Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 54
Publication Date: This translation by Florence Lederer, 1920
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Sa'd ud Din Mahmud Shabistari was born in Persia, in Shabistar, near Tabriz, about 1250 CE. His best known work, The Secret Rose Garden was written as a reply to questions by a Sufi doctor of Herat. This set of verses uses the rich Sufi allegorical language to explore the path to God.
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THE EYE AND THE LIP
WHAT is the nature of the eye and the lip?
Let us consider.
Coquettish and intoxicating glances shine from His eye.
The essence of existence issues from His ruby lip.
Hearts burn with desire because of His eye,
And are healed again by the smile of His lip.
Because of His eye hearts are aching and drunken.
His ruby lip gives soul-garments to men.
His eye does not perceive this visible world,
Yet often His lip quivers with compassion.
Sometimes He charms us with a touch of humanity,
And gives help to the despairing.
It is His smile that gives life to man's water and clay;
It is His breath that opens heaven's gate for us.
A corn-baited snare is each glance of that eye,
And a wine-shop lurks in each corner.
When He frowns the wide world is laid waste,
But is restored every moment by His kiss.
Our blood is at fever point because of His eye,
Our souls demented because of His lip.
How He has despoiled our hearts by a frown!
How He has uplifted our souls by a smile!
If you ask of Him an embrace,
His eye will say "Yea," His lip "Nay."
He finished the creation of the world by a frown,
Now and then the soul is revived by a kiss.
We would give up our lives with despair at His frown,
But would rise from the dead at his kiss.
. . . When the world meditates on His eye and His lip,
It yields itself to the intoxication of wine.
THE single point of the mole in His cheek
Is a centre from which circles
The two worlds circle round that centre.
The heart and soul of Adam evolved from there.
. . . Hearts bleed because they are a reflection
Of the point of that black mole,
And both are stagnant; for there is no escape
Of the reflection from the reflect.
Unity will not embrace Plurality,
For the point of Unity has one root only.
. . . I wonder if His mole is the reflection of my heart,
Or my heart the reflection of His mole.
Was my heart created from His mole's reflection?
Or may it be seen shining in His mole?
I wonder if my heart is in His face,
Or if His mole abides in my heart.
But this is a deep secret hidden, alas! from me.
. . . If my heart is a reflection,
Why is it ever so changing?
Sometimes tired like His brilliant eye,
Sometimes waving to and fro as His curl waves,
Sometimes a shining moonbeam like His face,
Sometimes a dark shadow like His mole,
Sometimes it is a mosque, sometimes a synagogue,
Sometimes a hell, sometimes a heaven,
Sometimes soaring above the seventh heaven,
Sometimes buried far below this earth.
. . . After a spell the devotee and ascetic
Turns again to wine, lamp, and beauty.
IF you ask of me the long story
Of the Beloved's curl,
I cannot answer, for it contains a mystery
Which only true lovers understand,
And they, maddened by its beauty,
Are held captive as by a golden chain.
I spoke too openly of that graceful form,
But the end of the curl told me to hide its glory,
So that the path to it should be twisted
And crooked and difficult.
That curl enchains lovers' hearts,
And bears their souls to and fro
In the sea of desire. A hundred thousand hearts
Are tightly bound, not one escapes, alas!
No single infidel would remain in the world
If he could see the shaking aside
Of those black curls,
And on the earth there would not remain a faithful soul
If they were always in their place.
Suppose they were shorn. . . . No matter,
Day would increase and the night disappear.