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The Spiritual Meadows
At the night prayer, when the sun declines to sinking, this way
of the senses is closed and the way to the Unseen is opened.
The angel of sleep then drives forward the spirits, even as the
shepherd who watches over his flock.
To the placeless, towards the spiritual meadows, what cities
and what gardens he there displays to them!
The spirit beholds a thousand marvelous forms and shapes,
when sleep excises from it the image of the world.
You might say that the spirit was always a dweller there, it
remembers not this world, and its weariness does not increase.
Its heart so escapes from the load and burden for which it
trembled here, that no care for it gnaws at it any more.
A poem from Rumi's Divan-i Shams Tabriz
Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968
Time passes, time passes wearing out all clocks
Traveling into the eye of night. The dance
Of senses is stilled in night prayer
The path to the Unseen unveils itself.
Sleep's angel shepherds its flock of spirits towards
Spectral cities and rose-proofed gardens
Beyond the deadly confinement of place and time.
Now the spirit freed from the cell of the sleeping
Body and the drab images of its daily
Senses, feels with the heart's revealing eye
A thousand forms and shapes, origin of origins,
Of one eternity and unblemished moment.
You could justly say the spirit has come home.
Refreshed and a child again in this shy epiphany,
Its heart now an inner space made clean by contiguous
Forms coating its skin with recovered bliss.
Interpretive translation by Raficq Abdulla
"Words of Paradise"
Viking Studio, 2000
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