Research: Literature (Iran)

Attar

.
Iranian Mystic Poet
 
 

Bird Parliament

 
 
Once upon a time from all Circles seven
Between the steadfast East and rolling Heaven,
Birds, of all Note, Plumage, and Degree,
That float in Air, and roost upon the Tree;
 
  And they that from Waters snatch their Meat,
And they that scour Desert with long Feet:
Birds of all Natures, known or not to Man,
Flock'd from all quarters into full Divan,
 
  On no less solemn business than to find
Or choose, a Sultan Qalif  of their kind,
For whom, if never theirs, or lost, they pi'd
 
  Snake had his, 'twas said; and so the Beast
His Lion-lord: and Man had his, at least:
And that Birds, who nearest were the Skies,
And went apparel'd in its Angel Dyes,
 
  Should be without-under no better Law
Than that which lost all others in the Maw
Disperst without a Bond of Union-nay,
Or meeting to make each the other's Prey
 
  This was the Grievance-this the solemn Thing
On which the scatter'd Commonwealth of Wing
From all the four Winds, flying like to Cloud
That met and blacken'd Heav'n, and Thunder-loud
 
  With sound of whirring Wings and Beaks that clash'd
Down like a Torrent on the Desert dash'd:
Till by Degrees, the Hubbub and Pellmell
Into some Order and Precedence fell,
 
  And, Proclamation made of Silence, each
On special Accent, but in General Speech
That all should understand, as seem'd him best,
The Congregation of all Wings Addrest.
 
  And first, with Heart so full as from his eyes
Ran weeping, up rose Tajidar the Wise;
The mystic Mark upon whose Bosom show'd
That he alone of all the Birds THE ROAD
 
  Had travel'd: and the Crown upon his head
Had reach'd the Goal: and he stood forth and said:-
"Oh Birds, by what Authority divine
I speak, you know, by His authentic Sign,
 
  And Name, emblazon'd on my Breast and Bill:
Whose Counsel I assist at, and fulfill:
At his Behest I measured as he plan'd
The Spaces of Air and Sea and Land;
 
  I gaug'd the secret sources of Springs
From Cloud to Fish: Shadow of my Wings
Dream'd over sleeping Deluge: Piloted
The Blast that bore Solomon's Throne: and led
 
  The Cloud of Birds that canopied his Head:
Whose Word I brought to Balkis: and I shar'd
The Counsel that with Asef he prepar'd.
And now You want a Qalif: and I know
 
  Him, and his whereabouts, and How to go:
And go alone I could, and plead your cause
Alone for all: but, by the eternal laws,
Yourselves by Toil and Travel to your own
 
  Must for your old Delinquency atone.
Where you indeed not blinded by the Curse
Of Self-exile, that still grows worse and worse,
Yourselves would not know that, though "you" see him not,
 
  He is with you this Moment, on this Spot,
Your Lord through all Forgetfulness and Crime,
Here, There, and Everywhere, and through all Time.
But as a Father, whom some wayward Child
 
  By sinful Self-will has unreconcil'd,
Waits till the sullen Reprobate at cost
Of Long Repentance should regain the Lost;
Therefore, yourselves to see as you are seen,
 
  Yourselves must bridge the Gulf you made between
By such a Search and Travel to be gone
Up to the mighty mountain "Kahf", whereon
Hinges the World, and round about whose Knees
 
  Into one Ocean mingle the Sev'n Seas;
In whose impenetrable Forest-folds
Of Light and Dark "Simorq" his presence holds;
Not to be reach'd, if to be reach'd at all
 
  But by a Road the stoutest might appall;
Of Travel not of Days or Months, but Years-
Lifelong perhaps: of Dangers, Doubts, and Fears
As yet unheard of: Sweet of Blood and Brain
 
  Interminable-often all in vain-
And if successful, no Return again:
A Road whose very Preparation scar'd
Traveler who yet must be prepar'd.
 
  Who then this Travel to Result would bring
Needs both a lion's Heart beneath the Wing,
And even more, a Spirit purified
Of Worldly Passion, Malice, Lust, and Pride:
 
  Yes ev'n of "Worldly" Wisdom, which grows dim
And Dark, the nearer it Approaches "Him",
Who to the Spirit's Eye alone reveal'd;
By sacrifice of Wisdom's self unseal'd;
Without which none who reach the Place could bear
To look upon the Glory dwelling there.
 
     

 

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