Saturday, December 24, 2005

Sestina, Inspired By Rumi

These words I'm saying so much begin to lose meaning:
existence, emptiness, mountain, straw: words
and what they try to say swept
out the window, down the slant of the roof.

Jelaluddin Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks
Kulliyat-e Shams #950


Atop the mountain,
a hut of straw.
It has one window,
tight-thatched roof.
A barren existence
in windswept emptiness!

Searching for emptiness
I climb the mountain
tired of existence
that's barren as straw--
forsaking roofs,
seeking windows.

Come to the window,
look out on emptiness.
Here at the world's roof,
atop this mountain,
the wind blows straws
over the edge of existence.

And what is existence?
Just a window
into a world made of straw.
Beneath it, emptiness.
We think it solid, the mountain
but it's a flimsy roof.

We'll shelter under any roof,
clinging to existence
beneath some mountain...
Turning away from windows,
fearing emptiness,
clutching at straws.

Burn every straw.
Leave your roof.
Truth is emptiness,
the illusion is existence.
Fly from your window
to the top of the mountain.

Existence. Emptiness.
Mountain. Straw.
Window. Roof.

2 comments:

Rambler said...

loved this work,
amazingly well done..

"
And what is existence?
Just a window
into a world made of straw.
Beneath it, emptiness."

very nice..

sbpoet said...

Wow. You chose one of the most difficult forms, and managed it quite well. I'm impressed.