Ghazal 2530 from the Diwan-e Shams, in a version by Coleman Barks, in translation by Annemarie Schimmel, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:
I become a pen in the Friend’s hand,
tonight writing “say,” tomorrow “ray.”
He trims the pen for fine calligraphy.
The pen says, “I am here, but who am I?”
He blackens the pen’s face.
He wipes it in his hair. He holds it upside down.
Now he begins to use it.
On one sheet he cancels everything.
On another he adds a dangerous conjunction.
The writing depends entirely on the scribe,
who knows how to split the head of the pen.
Galen knows what a patient needs.
The pen cannot speak for itself, or know what
to disapprove of in its own nature.
Whether I say “pen” or “flag”, it is with this wonderful
conscious unconsciousness: the mind unable to include
its own description, composing blindly.
Held in a hand, yet free.
— Version by Coleman Barks
(Based on the translation by A.J. Arberry)
“These Branching Moments”
Copper Beech Press, 1988 […]