An Ocean without Shore: A Poem by Sufi Poet of Andalusia Ibn Al-Arabi; Translated by Dina Al-Mahdy (En/Ar)

img_20200323_222817_4328146983383498552721.jpgPhoto credit: Dina Al-Mahdy
I marveled at an ocean without shore, and at a shore without an ocean;
And at a morning without duskiness, and at a night without daybreak;
And a sphere with no locality known to either the fool or the scholar;
And at an azure dome standing, rotating around its center; compulsion.
And at pillars without over-arching domes and a place hiding no secrets.
I courted in secret which was not altered by concealing it; for I was asked: “Has thought enchanted you? “
To which I replied: “I have no power over that; Be kind and patient with it while you live.
But, if the thought did not settle in my mind, the embers kindle into flame,
And everything is given up to fire the like of which was never seen before in night or dawn!”
And it was said to me: “He does not pluck a flower who calls himself with courtesy ‘Freeborn’.”
“He who woos the beautiful woman in her boudoir, love-beguiled, will never deem the bridal-price too high!”
I gave her the dower and married her throughout the night until dawn-break
But I did not find other than myself.  So, whom did I marry? May her affair be known:
For the sun reflected its light in the radiant moon and the shining stars;
Dispraised like time, the Prophet (Blessings on him!) had once declared of Your Lord that He is Time.

An Ocean without Shore by Ibn Al-Arabi, From the Kitab ‘Anqâ’ mughrib, one of the earliest surviving works by Ibn ‘Arabi

وساحلٍ ليسَ له بحرُ عجبتُ من بحرٍ بلا ساحلٍ
وليلةٍ ليس لها فجرُ وضحوةٍ ليسَ لها ظلمة
يعرفها الجاهلُ والحَبْر وكرةٍ ليسَ لها موضعٌ
جاريةٍ نقطتُها القهرُ وقبةٍ خضراءَ منصوبة
ولا مكانٌ خفيّ السرُّ وعَمَدٍ ليس لها قُبة
فقيلَ هلْ هيمكَ الفكرُ خطبتُ سرّاً لم يغيره كن
عليه في الكونِ ولا صبر فقلتُ ما لي قدرة ٌ فارفقوا
في خلدي يتقدُ الجمرُ فإنَّ بالفكرِ إذا ما استوى
شفعٌ يرى فيهِ ولا وترُ فيصبحُ الكلُّ حريقاً فلا
من قال رفقاً إنني حرّ فقيلَ لي ما يجتنى زهرهُ
متيماً له يغلهِ المهرُ من خطب الخنساءَ في خِدرهها
في ليلتي حتى بدا الفجرُ أعطيتها المهر وأنكحتها
أنكحته فلينظر الأمر فلم أجد غيري فمن ذا الذي
القمرُ الساطعُ والزهرُ فالشمسُ قد أدرج في ضوئها
صلى عليه ربُّك الدهر كالدهرِ مذمومٌ وقدْ قالَ منْ

 عجبتُ من بحرٍ بلا ساحلٍ، محيي الدين بن العربي

 

©2020 Dina Al-Mahdy All Rights Reserved

 

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