The noble spirits of Hallaj, Ghalib, and Qurrat
al-Ain Tahira who disdained to dwell in Paradise,
preferring to wander for ever

Let me be a ransom for this demented heart
which every instant bestows on me another desert;
whenever I take up a lodging, it says, ‘Rise -up!’
The self-strong man reckons the sea as but a pool. 2100
Seeing that the signs of God are infinite
where, traveller, can the high-road end?
The task of science is to see and consume,
the work of gnosis is to see and augment;
science weighs in the balance of technology, 2105
gnosis weighs in the balance of intuition;
science holds in its hand water and earth,
gnosis holds in its hand the pure spirit;
science casts its gaze upon phenomena,
gnosis absorbs phenomena into itself. 2110
In quest of continuous manifestations
I travel through the skies, lamenting like a reed;
all this is by the grace of a pure-born saint
whose ardour fell upon my soul.
The caravan of these two scanners of existence 2115
presently halted by the shores of Jupiter,
that world, that earth not yet complete,
circling about it moons swift of pace;
the glass of its vine was still empty of wine,
desire as yet had not sprouted from its soil. 2120
Midnight, a world half day in the moon’s gleam,
the air thereof neither chill nor torrid.
As I lifted my gaze towards heaven
I saw a star closer to me;
the awful prospect robbed me of my senses— 2125
near and far, late and soon became transformed.
I saw before me three pure spirits
the fire in whose breasts might melt the world.
They were clad in robes of tulip hue,
their faces gleamed with an inner glow; 2130
in fever and fervour since the moment of Alast,
intoxicated with the wine of their own melodies.
Rumi said, ‘Do not go out of yourself so,
be quickened by the breath of these songs of fire.
You have never seen intrepid passion; behold! 2135
You have never seen the power of this wine; behold!
Ghalib and Hallaj and the Lady of Persia
have flung tumult into the soul of the sanctuary.
These songs bestow stability on the spirit,
their warmth springs from the inmost heart of creation.’ 2140