DEDICATION TO THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY
You, who were made
by God to be the Seal 1
Of all the peoples dwelling upon earth,
That all beginnings might in you find end;
Whose saints were prophet like, whose wounded hearts
Wove into unity the souls of men;
Why are you fallen now so far astray
From Meccaís holy Kaaba, all bemused
By the strange beauty of the Christianís way?
The very skies are but a gathering
Of your streetís dust, yourselves the cynosure
Of all menís eyes; whither in restless haste
Do you now hurry like a storm-tossed wave,
What new diversion seeking? No, but ilear
The mystery of ardour from the moth
And make your lodgement in the burning flame;
Lay loveís foundation-stone in your own soul,
And to the Prophet pledge anew your troth.
My mind was weary of Christian company,
When suddenly your beauty stood unveiled.
My fellowóminstrel sang the epiphany 2
Of alien loveliness, the lovelorn theme
Of stresses and soft cheeks, and rubbed his brow
Against the sakiís door, rehearsed the chant
Of Magian wenches. I would martyr be
To your browís scimitar, am fain to rest
Like dust upon your street. Too proud am I
To mouth base panegyrics, or to bow
My stubborn head to every tyrantís court.
Trained up to fashion mirrors out of words.
I need not Alexanderís magic glass. 3
My neck endures not menís magic glass.
My neck endures not menís munificence;
Where roses bloom, I gather close the skirt
Numbers at end of certain lines refer to notes on pp.17 to 18
Of my soulís bud. Hard s the daggerís steel
I labour in this life, my lusster win
From the tough granite. Though I am a sea,
Not restless is my billow; in my hand
I hold no whirlpool blow. A painted veil
Am I, no blossomís perfume-scattering,
No prey to every billowing breeze that blows.
I am glowing coal within Lifeís fire,
And wrap me in my embers for a cloak.
And now my soul comes suppliant to your door
Bringing a gift of ardour passionate.
A mighty water out of heavenís deep
Momently trickles Ďer my burning breast,
The which I channel narrower than a brook
That I may fling it in your gardenís dish.
Because you are beloved by him I love
I fold you to me closely as my heart.
Since love first made the breast an instrument
Of fierce lamenting, by its flame my hart.
Was molten to a mirror; like a rose
I pluck my breast apart, that I may hang
This mirror in your sight. Gaze you shall become
A captive fettered in your tressí chain.
I chant again the tale of long ago,
To bid your bosomís old wounds bleed anew.
So for a people no more intimate
With its own soul I supplicated God,
That He might grant to them a firm knit life.
In the mid swatch of night, when all the world
Was hushed in slumber, I made loud lament;
My spirit robbed of patience and response,
Unto the Living and Omnipotent God
I made my litany; my yearning heart
Surged, till its blood streamed from my weeping eyes.
ďHow long, O lord, how long the tulip-glow,
The begging of cool dewdrops from the dawn?
Lo, like a candle wrestling with the night
Oíer my own self I pour my flooding tears.Ē
I spent myself, that there might be more light,
More loveliness, more joy for other men.
Not for one moment takes my ardent breast
Repose from burning; Friday does not shame 4
My restless week of unremitting toil.
Wasted is now my spiritís envelop;
My glowing sigh is sullied all with dust.
When God created me at Timeís first dawn
A lamentation quivered on the strings.
Of my melodious lute, and in that note
Lovesís secrets stood revealed, the ransom-price
Of the long sadness of the tale of Love;
Which music even to sapless straw imparts
The ardency of fire, and on dull clay
Bestows the daring of the reckless moth.
Love, like the tulip, has one brand at heart,
And on its bosom wears a singly rose;
And so my solitary rose I pin.
Upon your turban, and cry havoc loud
Against your drunken slumber, hoping yet
Tulips may blossom from your earth anew
Breathing the fragrance of the breeze of spring.