Poem 55 from a correspondence in translations of Ibn Arabi’s Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, between Yasmine Seale and Robin Moger. The first two translations are made independently and each subsequent rendering written after the other’s previous version has been sent and seen.
Distance, and desire ruins me. To meet
is no relief. Come or go, desire hardly cares.
Meeting him, unreckoned
things happen. In place of healing,
another ache of longing.
Because to meet him is to see
a person whose beauty grows
ever more abundant, proud.
All I can do is match my love’s ascent
To his loveliness on its measured scale.
I can be away and floored by longing,
but it doesn’t help when we’re together.
Longing: without and in her company.
With her, this thing happens to me.
I never dreamt that it could be this:
the medicine just more viral passion.
See, to see someone,
and be with them,
their beauty blooms and bloats.
A passion is pegged
to beauty rising
at fixed rates.
I’m not there nothing
but longing encounters
no help presence
irrelevant to pain
being there finds me
unprepared no antidote
but pressing where it hurts
every time you grow
lovelier more like a flower
than the last and know it
nothing for it as you part
the waves but steadily
to waterski in your wake
Forbearing, hollowed by longing
For what when held will keep
Unhealed. The wound rubbed clean
Burns again, flowering
Brighter and wider to touch.
Pretty it grows and hurts
Cause of death: time apart,
they’ll say. So let us meet.
Same agony. Regardless
of where you are: desire.
I didn’t think it would happen
to me: wound will not scar.
It wants to be lanced
again by that dart, that proud
face of yours always leaping
ahead of its beauty.
What hope for my heart
but to be drawn along
in well-tempered leaps.
I take myself outside that feeling frame
And longing comes to break me up again.
Wrapped in arms again I’m no more there
You never saw it coming: holding together
To come apart. Sensing this thing
Up close was beautiful and was growing
More so. Over you. That there was a pattern
That it would be harder to hold
The closer you got.
what would it mean to move
out of your orbit into what
long night no fun being
locked here bright face always
turned to your indifference
how could I have known it would
be hard to live on radiance alone
but if I must let me not want
more than this field this tender to
& fro in equal time let it do