Do not worry if our harp breaks
thousands more will appear.
We have fallen in the arms of love where all is music.
If all the harps in the world were burned down,
still inside the heart
there will be hidden music playing.
Do not worry if all the candles in the world flicker and die
we have the spark that starts the fire.
The songs we sing
are like foam on the surface of the sea of being
while the precious gems lie deep beneath.
But the tenderness in our songs
is a reflection of what is hidden in the depths.
Stop the flow of your words,
open the window of your heart and
let the spirit speak.
— Translation by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
“Rumi: Hidden Music”
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001
Other versions below
Don’t worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.
We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.
The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.
So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.
This singing-art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.
Poems reach up like the edge of driftwood
along the beach, wanting and wanting!
from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.
— Version by Coleman Barks
(from a translation by John Moyne)
(Go ahead and) break our harp, O lofty one, (for) thousands of
other harps exist here!
Since we have fallen into the talons* of Love, what (does it
matter) to us (if) harp and reed-pipe are scarce?!
Even if (all) the lutes and harps of the world are burned up,
there is many a hidden harp (remaining), O friend!
Its strumming and melody have gone (up) to the heavens, although
it doesn’t come into the ears of the deaf.
Even if (all) the lamps and candles of the world are put out, what
sorrow (is that)!– since (flint) stone and iron exist (very)
Songs are (mere) straw (floating) on the sea; no pearl will come
to the surface of the ocean.
But know (that) the grace of the straw (is) from the pearl– for
the reflection of its reflected gleam is (also shining) upon us!
Songs are entirely (just) a branch of the yearning for union–
(and) branch and root are not at all equal.
(So) close your mouth and open the window of (your) heart, and
by that way be talking with the spirits!
— Translation by Ibrahim Gamard
(Revision copyright 11/11/99)
*talons [chang]: a pun, since this word (also meaning claws,
clutches) has a second meaning of “harp.”
“To be-sh’kan changé mâ-râ ay mu’allâ
Hazân changé degar hast în-jâ
Chô mâ dar changé ‘ishq andar fotâd-êm
Che kam ây-ad bar mâ chang-o sornâ
Rabâb-o changé ‘âlam gar be-sôz-ad
Basî changê-yé penhâne-st yârâ
Tarang-o tantan-ash rafta ba-gardûn
Agar-che nây-ad ân dar gôshe-ye Samâ
Cherâgh-o sham`é ‘âlam gar be-mîr-ad
Che gham chôn sang-o âhan hast bar jâ
Ba-rôyé bahr khâshâk-ast aghânî
Na-y-ây-ad gawharî bar royé daryâ
Wa-lêkin lutf-é khâshâk az gohar dân
Ke aks-é aks-é barq-é ô bar mâ
Aghânî jomla faré shawq-é aslî-st Barâbar nêst faro asl aslâ
Dahân bar band-o be-g’shâ rawzan-é del
Az ân rah bâsh bâ arwâH goyâ”
(Meter: oXXX oXXX oXX)
— Transliteration courtesy of Ibrahim Gamard