As Night Let its Curtains Down in Folds

by Muhyiddin ibn Arabi

English version by Michael A. Sells
Original Language Arabic

Peace, Salma, and peace
to those who halt awhile
at al-Hima. It is right
for one like me to greet you.

Would it have hurt her
to return the greeting?
Ah, but a statuette
goddess is beyond control.

They left as night
let its curtains down in folds.
I told them of a lover
strange and lost,

Surrounded by yearnings,
struck by their arrows
on target always,
wherever he goes.

She smiled, showing her side teeth.
Lightning flashed.
I couldn't tell which of the two
split the darkness.

Isn't it enough she said
I am in his heart
where each moment he sees me,
isn't it, no?

-- from Stations of Desire: Love Elegies from Ibn 'Arabi and New Poems, by Michael A. Sells

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As Night Let its