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random encounters

Today at the library, on my way to my desk, I picked up a book, as I usually do, (the way to the desk takes very little time, whereas on the way back, lured by all those books, I spend at least 15 minutes looking at the shelves).

It’s a poem from Love’s Last Madness (poems on a spiritual path) by Darshan Singh (1921-1989), considered one of the finest contemporary mystical poets in the Urdu language. Here is the poem translated into English by Barry Lerner:

I do not walk alone – love’s mad zeal is my companion:

Out of the vortex of night’s gloom i shall distill

The light of dawn.

I escaped the highway robbers, only to discover

My guides have led me far from my goal.

Were my thoughts of her loveliness to be mirrored in the cup,

Her beauty’s scintillation would add keenness to my drink.

My every step you condemn as disgrace,

Yet it was these acts of sin that filled my path with beauty.

She promised me „tomorrow”, but i could not wait:

The life granted to me proved to be too brief.

As the modern age turns away from the creed of love,

The world of enchanting beauty descends into chaos.

The more fervent i grow for her darshan, the more she feels disdain:

My anguished prayers are impotent, my weeping goes in vain.

"the Hindi word darshan means to behold and enjoy the elevating presence of a loved one, to the extent that one becomes totally lost in his or her presence."

commentary by Barry Lerner

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