The Reed Flute
by: Molana Jalal-e-Din Mohammad Molavi Rumi
Translated by: Shahriar Shahriari
Pay heed to the grievances of the reed
Of what divisive separations breed
From the reedbed cut away just like a weed
My music people curse, warn and heed
Sliced to pieces my bosom and heart bleed
While I tell this tale of desire and need.
Whoever who fell away from the source
Will seek and toil until returned to course
Of grievances I sang to every crowd
Befriended both the humble and the proud
Each formed conjecture in their own mind
As though to my secrets they were blind
My secrets are buried within my grief
Yet to the eye and ear, thatís no relief
Body and soul both unveiled in trust
Yet sight of soul for body is not a must.
The flowing air in this reed is fire
Extinct, if with passion wonít inspire
Fire of love is set upon the reed
Passion of love this wine will gladly feed
Reed is match for he who love denied
Our secrets unveiled, betrayed, defied.
Who has borne deadly opium like the reed?
Or lovingly to betterment guide and lead?
Of the bloody path, will tell many a tale
Of Loverís love, even beyond the veil.
None but the fool can hold wisdom dear
Who will care for the tongue if not ear?
In this pain, of passing days we lost track
Each day carried the pain upon its back
If days pass, let them go without fear
You remain, near, clear, and so dear.
Only the fish will unquenchingly thirst,
Surely passing of time, the hungry curst.
State of the cooked is beyond the raw
The wise in silence gladly withdraw.
Cut the chain my son, and release the pain
Silver rope and golden thread, must refrain
If you try to fit the ocean in a jug
How small will be your drinking mug?
Never filled, ambitious boy, greedy girl,
Only if satisfied, oyster makes pearl.
Whoever lovingly lost shirt on his back
Was cleansed from greed and wanton attack
Rejoice in our love, which would trade
Ailments, of every shade and every grade
With the elixir of self-knowing, chaste
With Hippocratic and Galenic taste.
Body of dust from love ascends to the skies
The dancing mountain thus begins to rise
It was the love of the Soul of Mount Sinai
Drunken mountain, thundering at Moses, nigh.
If coupled with those lips that blow my reed
Like the reed in making music I succeed;
Whoever away from those lips himself found
Lost his music though made many a sound.
When the flower has withered, faded away
The canary in praise has nothing to say.
All is the beloved, the lover is the veil
Alive is the beloved, the lover in death wail
Fearless love will courageously dare
Like a bird thatís in flight without a care
How can I be aware, see whatís around,
If there is no showing light or telling sound?
Seek the love that cannot be confined
Reflection in the mirror is object defined.
Do you know why the mirror never lies?
Because keeping a clean face is its prize.
Friends, listen to the tale of this reed
For it is the story of our life, indeed!