Rumi, that guide to passion and love
whose words are as Salsabil to throats athirst,
said, ‘The poetry in which there is fire
originates from the heat of "He is God!"
That chant transforms rubbish into a rose-garden, 705
that chant throws into confusion the spheres,
that chant bears testimony to the Truth,
bestows on beggars the rank of kings.
Through it the blood courses swifter in the body,
the heart grows more aware of the Trusty Spirit. 710
Many a poet through the magic of his art
is a highwayman of hearts, a devil of the glance.
The poet of India-God help him,
and may his soul lack the joy of speech! —
has taught love to become a minstrel, 715
taught the friends of God the art of Azar.
His words are a sparrow’s chirp, no ardour or anguish;
the people of passion call him a corpse, not a man.
Sweeter than that sweet chant which knows no mode
are the words which you utter in a dream. 720
The poet’s nature is all searching,
creator and nourisher of desire;
the poet is like the heart in a people’s breast,
a people without a poet is a mere heap of clay.
Ardour and drunkenness embroider a world; 725
poetry without ardour and drunkenness is a dirge.
If the purpose of poetry is the fashioning of men,
poetry is likewise the heir of prophecy.’
I said, ‘Speak again also of prophecy,
speak again its secret to your confidant.’ 730
He said, ‘Peoples and nations are his signs,
our centuries are things of his creation.
His breath makes stones and bricks to speak;
we all are as the harvest, he the sown field.
He purifies the bones and fibres, 735
gives to the thoughts the wings of Gabriel;
the mutterings within the hearts of creatures
upon his lip become Star, Light, and Pluckers.
To his sun there is no setting, none;
to his denier never shall come perfection. 740
God’s compassion is the company of his freemen,
the wrath of God is his impetuous blow.
Be you Universal Reason itself, flee not from him,
for he beholds both body and soul together.
Stride then more nimbly on the road to Yarghamid 745
that you may see that which must be seen—
engraved upon a wall of moonstone
behold the four Tasins of prophecy.’
Yearning knows its own way without a guide,
the yearning to fly with the wings of Gabriel; 750
for yearning the long road becomes two steps,
such a traveller wearies of standing still.
As if drunk I strode out towards Yarghamid
until at last its heights became visible.
What shall I say of the splendour of that station? 755
Seven stars circle about it unceasingly;
the Carpet-angels are inly lit by its light,
its dust’s collyrium brightens the eyes of the Throne-angels.
God gave to me sight, heart and speech,
gave me the urge to search for the world of secrets; 760
now I will unveil the mysteries of the universe,
I will tell you of the Tawasin of the Apostles.