Sprint Long Distance

Flower delivery in Iran

email us

Sprint Long Distance



Access & Arts

US Transcom
US Transcom

Iranian books

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Flower delivery in Iran

Advertise with The Iranian

Cover story

 Write for The Iranian


Love's secret
Poems & Rumi's rubaiyat by Zara Houshmand

June 12, 2000
The Iranian

These translations of Rumi's rubaiyat by Zara Houshmand have appeared daily in The Iranian Times. To read Houshmand's own poetry, go here.

My love is beautiful--one of her faults.

Delicate... soft... that's two and three.

But what's the reason people really shun her?

She's perfectly faultless, that's the sin they flee.

Your love stirs the oceans into reckless storms.

At your feet, the clouds drop their pearls.

Dark smoke rises in the sky; a fire burns

Where your love's lightning strikes the earth.

Grant him a cruel and faithless lover, Lord:

Grant him the love that eats away at the heart.

Let him know for himself the sorrow that only love can bring.

Grant him love, bliss, ecstasy--give him the whole damn thing.

Night falls; but me, I can't tell night from day.

My nights are days lit by her face as bright as day.

O night-it's waiting still for word of her that makes you night.

O day-study her face to learn what makes day light.

In the abbatoire of love, they only kill the choicest.

The small-minded, mean ones they reject.

If you truly love, you won't escape with your life.

They are dead to begin with who don't get the knife.

I closed my mouth and spoke to you in a hundred silent ways.

I whispered an offer softly in the ear of your playful heart.

You've heard my thoughts, you know what's on my mind.

And now, what I described to you last night, I'll do today.

Time will soon silence the clamor of bleating cries,

And the wolf of doom devour the whole wooly herd.

Each of their heads is stuffed with bloated pride,

But death's slap on the back of the neck will knock it out for good.

No way can I take back my heart from you;

Better then surrender it unto

Your passion, ease your aching love. If not,

What use is it, why even have a heart?

There's talk in the halls of love's seminary

Of the line between love's pleasure and its theory.

On love, no theologian's expert ruling will abide.

On love, their eminences' tongues are truly tied.

At first, with endless kindness, he played his song upon me.

Then he roasted me in a fire of endless pain.

At the lash of his kindness, the spur of his love, I galloped.

When I became entirely him, he threw me down again.

She's gone--no one has ever been so good a friend;

Gone before my heart was full, or ready for an end.

She's gone, and with her the cure for this pain.

The rose is gone and still the thorn remains.

I'll hang your love in the nets of heaven.

I'll lay your cruel hands on my hurting heart.

Where you walk, where your foot touches earth,

I'll secretly go, just to lay eyes on that dirt.

When your love drives me crazy, that day

I dare things, madly, that demons would not.

Your eyelash alone does to my heart

What the brush of the greatest artist cannot.

Today I'm going for a drunken stroll

To walk the town until I find a sane man with a rational mind,

Pour him a drink from the bowl of my skull

And turn him into a crazy brother fool.

The ravishing moon last night upon me shone--

Not tonight, I told her, go away.

As she left, I heard her say, "Well done, my moody one,

You don't even open the door when riches come."

All the waters of life are a drop in your pool

And the heavens' moon a mere trace of the light of your face.

Through the long night, I long for the light,

For the moon of your face in the dark night of your hair.

My lips with his began to speak, I asked:

Have you drunk your fill of me? Yes, he said,

Now give me something that begins with f...

Tell me how it ends, I asked. No, he said,

It never does: just flow.

My restless, seething cries he stopped: 'I want you to be still.'

My silence then he answered, 'Come cry your fill.'

Again I swelled with sound, again he said, 'Be silent!'

Mute I rested till, once more, 'Come let me hear your heart's flute.'

We are drunk on the essence without even tasting the wine,

Filled with light in the morning, and joyful into the night.

They say our path leads nowhere--that's alright:

There's joy enough right here to fill all time.

I was in the garden picking flowers,

Startled when the gardener came in view.

'What do want with the flowers?' he said,

'I gave the whole garden to you.'

The memory of you makes my heart pound

And my eyes cry tears of blood,

Until, again, I am calm at the sound of your name.

From all but you I shy away; for you alone I'm tame.

Without your love, anyone with even the smallest heart

Would live a life of full and heavy hardship.

A lock of your hair is an infinite tangled chain:

The man wise enough to untie that knot is insane.

Remembering your lips, I kiss the ruby on my ring;

One I cannot reach, I kiss the one I can.

My hand can't touch your distant sky,

And so I bow full low and kiss the land.

The messenger brings sad news,

But words cannot obscure the truth:

Write 'prison' on the garden gate;

That word does not a prison make.

Sharing my secrets with you is no help at all,

But without you I don't have the gall to air my secrets at all.

You surely are not the remedy for what ails me;

What ails poor me is a very, very long story.

Last night I spent with a goddess who dabbles with slaves like me;

Again and again I begged; her answer still: "We'll see..."

The night was gone, and left our story hanging.

The night was not to blame, no: our story has no ending.

May grief and sadness come to the unfaithful heart,

And in this world may betrayal play a smaller part.

Sadness is the only friend who stays with me, still true,

And for that, loyal sadness, a thousand thanks to you.

Don't even think, just let yourself dream.

Thoughts are veils that hide the moon's bright face.

The heart's a moon, where thinking has no place.

Toss these thoughts away into the stream.

Seek the science that unties for you this knot.

Seek it as long as there's life in you still to be sought.

Leave that nothing that looks like it's something;

Seek that something that looks like it's nothing. It's not.

There's joy in my heart-I have joined my lover tonight;

Finally free from the pain of our parting, tonight.

As I dance with my lover I pray, oh Lord, in my heart:

May the keys to morning be lost forever tonight.

When your love and my joy conspire to spill my blood

My soul flies from the cage that shapes this human mud.

He's a godless infidel who has the chance to taste

The sin of your sweet lips, and lives on, chaste.

If my heart's not on fire, then why all this smoke?

If there's no incense burning, then what do I smell?

Why do I love? And why do I doubt?

Why is the moth so eager to burn in the candle's hell?

Reason came forward to lecture the lovers;

Like a bandit in ambush he lay.

But he saw that their heads had no room for reason,

So bowed at their feet and went on his way.

One day your mind will finally wear out;

They'll point at you and mock your feeble face.

If you're human, then make peace with the rest of us.

If you're an angel, then go; the sky's your place.

I said: 'You are the wine, and I the cup.

I'm lifeless; you are lovely, loyal, sweet.

Now open up.' But she shut the door:

'Let a madman loose inside the house? What for?'

I drank wine from the soul's own bowl;

I'm so drunk that my mind is insane.

A fire was kindled in me by a candle;

The sun itself is a moth beside that flame.

When we're together, her face is my smiling flower;

When we're apart, it's the faith I hold in my heart.

My heart and I are at war together over her,

My heart and I each claim her as my idol.

My turban, my cloak, and myself--

All three are valued a little bit less than a cent.

You've never heard my name in the world.

I'm nobody, or a little bit less than that.

You who live by the grace of this world's love,

Shame on you! Why do you live this way?

Don't live without love, like a lifeless corpse.

Die for love: lay down your life, and life with you will stay.

I am lost in God, and God is found in me.

Why look in all directions? Look inside.

I am the Lord, and I do you wrong to say

That anyone is Lord or God to me.

Fear this murderous conflagration, this love that sets fires alight.

Fear this arrow of destruction, this blade that will pare you away.

And when he comes to you, a renunciate, repentant and contrite,

Fear that day that he repents, fear the very day.

You're so coupled to life, which lasts but a day,

That you can't even hear talk of death.

Life looks for a home and finds it in death,

But your donkey fell asleep on the way.

Sadness to me is the happiest time,

When a shining city rises from the ruins of my drunken mind.

Those times when I'm silent and still as the earth,

The thunder of my roar is heard across the universe.

Over and over my lover torments my weary heart.

Hers is hard as stone, or else my own remains unknown.

I've written my heart's story on my face until it bled.

My lover sees the writing, but the words remain unread.

She smiles so, this beauty, that your hand reaches out.

She offers you the cup just so, you can't help but touch.

And when, from behind her veil, an eyebrow peeks out,

That angel's rainbow beckons so, you can't help but touch.

Over and over my lover torments my weary heart.

Hers is hard as stone, or else my own remains unknown.

I've written my heart's story on my face until it bled.

My lover sees the writing, but the words remain unread.

I told my heart, don't start that love business

Don't start all that suffering and sadness

My heart frowned and said go man!

Your lover is wonderful! Go, don't be coy/silly

For a moment we paused in the human crowd,

But found no trace of loyalty among them.

It's best that we hide from view of the crowd

Like water in steel, fire in stone, hidden deep within them.

I drank wine from the soul's own bowl;

I'm so drunk that my mind is insane.

A fire was kindled in me by a candle;

The sun itself is a moth beside that flame.

* Back to "Love's secret" main index

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment to the translator Zara Houshmand

 Sprint Long Distance

Copyright © Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form

 MIS Internet Services

Web Site Design by
Multimedia Internet Services, Inc

 GPG Internet server

Internet server by
Global Publishing Group.