‘Attar’s Brigand Beloved

A very unique ghazal by Farid al-Din ‘Attar, a late 12th century poet from Nishapur in Khorasan (modern NE Iran). It is unusual because it relates a semi-coherent narrative, as opposed to the typical unrelated line style of ghazals, in which the poem is compared to a pearl necklace, each line a pearl and the rhyme scheme the string which holds it together.

What to do? She comes — my belov’d brigand.
She’s coming towards the bazaar, blade in hand.
Her dagger thirsts for the blood of my heart,
No doubt she’s come to tear it apart.
Her pistachio lips oozing sugar,
Just as blood gushes forth from her dagger.
She plays the Turk, and I her Hindu slave
By now her sword’s put hoards in the grave.
She’s cloaked and armed each day,  bright and early,
One comes before her begging for mercy.
She holds the mirror to her lovely face,
That she may take the haggard lover’s place.
So how can one like me win her favors
When she cares only for that face of hers?
She is unbound in love, all others caught.
Look down the road of Love, each person’s lot
Is nothing more than mere chance and shot.
Lover, Love, and Beloved — all is she.
Then who is there left for you to be?
When I look at what she has in store
For ‘Attar, there is ruin, nothing more.


Translation by: Michelle Quay 

متن اصلی – coming soon (original text)



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