Al-Fattah, The Opener


How would it be in you appeared
in this open window?

It would be as though my hands and feet
were suddenly untied, and life was pouring back in.

I would say, I have not smiled
or laughed since you left.
Wine has no effect.

And you would tease, Such melancholy.
It may be catching.

Then I would wrap my shroud around
and offer my neck to your blade.

Cure this headache permanently.
You are the soul light in my eyes.

Words drift out on the air.
Let the musicians play now.
The stringed instruments, the tambourine and drum,
since no reed flute is here today.


Love comes with a knife, not some shy question
and not with fears for its reputation.

I say these things disinterestedly.
Accept them in kind.

Love is a madman, working his wild schemes,
tearing off his clothes, runing through the mountains,
drinking poison, and now quietly choosing annihilation.

A tiny spider tries to wrap an enormous wasp.
Think of the spiderweb
woven across the cave where Muhammad slept.

There are love stories,
And there is obliteration into love.

You have been walking the ocean’s edge,
holding up your robes to keep them dry.

You must dive naked under and deeper under,
a thousand times deeper. Love flows down.

The ground submits to the sky and suffers what comes.
Tell me, is the earth worse off for giving in like that?

Do not put blankets over the drum.
Open completely.

Let your spirit listen
to the greem dome’s passionate murmur.

Let the cords of your robe be untied.
Shiver in this new love beyond all above and below.
The sun rises, but which way does the night go?

I have no more words. Let the soul speak
with the silent articulation of a face.


With the sacredness you give and describe,
turns us upside down,
that other people may know you are here.

We are tired of secret joy,
bashfulness and being ashamed.

Reasons for holding back fly off like doves.
You speak your subtle truth to this ring of blank faces,
and someone suddenly finds something in a pile of ashes.

Why am I talking?
You know that it is happening.
Simply say it.

Wal around to each of us and pour the wine,
and spoon out that eggplant fricassee concoction.


You are granite.
I am an empty wine glass.

You know what happens when we touch.
You laugh like the sun coming up laughs
at a star that disappears into it.

Love opens my chest,
and thought returns to its confines.

Patience and rational considerations leave.
Only passion stays, whimpering and feverish.

Some men fall down in the road lie dregs thrown out.
Then totally recless the next morning
they gallop out with new purposes.

Love is the reality,
and poetry is the drum that calls us to that.

Do not keep complaining about loneliess.
Let the fear-language of that theme
crack open and float away.

Let the priest come down from his tower,
And not go back up.


[Translated by Coleman Barks]


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