Love is alive, and someone borne
along by it is more alive than lions
roaring or men in their fierce courage.
Bandits ambush others on the road.
They get wealth but they stay in one
place. Lovers keep moving, never
the same, not for a second! What
makes others grieve, they enjoy!
When they look angry, don’t believe
their faces. It’s spring lightning,
a joke before the rain. They chew
thorns thoughtfully along with pasture
grass. Gazelle and lioness, having
dinner. Love is invisible except
here, in us. Sometimes I praise love;
sometimes love praises me. Love,
a little shell somewhere on the ocean
floor, opens its mouth. You and I
and we, those imaginary beings, enter
that shell as a single sip of seawater.
For a dervish every day feels like
Friday, the beginning of a holiday,
a fresh setting out that will not have an
end. Dressed in the soul’s handsomeness,
you’re a whole month of Fridays, sweet
outside, sweet in. Your mind and your deep
being walk together as friends walk along
inside their friendship. Debris does not stay
in one place on a fast-running creek. Let
grudges wash out into the sea. Your soul’s
eye watches a spring-green branch moving,
while these other eyes love the old stories.
You are the dawn that arrives in
the middle of the night. Dark hair-
strands of music filling the reed,
understanding entering through ear
and eye, the fragrant steam of soup.
Signs and specific instructions
articulate from you, teaching us new
ways to wander. Asking why and how
is no longer right. Say soul is like
the feet of an ant, or oceanwater,
bitter and salty, or a snake that has
the antidote for its poison also in its
skull: we push through these puzzling
forms to sit in your morning shade.
Translations by Coleman Barks