June 14, 2018

When the saints go marching out

By Abu Madyan Shu'ayb al-Ghawth (meter: ṭawīl):

To you I surrendered my reason, my gaze, my hearing,
    my spirit, my insides, and all of me altogether.
By astonishment at your beauty I was waylaid
    and, at sea in love's distraction, I knew not my place.
When you put me under orders to keep your secret hid,
    it came to light through the outpouring of my tears.
My endurance gave out. My resilience grew small.
    Sleep and I parted ways, and my couch was barred to me.
Then I came before the Judge of Love and said: My [fellow] lovers
    are harsh with me. "In love you are a vain pretender,"
        is what they say.
But I have witnesses! To my ardor and my sorrow they will attest,
    and you will hear the truth of what I pretend:
my sleeplessness, my suffering, my passion and dejection,
    my wasting away, my longing, my jaundiced pallor
        and my tears.
It is a wonder and a marvel how I pine for their company.
    Even in their company, my longing for them flares.
My eye weeps for them when they are at its black center,
    and my heart bewails their estrangement, even as they
        lodge between my ribs.
Whoever gives in to love's distraction and seeks me out
    will find me among the poor, with nothing on me.
And whoever clamps me in jail, indulging their harshness,
    will have me [nonetheless] for their intercessor.

Alternately attributed to Malik ibn al-Murahhal