Friday, October 29, 2010

Treasures beyond all beauty

Today, I received a delightful poem from the Poetry Chaikhana, written by a 6th Century Syrian Monk, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite:

Lead us up beyond unknowing and light,
up to the farthest, highest peak,
of mystic scripture,
where the mysteries of God's word,
lie simple, absolute and unchangeable,
in brilliant darkness of a hidden silence.

Amid the deepest shadow,
they pour overwhelming light,
on what is most manifest.

Amid the wholly unsensed and unseen
they completely fill our sightless minds,
with treasure beyond all beauty.

What can I say about the beauty and calming influence of these words? It seems like a heartfelt prayer sent above. The result is indeed a treasure beyond all beauty.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lost in flight, I remain

I need a lover and a friend,
All friendships you transcend-
And impotent, I remain

You are Noah and the Ark
You are the light and the dark-
Behind the veil, I remain

You are passion and are rage
You are the bird and the cage-
Lost in flight, I remain

You are the wine and the cup 
You are the ocean and the drop-
While afloat, I remain

I said, "O Soul of the world
My desperation has taken hold!"
"I am thy essence," without scold,
"Value me much more than gold."

You are the bait and the trap
You are the path and the map-
While in search, I remain

You are poison and the sweet
You are defeated and defeat-
Sword in hand, I remain

You are the wood and the saw
You are cooked, and are raw-
While in a pot, I remain

You are sunshine and the fog
You are water and the jug-
While thirsty, I remain

Sweet fragrance of Shams that is,
The joy and pride of Tabriz-
Perfume trader, I remain.

Jelaluddin Rumi 
حادثہ وہ جو ابھی پردۂ افلاک میں ہے
عکس اس کا میرے آئینہ ادراک میں ہے
نہ ستارے میں ہے نہ گردش افلاک میں ہے
تیری تقدیر میرے نالہ بیباک میں ہے
یا میری آہ میں کوئی شرر زندہ نہیں
یا ذرا نم ابھی تیری خس و خاشاک میں ہے
کیا عجب میری نوا ہاے سحر گاہی سے
!زندہ ہو جائے وہ آتش کہ تیری خاک میں ہے
!توڑ ڈالے گی یہی خاک طلسم شب و روز
...گرچہ الجھی ہوئی تقدیر کے پیچاک میں ہے
حادثہ وہ جو ابھی پردۂ افلاک میں ہے
-عکس اس کا میری آئینہ ادراک میں ہے
اقبال ~


An incident which is still shrouded in the skies
is reflected in the mirror of my surroundings

neither is it in star nor in orbits of the sky
but your fortune is ever-present in my bold cry

either my sigh holds but not a single flame
or there is some damp still within your soul

no wonder if, by my clear voice at dawn
awakes that flame deep within your earth

this very earth shall break the monotony of day and night
even though it's still in a tangle of your destiny...
an incident is still shrouded in the skies,
and is mirrored in my surroundings.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A poem by Tagore

I wish to share a short poem by Rabindranath Tagore. It has been stored too long in my memory, and too long in my .doc files...

Sit Smiling (translated from Bengali to english, originally published in Geetanjali-poetry collection)

I boasted among men that I had known you
they see your pictures in all works of mine,
they come and ask me "Who is he?"
I know not how to answer them.
I say, "Indeed I cannot tell."
They blame me and go away in scorn.
- and You sit there smiling.

I put my tales of you into lasting songs.
the secret gushes out from my heart.
they come and ask me, "tell us all your meanings!"
I know not how to answer them.
I say, "Ah! who knows what they mean!"
they smile and go away in utter scorn.
- and You sit there smiling.

In my imagination, the narrator shapes and moulds figures in clay. In all his clay figures, in all his work, people see a glimpse of something. Something bordering on the mystical. Indeed, he cannot tell what it is or what it means. Just my interpretation.

Rabindranath Tagore was born in 1861 in Calcutta (British India), and is remembered for his awe-inspiring poetry and literary masterpieces in the Bengali language. His collection of songs- the Geetanjali, won the Nobel prize for literature in 1913. All his poems are an ode to love, life, joy and sorrow, through their simple words and musical mysticism.