We present this work in honor of the 930th anniversary of the poet’s death.
I fear for you, my beloved so much, that even my own sight
even the ground you tread
even the hours that pass threaten to snatch you away from me.
Even if I were able to conceal you within the pupils of my eyes
and hide you there until
the Day of Judgment my fear would still not be allayed.
We present this work in honor of Dia de Andalucia.
The wing of separation
Bore me away;
The fluttering heart was dismayed
And bore away her senses.
Had she but seen me,
When my soul was intent on speeding the journey by night,
When my sounding steps
Held converse with the demons of the desert—
When I wandered through the waste
In the shadows of night,
While the roar of the lion was heard
From his lair among the reeds—
When the brilliant Pleiades circled,
Like dark-eyed maidens in the green woods;
And the stars were borne round
Filled by a fair maid
And served by a watchful attendant—
When the Milky Way
Was as the gray hairs of age
Upon the head of gloomy night;
And the ardor of my resolution,
And the piercer of darkness
Were equally terrible;
When the eyelids of the stars
Were closed for weariness—
Ah, then she had known
That fate itself obeyed my will
And that I was worthy of the favor of Ibn Aâ mir.
And where are the graves, so many graves
Of all who have died on the earth since the beginning?
Grave tunnelling into grave,
Headstone and obelisk crumbled into one dust,
Bodies heaped upon bodies, in motionless orgy—
All sleeping together in deep holes,
Fragments of chalk,
I look up to the sky and the stars,
And down to the earth and the things that creep there.
And I consider in my heart how their creation
Was planned with wisdom in every detail.
See the heavens above like a tent,
Constructed with loops and with hooks,
And the moon with its stars, like a shepherdess
Sending her sheep into the reeds;
The moon itself among the clouds,
Like a ship sailing under its banners;
The clouds like a girl in her garden
Moving, and watering the myrtle-trees;
The dew-mist—a woman shaking
Drops from her hair to the ground.
The inhabitants turn, like animals, to rest,
(Their palaces are their stables);
And all fleeing from the fear of death,
Like a dove pursued by the falcon.
And these are compared at the end to a plate
Which is smashed into innumerable shards.
Though its heart was all aflame.
Yet it never knew that same
Grief of parting, and that woe
Sundered lovers know.
When the lightning of the wine
Bathed the drinkers in its shine,
What a brave cloud billowed thence
Sweet with frankincense!
Never saw I, all my days,
Such a conflagration blaze
To persuade the revellers
Paradise was theirs.
When night falls, plan to visit me.
For I believe night is the time that keeps secrets best.
I feel a love for you that if the light of heaven felt, the sun would not shine,
nor the moon rise, nor the stars begin their nightly journey.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 1,025th birthday.
I would split open my heart
with a knife, place you
within and seal my would,
that you might dwell there
and never inhabit another
until the resurrection and
judgment day — thus you
would stay in my heart
while I lived, and at my death
you too would die in the
entrails of my core, in
the shadow of my tomb.