He had friends,
and they pledged him in the evening of his sorrow
not to turn him over to the soldiers
or to deny him when
he was summoned by the king.
And one turned him over
for a handful of silver
then committed suicide
and by another he was denied
three times before dawn broke
and once he had died his lips
could smile again, and then
he went on his way evangelizing,
boasting that he had known him,
and fished blessings by baptizing
in his name.
The Daybook of Bishr the Barefoot
Abu Nasr, Bishr bin al-Harith, sought out debate and discussion and heard all that was said and so inclined to mysticism. And one day he was walking through the market when, taking fright at the people there, he removed his sandals and slipped them beneath his arms and set off running through the sunbaked stones and sand, and none could keep pace with him. This was in the year 227 AH.
I wish I knew
I wish I knew they knew what heart
they held. That my heart knew
what pass they tread. You wonder
Are they safe?
The enamoured are
in love adrift
This is Robin Moger’s version of the first poem in Turjuman al Ashwaq
My sister screamed in the night
Take me to my brother’s house
And there she screamed that same night
No no! Take me back to the house of my father
They took her back
And when she made to scream again
The night had passed
And the men had gone to work.
Life eternal might not be ours
but there’s what’s worse
that we are really forever
Music through earphones
casts no shadow
does not say to you when you must stop
nor through the earphones
Then the secret was there in my heart
and I was gone and my star set away
my heart by my lord’s secret changed and I
absented from the body’s feeling frame
wherefrom therewith I came
upon a ship of my high resolution
disposed therein my fortress thoughts
through a dark gulf of what I knew
and on my ship my longing blew
as winds, and so it passed
an arrow’s passage through the sea
and across that sea Approach I cut
till I perceived unsecret what
was without name. You!
I said, by my heart seen!
I loose an arrow at your love
for you are dear to me
and you are my festivity
the end of all my passion and my prize.
Ibn Arabi’s original poem can be found here.