"The Song of the Reed"
Now listen to this reed-flute's deep lament
About the heartache being apart has meant: 'Since from the reed-bed they uprooted me
My song's expressed each human's agony,
A breast which separation's split in two
Is what I seek, to share this pain with you:
When kept from their true origin, all yearn
For union on the day they can return.
Among the crowd, alone I mourn my fate,
With good and bad I've learned to integrate,
That we were friends each one was satisfied
But none sought out my secrets from inside;
My deepest seecret's in this song I wail
But eyes and ears can't penetrate the veil:
Body and soul are joined to form one whole
But no one is allowed to see the soul.' It's fire not just hot air the reed-flute's cry,
If you don't have this fire then you should die!
Love's fire is what makes every reed-flute pine,
Love's fervour thus lends potency to wine;
The reed consoles those forced to be apart,
Its notes will lift the veil upon your heart,
Where's antidote or poison like its song,
Or confidant, or one who's pined so long?
This reed relates a tortuous path ahead,
Recalls the love with which Majnun's heart bled:
The few who hear the truths the reed has sung
Have lost their wits so they can speak this tongue.
The day is wasted if it's spent in grief,
Consumed by burning aches without relief-- Good times have long passed, but we couldn't care
When you're with us, our friend beyond compare!
While ordinary men on drops can thrive
A fish needs oceans daily to survive:
The way the ripe must feel the raw can't tell,
My speech must be concise, and so farewell! -- Translated by Jawid Mojaddedi. From "Rumi: The Masnavi,
Book One," New York: Oxford University Press, 2004
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