Break Our Harp

Ghazal 1101

1240 (Go ahead and) break our harp, O lofty one, (for) thousands of
other harps exist here!

Since we have fallen into the talons2 of Love, what (does it matter)
to us (if) harp and reed-pipe are scarce?!

Even if (all) the lutes and harps of the world are burned up, there is
many a hidden harp (remaining), O friend!

Its strumming and melody have gone (up) to the heavens, although
it doesn't come into the ears of the deaf.

Even if (all) the lamps and candles of the world are put out, what
sorrow (is that)!-- since (flint) stone and iron exist (very) securely!

1245 Songs are (mere) straw (floating) on the sea; no pearl will
come to the surface of the ocean.

But know (that) the grace of the straw (is) from the pearl-- for the
reflection of its reflected gleam is (also shining) upon us!

Songs are entirely (just) a branch of the yearning for union-- (and)
branch and root are not at all equal.

(So) close your mouth3 and open the window of (your) heart, and
by that way be talking with the spirits!

--From The Dîwân-é Kabîr (also known as "Kulliyat-é Shams" and
"Dîwân-é Shams-é Tabrîz") of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with gratitude for
A. J. Arberry's 1968 British translation)
Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)
First published on "Sunlight" (, 10/24/98; revised
11/11/99 and re-published on "Sunlight," 11/29/99; revised 9/01)

Notes on the text, with line number:

1. Ghazal 110: Compare to: the translation from Persian by A. J.
Arberry, "Mystical Poems of Rumi," 1968, no. 13, pp. 17;
the version by Coleman Barks (based on Arberry's literal translation
from Persian), "Like This," 1990, p. 48, re-printed in "The Essential
Rumi," 1995, pp. 34-35 (entitled, by Barks, "Where Everything Is

2. (1241) talons [chang]: a pun, since this word (also meaning claws,
clutches) has a second meaning of "harp."

3. (1248) close your mouth: Rumi often appeals to silence as the source
of wisdom for any further questions, the source which transcends all
words and concepts.


1240 tô be-sh'kan chang-é mâ-râ ay mu`allâ
hazâr-ân chang-é dêgar hast în-jâ

chô mâ dar chang-é `ishq andar fotâd-êm
che kam ây-ad bar mâ chang-o sornâ

rabâb-o chang-é `âlam gar be-sôz-ad
basî changê-yé penhânê-st yâr-â

tarang-o tantan-ash rafta ba-gardûn
agar-che n-ây-ad ân dar gôsh-é Samâ

cherâgh-o sham`-é `âlam gar be-mîr-ad
che gham chûn sang-o âhan hast bar jâ

1245 ba-rôy-é baHr khâshâk-ast aghânî
na-y-ây-ad gawharê bar roy-é daryâ

wa-lêkin luTf-é khâshâk az gohar dân
ke `aks-é `aks-é barq-é ô bar mâ

aghânî jomla far`-é shawq-é aSlî-st
barâbar nêst far`-o aSl aSlâ

dahân bar band-o be-g'shâ rawzan-é del
az ân rah bâsh bâ arwâH gôyâ


Meter: oXXX oXXX oXX

(Qarîb sâlim)