The Lover’s Ablution

by Varqá (martyred)

Although murder is sinful
for those with learning and wisdom,
for an assassin like You
to take my life is perfectly lawful.

For while there is no one in this world
eager for his own drowning,
I have no desire for the shore
here in the depths of the ocean of Your love.

Cannot my admonishing friends see
that my eyes are fixed on His face?
O my counselors, for the sake of God,
cease these idle cautions.

What? Did you think my obligatory prayer
was lacking proper ablutions?
Did you not know that the lover’s ablution
is incomplete without the heart’s blood?

I hearkened unto the arch of Your brow
and became entangled in Your jet black hair;
I know not whether to call you the Praiseworthy One,
or simply He who is Just.

With your fathomless Elegance and Beauty
You are the destroyer of the gnostic lover;
With the plentitude of your heavenly virtues,
You are the object of every pious scholar’s quest.

O those of you who are insane with love,
since the pious ones are ignorant of the ecstacy
of your love for the Beloved of Hearts,
conceal if you can the secrets of your heart.

Since that moment when I placed
my aching love for You in my heart,
there is no longer any room there
for the sorrows of this world.

O Beloved, I have nothing fitting
to offer at Your feet,
except this meager token of my life,
an unworthy gift for You.

There is no leaven for the friends
except reunion with Him.
O my heart, if you desire true life,
never forget that truth.

There are so many songs of love for You
that overflow from Varqá’s love-sick heart,
that were he for even a moment to part his lips,
they would burn to ashes this body of water and clay.

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