A slave's freedom

by Farid ud-Din Attar

English version by Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Loghman of Sarrakhs cried: "Dear God, behold
Your faithful servant, poor, bewildered, old--
An old slave is permitted to go free;
I've spent my life in patient loyalty,
I'm bent with grief, my black hair's turned to snow;
Grant manumission, Lord, and let me go."
A voice replied: "When you have gained release
from mind and thought, your slavery will cease;
You will be free when these two disappear."
He said: "Lord, it is You whom I revere;
What are the mind and all its ways to me?"
And left them there and then -- in ecstasy
He danced and clapped his hands and boldly cried:
"Who am I now? The slave I was has died;
What's freedom, servitude, and where are they?
Both happiness and grief have fled away;
I neither own nor lack all qualities;
My blindness looks on secret mysteries --
I know not whether You are I, I You;
I lose myself in You, there is no two."

-- from The Conference of the Birds, Translated by Afkham Darbandi / Translated by Dick Davis

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A slave's freedom