The Soul’s Friend
The Most Alive Moment
The most living moment comes when
those who love each other meet each
other’s eyes and in what flows
between them then. To see your face
in a crowd of others, or alone on a
frightening street, I weep for that.
Our tears improve the earth. The
time you scolded me, your gratitude,
your laughing, always your qualities
increase the soul. Seeing you is a
wine that does not muddle or numb.
We sit inside the cypress shadow
where amazement and clear thought
twine their slow growth into us.
(Coleman Barks translation)
The Soul’s Friend
Listen to your essential self, the Friend.
When you feel longing, be patient,
and also prudent, moderate with eating and drinking.
Be like a mountain in the wind.
Do you notice how little it moves?
There are sweet illusions that arrive
to lure you away. Make some excuse to them.
I have indigestion, or I need to meet my cousin.
You fish, the baited hook may be fifty
or even sixty gold pieces, but is it really worth
your freedom in the ocean?
When traveling, stay close to your bag.
I am the bag that holds what you love.
You can be separated from me.
Live carefully in the joy of this friendship.
Don’t think, But those others love me too.
Some invitations sound like the fowler’s whistle
to the quail, friendly,
but not quite how you remember
the call of your soul’s Friend.
If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
If anyone wants to know what “spirit” is,
or what “God’s fragrance” means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.
Like this. Like this.
When someone asks what it means
to “die for love,” point
If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.
The soul sometimes leaves the body, the returns.
When someone doesn’t believe that,
walk back into my house.
When lovers moan,
they’re telling our story.
I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.
When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
How did Joseph’s scent come to Jacob?
How did Jacob’s sight return?
A little wind cleans the eyes.
When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he’ll put just his head around the edge
of the door to surprise us