The Garden of Love

‘Ustád Muhammad ‘ Alí Salmání

In the flower-laden garden,
when would a nightingale
that has nested there a lifetime
neglect the blossom to study the thorn?

At times he weeps, at times he laughs,
at times he warbles, at times he laments,
but once in wonder, singing lyric tunes,
his gaze is solely on the Beloved.

Once drawn into the sea of His love,
the lover heeds not the shore;
his soul, longing for the tumult
of thrashing waves, disdains safe harbor.

Solely the seller of lives has a booth
in the joyous bazaar of His love;
how could the selfish, the brutish,
or the unrefined expect a place here?

When does one gazing at the sun
ever give heed to the darkness?
When does one enthralled with the Friend
ever heed the stranger’s presence?

The one who treads Your path
would cleanse his hands and heart of life.
The one who associates with You
seeks naught save Your good pleasure.

Such a wondrous and mystic clime
envelops this mystic garden –
soil of fire, blossoms of fire,
fire pouring forth from clouds above.

Is it the pen of `Abdu’l-Bahá,
or Khidr returned from the darkness,
like a bird that has the “water of life”
flowing from its beak?

Any heart possessed by the love of Bahá
can not simultaneously be in love with the world
any more than a royal falcon
would scavenge a dead corpse.

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