In Memory of My Late Mother
|Every atom of creation is a prisoner of fate;|
Contrivance is the veil of constraint and helplessness.
The sky is compelled; the sun and the moon are compelled;
The fleet-footed stars are compelled in their course.
The cup of the bud in the garden is destined to be smashed;
Verdure and flowers are also compelled to grow in the garden.
Be it the song of the nightingale or the silent voice of the innermost spirit,
Everything is a captive of this world-encompassing chain.
|When this secret of constraint is clear to the eye,|
The flowing stream of tears grows dry in the heart.
The dance of pleasure and grief no longer remains in the human breast;
The song remains, but the joy of high and low does not.
Knowledge and wisdom are the highway-robbers of the goods of tears and sighs;
The aware heart is a fragment of a diamond.
Although in my garden, there is not the freshness of the dew
And my eye is not the possessor of the dark red tear,
I know, alas! the secret of human tribulations;
The instrument of my nature is empty of the melody of complaint.
The tale of the changing colours of time is not on my lips;
My heart is not amazed, not laughing, not weeping;
But your picture is the messenger of eternal grieving—
Alas! it cancels out my powerful wisdom.
|By drunken lamentation, the foundation of life is made firm;|
By the knowledge of pain, stony hearted intelligence is put to shame.
By the wave of the smoke of the sigh, my mirror is bright;
My breast is filled from the watery treasury.
I am amazed at the spell your portrait casts,
Which has changed the direction of the flight of time.
It seems that it has stood past and present side by side;
It has once more made me aware of the time of my childhood,
When that helpless life was nurtured in your lap,
Whose tongue was not properly familiar with words.
And now he is famous for the charm of his speech;
His eyes, which shed jewels, are priceless pearls.
|The serious discourse of wisdom, the awareness of old-age,|
The grandeur of worldly honours, the pride of youth—
We come down from the pinnacles of life’s towers
And in the company of our mother remain a simple child.
We observe no formality, we laugh, we are free from care:
Once more we abide in this paradise which we had lost.
|Now, who will wait for me, alas!, in my homeland?|
Who will be anxious when my letter does not arrive?
I shall come to the dust of your grave, bringing this lament:
Now who will remember me in midnight prayers?
Because you brought me up, I shared the fate of the stars;
The house of my forefathers was accorded honour.
In the scroll of existence your life was a golden page.
Your life was from beginning to end a lesson in faith and the world.
Throughout my life, your love was my servant,
And when I was able to serve you, you departed this world.
That young man who in stature is like the lofty cypress
And who was more blessed by your service than I,
He stood shoulder to shoulder with me in the business of life;
He, a portrait of your love; he, my right arm.
Now he mourns you like a helpless baby,
And weeps for you morning and evening, knowing no self-control.
The seed, which you sowed in the field of our life,
As we share our grief—that love has become even stronger.
|Ah, this world, this house of mourning for young and old;|
To what spell of yesterday and tomorrow is mankind captive!
How hard life is! How easy is death!
In the garden of existence, death is as cheap as the morning breeze.
There are earthquakes, lightning, famines, tribulations—
All daughters of the mother of the days!
Death comes to the poor man’s hovel; death comes to the rich man’s palace.
Death is present in deserts and towns, in cities, in garden, in the wilderness.
Death even creates its tumults in the silent sea,
And boats sink in the embrace of the wave.
There is no room for complaint, nor power of speech;
What is life? A noose that squeezes the throat.
In the caravan, there is nothing but the lament of the bell;
Nothing but the capital of a tearful eye.
|But the age of testing will also end;|
Behind the nine veils of the firmament even now there are other ages.
If in this garden the breasts of the tulip and the rose are torn, so what?
If nightingales are forced to cry and lament, so what?
The bushes, which keep the sigh of the autumn imprisoned in their cage—
The wind of eternal spring will make them green.
If our vital spark sleeps in the trampled earth, so what?
If our pinch of dust travels in this transitory litter, so what?
The finality of the fire of life is not a bed of ashes.
It is not the pearl whose destiny is to be broken.
|In the eye of existence, life is so beloved:|
In the nature of everything there is the desire to preserve life.
If the trace of life could have been erased by the hands of death,
The order of the universe would not have made it so common.
If it is so cheap, then think that death is worthless,
In the same way as sleeping does not stop one living.
Alas, my ignorant one! The hidden secret of death is quite different.
From the instability of its impression, something else is visible.
The impression of the wind on the water is a vision of paradise;
Breaking the agitated wave, it creates bubbles.
And then it hides them in the bosom of the wave.
How cruelly it rubs out its own trace.
But if the wind could not create anew the bubbles it hade made,
The wind would not be so careless as to smash them.
But what effect does this behaviour have upon the actual form of creation?
It is proof that the wind has the power to create.
Could it be that the nature of existence will not ever be a martyr to desire?
Could it be that it will not seek to make a better form?
|Ah! Restless quicksilver, stars that light in the heavens!|
These lively sparks, whose shining is indebted to the darkness of the night.
Knowledge bows in humility to the length of their life.
One hour of theirs is the life-story of mankind.
But then a man it is who casts his sight to the heavens,
And in his purpose he is purer than even the angels.
Like a shining candle, he stands in the assembly of nature,
And in the vastness of his nature the sky is just a point.
His lack of knowledge is anxious for truth.
His finger-nail is the plectrum of the instrument of existence.
Is this flame then less bright than the sparks of the firmament?
Is this sun cheaper than the stars?
|The eye of the seed of the flower is awake even under the soil.|
How anxious it is to grow to maturity!
The flame of life which is hidden in this seed is compelled
to show itself, to increase itself in growth.
It cannot be dispirited even in the coldness of the grave.
Even pressed into the soil, it cannot lose its passion.
It becomes a flower and rises from its coffin,
As if it acquires the clothes of life from death.
It is the grave that binds together this distracted power,
And casts its noose around the neck of the firmament.
Death is the name of the renewal of the taste for life.
In the veil of sleep, it is a message of awakening.
Those who are accustomed to flying have no fear of flying.
In this garden, death means nothing more than the poising of wings.
|People of the world say that the pain of death is incurable;|
The wound of separation is healed by the balm of time.
But the heart which is filled by grief for the death
Is freed from the links of the chain of morning and evening.
The lamentation of mourning is not stopped by the spell of time;
Time is no balm for the wound of the sword of separation.
When a disaster suddenly befalls a man,
Tears continually flow from his eyes.
There comes about a connection between the heart and lament and complaint;
The blood of the heart flows in the tears which fill the eyes.
Although man is bereft of the strength of patience,
In his nature there is an undefinable sense.
Man’s spirit does not know annihilation;
It may disappear from sight, but is not obliterated.
The apparel of existence is turned to ashes by the flames of grief;
This fire is put out by the water of that pleasant feeling.
Ah! The suppression of lamentation is not the silence of indifference.
It is awareness that brings consolation, not forgetfulness.
|As soon as the morning appears in its brightness from the veil of the east,|
The morning washes the strain of the night from the garment of the skies.
It clothes the fading tulip in a fiery cloak,
And it stirs the silent birds to ecstatic song.
The melody is freed from the prison of the nightingale’s breast.
The early morning breeze is full of a hundred tunes.
The sleepers of the garden of tulips, the flank of the mountain and the rivers
Are at last by the side of life’s bride.
If this is the law of existence that every evening turns into morning,
Why should not the end of the night of man’s tomb not be morning?
|The net of my swift imagination captures the heavens;|
By it I have captured your memory.
My heart which knows pain is full of your memory,
As in the Ka'ba, the air if filled with prayers.
That chain of duties, whose name is life—
Its places of manifestation are thousands of unstable worlds.
Every stage of existence has different ways and customs;
The world to come is also a coursing-field.
There the tilled field of death produces no crop;
The climate is appropriate for the seed of action.
The light of nature is not the prisoner of the darkness of the body;
The scope of human thought is not so narrow.
Life was made brighter by your moonlight.
Your journey was also made better by the morning star.
Like the halls of the dawn, may your grave be radiant!
May your dusty sleeping chamber be filled with light!
May the sky shed its dew upon your grave!
May the freshly grown verdure watch over your home!
Translated by: D.J. Matthews