Monday, June 9, 2008

Some poetry from the Alevi/Bektashi tradition:

The drink sent down from Truth,
we drank it, glory be to God.
And we sailed over the Ocean of Power,
glory be to God.

Beyond those hills and oak woods,
beyond those vineyards and gardens,
we passed in health and joy, glory be to God.

We were dry, but we moistened.
We grew wings and became birds,
we married one another and flew,
glory be to God.

To whatever lands we came,
in whatever hearts, in all humanity,
we planted the meanings Taptuk taught us,
glory be to God.

Come here, let's make peace,
let's not be strangers to one another.
We have saddled the horse
and trained it, glory be to God.

We became a trickle that grew into a river.
We took flight and drove into the sea,
and then we overflowed, glory be to God.

We became servants at Taptuk's door.
Poor Yunus, raw and tasteless,
finally got cooked, glory be to God.
--Yunus Emre

We encountered the house of realization,
we witnessed the body.

The whirling skies, the many-layered earth,
the seventy-thousand veils,
we found in the body.

The night and the day, the planets,
the words inscribed on the Holy Tablets,
the hill that Moses climbed, the Temple,
and Israfil's trumpet, we observed in the body.

Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Quran --
what these books have to say,
we found in the body.

Everybody says these words of Yunus
are true. Truth is wherever you want it.
We found it all within the body.
--Yunus Emre

Knowledge should mean a full grasp of knowledge:
Knowledge means to know yourself, heart and soul.
If you have failed to understand yourself,
Then all of your reading has missed its call.

What is the purpose of reading those books?
So that Man can know the All-Powerful.
If you have read, but failed to understand,
Then your efforts are just a barren toil.

Don't boast of reading, mastering science
Or of all your prayers and obeisance.
If you don't identify Man as God,
All your learning is of no use at all.

The true meaning of the four holy books
Is found in the alphabet's first letter.
You talk about that first letter, preacher;
What is the meaning of that-could you tell?

Yunus Emre says to you, pharisee,
Make the holy pilgrimage if need be
A hundred times-but if you ask me,
The visit to a heart is best of all.
--Yunus Emre

Kaygusuz Abdal (14th–15th c.)

The Hidden Treasure Is In Me
The ocean, the endless sky,
the quarry and the gems are in me.

Open your eyes, look carefully:

both worlds are in me.

The spirit and the body,
the proof and the evidence,

both profit and loss—

the whole marketplace is in me.

I am the purpose of mankind,
the whirling movement of the earth;

I am the school and the knowledge—

the seal of completion is in me.

I am the Muslim. I am the Christian.
I am the place they both consider holy.

I am the crucified savior, the good and the evil—

whatever is—is in me.

I am the Infinite, the Eternal;
I am the wealthy and the poor;

I am the rememberer and what is remembered—

Faith and faithlessness are in me.
I am the idol that is worshipped,
the Kaaba* and the sacred relic—

the purpose of human beings
and all that comes with them

is in me.

I am the light particle and the sun itself,
the hidden and the seen;

I am everything existing under its rays—

Lover and Beloved are in me.

I am Kaygusuz Abdal, the soul in everyone.

I am the infinite and the eternal.

The hidden treasure is in me.

Ashık Veysel (20th c.)

There You Are
I hide Your beauty in my eye;
Whatever I look at,
There You are.

I hide Your presence in my heart;
How could a stranger live there?
There You are.

You are my foundation and my all;
My intimate one and the word on my tongue;
You bring the greeting from my darling one;
Within that greeting,
There You are.

All the blossoms and tender leaves
They hide their beauty in reds and greens;
In night’s darkness and the dawn’s first beams.
As each one awakens,
There You are.

You are the one who made creation,
who gave life and strength to every being.
There is no ending except for You
I believe and accept what I am seeing:
There You are.

The flute moans “Huuu” in ecstacy
The waves are roaring, the seas are rushing,
The sun appears to veil the stars
In its rays’ vast shining,
There You are.
You are the one who makes Veysel speak;
You are the tree and I am your leaf.
The unconscious fly right by what they seek.
In both the fruit and seed,
There You are.

Yunus Emre (13th c.)
Who Can Know My Mysteries?
I am the infinite, the eternal.
I am the one who gives life to the soul.
For those bewildered I am a cure.
The rescuer and remedy—it is me.

I am the one who stands solid as a tree
Who can know my mysteries?
How can those without soul-eyes see?
The one who enters souls— is me.

At the creation of the earth I appeared
With just one glance I brought perfect order.
I built an inn of welcome from His power
and laid the foundation for love. It was me.

I made the flatness of the plains
and pressed the earthen mountains into forms.
Like a tent flap I stretched the skies
and the whole earth became beauty. It was me.

It is I who created harmony among men.
It is I who wrote the scriptures with my pen.
Black letters on white paper and then
even the Book which He wrote—it is me, me.

It is I who reached union with the Friend.
It is I who followed His orders to the end.
I am the gardener who sculpts the land
and puts the world in perfect order—I.

It is I who comes when the Light arrives
Illuminating the earth and the soul’s eye.
When the sea is rough and surf is high
It is I who guides the ships to safety, I.
It is not Yunus saying all this.
The One is speaking with my lips.
For the faithless, ignorance is bliss.
Where time begins and ends—I.

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