Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A green-winged longing

Longing on a large scale
is what makes history.
-- Don DeLillo

A Green-Winged Longing
by the 13th-Century Persian poet Rumi

This world of two gardens, and both so beautiful.
This world, a street where a funeral is passing.
Let us rise together and leave 'this world,'

as water goes bowing down itself to the ocean.
From gardens to the gardener, from grieving
to wedding feast. We tremble like leaves

about to let go. There's no avoiding pain,
or feeling exiled, or the taste of dust.

But also we have a green-winged longing
for the sweetness of the Friend.

These forms are evidence of what
cannot be shown. Here's how it is

to go into that: rain that's been leaking
into the house decides to use the downspout.

The bent bowstring straining at our throats
releases and becomes the arrow!

Mice quivering in fear of the housecat suddently
change to half-grown lion cubs, afraid of nothing.

So let's begin the journey home,
with love and compassion for guides,
and grace protecting. Let your soul turn

into an empty mirror that passionately wants
to reflect Joseph. Hand him your present.

Now let silence speak, and as that
gift begins, we'll start out.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
from a translation by John Moyne

Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
... changed, changed utterly;
A terrible beauty is born.

-- William Butler Yeats, 'Easter, 1916'

h/t Andrew Sullivan; sources here and here.