Jun 21 2013

Rabia al-Basri – O my Lord, the stars glitter

Published by at 8:18 am under Poetry

O my Lord, the stars glitter
by Rabia al-Basri (Rabia al- Adawiyya)

English version by Charles Upton

O my Lord,
the stars glitter
and the eyes of men are closed.
Kings have locked their doors
and each lover is alone with his love.

Here, I am alone with you.

— from Doorkeeper of the Heart: Versions of Rabia, Translated by Charles Upton


/ Photo by s0ggywaffls /

I have not read this poem by Rabia in quite a while, but rereading it this morning, I am struck by its simple power. Just a few lines, yet they ring with so much meaning.

Stars and light and missing the vision of it all.

Kings and locked doors. Protecting our things, protecting our worlds, locking ourselves inside.

Lovers together, a world unto themselves.

And that final line to the Divine Beloved–

Here, I am alone with you.

Happy Summer Solstice. And a full moon too!






Rabia al-Basri (Rabia al- Adawiyya)

Iraq (717 – 801) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Rabia, sometimes called Rabia of Basra or Rabia al Basri, was born to a poor family in Basra in what is now Iraq. Her parents died of famine and she was sold into slavery.

The story is told that her master one night woke up and saw a light shining above her head while she was praying. Stunned, he freed her the next morning.

Rabia chose a solitary life of prayer, living much of her life in desert seclusion.

Her fame as a holy woman spread and people began to journey to her retreat, to ask advice, to study, to learn.

Today she is greatly revered by devout Muslims and mystics throughout the world.

More poetry by Rabia al-Basri (Rabia al- Adawiyya)

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Rabia al-Basri – O my Lord, the stars glitter”

  1. Dawnon 22 Jun 2013 at 12:30 am

    Oneness, the Divine Beloved appearing as Rabia…., as closed eyes…, as kings…., as locked doors…, as thoughts about protecting things…, as the creation of worlds and stars.

    Nothing but just the ever unknown Divine Beloved, appearing as the known…….,

    A bow from the Beloved to the Beloved.

  2. ebrahimon 22 Jun 2013 at 12:41 am

    A NEW ERA AND EPOCH HAS DAWNED. IT BEHOVES NOW FOR THE EYES TO BE OPENED. LET THE MAN OF RECOGNITION SEAL HIS TREASURES FOR THE SKY IS ABLAZE AND THE EARTH IS DARK.

    GOD IS GONE!

  3. Therese Monaghan O.P.on 23 Jun 2013 at 6:55 am

    Marvelous how one word says so much–contentment–
    Even in pain and loss. When I read of Rabia’a early suffering–and how she knew the light and how others knew it too– in her. I shall remember:” I am alone with you” in the midst of it all. thanks, Ivan

  4. Aldenon 24 Jun 2013 at 11:37 am

    Hi,

    The video of Merton meeting Chatrul Rinpoche isn’t available when the play buttton is hit. Do you know when it might be posted?

    thanks

  5. #thekenshowon 24 Jun 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Beautiful and resonant. For me, the line

    “and each lover is alone with his love”

    Suggests not lovers together but solitary lovers, unrequited, disconnected not only by locks but also their inability to recognize the deepest nature of love. Ah!