LONG, long am I denied
The vision of thy face, for o’er it flows
The musky darkness of thy waving hair,
As though a temple-curtain should enclose
The Kaaba, and our hearts, unsatisfied,
Could never see it there.
O Reason, that can speed
A runner in the valley of desire,
We need not strength like thine, for we possess
A remedy to cure us when we tire;
The thorns and brambles are the salves we need
For pain and weariness.
Night after endless night
I sat in lonely grief remembering thee;
Tears fell into my heart disconsolate.
How long have I, in striving to be free,
Broken my bleeding nails, but never quite
Untied the knot of fate!
Lo, where the feast was spread,
What better could I offer to my guest
Than wine and music when we revelled long?
Of all the wines the wine of tears was best,
One song of sorrow to another led,
Making continual song.
Thou shalt attain success,
O happy lover, walking on the height;
Thy shadow greater shall be evermore
Than King Jamshid’s, and plumes and pinions bright
As hath the Phœnix, shall thy soul possess,
Arrogantly to soar.
By sorrow crucified,
A true believer lost his life for thee,
And yet did not attain what I attain:
This new delight which is bestowed on me
Even the friends who travelled by my side
Could never know nor gain.
Red with its fount of tears
Thy rosy face doth like a tulip show,
To tell what dreams within thy heart arise.
My tears have washed with their unceasing flow,
The magic cup wherein the world appears
Displayed before mine eyes.
Stronger my love shall grow:
Bearing the bonds of sorrow for thy sake,
More patient and more proud my heart shall be,
Like the imprisoned bird who tries to make
His cage a garden, though his wild heart know
He never shall be free.
Behold Love’s path—it seems
So long, O Makhfi; but be strong to tread
Its toilsome way, and come, nor look behind;
The temple where thou canst bow down thy head,
The idol fairer than thy fairest dreams,
Thou shalt desire, and find.