At love's most sumptuous feast was I with love made drunk

by Imadeddin Nasimi

English version by Irina Zheleznova
Original Language Persian/Farsi

At love's most sumptuous feast was I with love made drunk -
Is not this why to me besotted seems the monk?

Of love I took a draught, I worship at its shrine;
Think not, a pious one, that I am drunk with wine.

Love leaves me dazed and sick, I stagger, overcome,
Whene'er to its embrace, enchanted, I succumb.

I am a drunkard, aye, but wine to me seems weak;
Upon the couch of love sweet solace do I seek.

When man, by Nature's will, did first appear on earth
A dram of love did he receive from her at birth.

Wind, water, fire and flame, the world is drunk with love,
The devil and the ghost, the serpent and the dove.

The earth, and heaven too, this would I say on oath,
So trust my words, I pray, are sots and drunkards both.

The sky reels drunkenly; the stars, half-swooning, wink -
Of love's sweet-scented wine a cupful did they drink.

And so in paradise did Eve, and Adam too,
Men, angels, houris, sprites, the faithless and the true;

Kings, prophets, holy men, Mukhtar and Suleiman,
And Noah of the Ark, and Jesus - everyone;

The Shah Mardan, Kerrar, the heathen, the devout,
Those who are firm of faith and also those who doubt;

Apostles, saints and seers, the scorned and the extolled,
The sages and the fools, the young, the very old.

The zealous Mufti claims his share in open glee;
The Ghadi holy one in the revelry.

The tavern-keeper drinks, the tavern haunter too,
The dervish and the priest wax maudlin o'er the brew.

The infidels, the giaours partake of love with zest;
All lovers are alike, none differ from the rest.

The outcast Angel drinks who waits at Heaven's door;
The mystic tries a sip and, thirsting, calls for more.

Love's fumes are wondrous strong, and though the cup be small,
He who doth fill it full, may reel and, stumbling, fall.

A drop will make one faint, one's limbs to wax 'twill turn,
With passion's melting fire one's heart 'twill sear and burn.

The voices in the inn are hoarse and shrill with wine;
The flute and tambourine, carousing, moan and whine.

There is a city where love reigns and lovers dwell;
Come, knock upon its gate, and enter for a spell.

No man who there abides, the morning sober meets:
The city walls are drunk, the market-place, the streets.

Alone the drunkards leave upon this earth a trace.
Mansour was right, for love doth all of life embrace.

Our hearts reflect the glow upon mount Sinai;
We who are drunk with love can happy live and die.

The Universe is drunk, for drunk 'tis meant to be -
Thus holds the keeper of both time and destiny.

The sun itself is drunk, else would it give no light;
'Tis clear to Nasimi, no veil obscures his sight.

The secret has he probed of love's mad drunkenness,
And now in flaming words his knowledge doth confess.

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The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey





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