fish
For those with no food yet, the day will drag on

The raw won’t appreciate the state of the cooked
Then it’s far better to stop speaking – farewell!

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