Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Lover Who Slept

A lover, tired out by the tears he wept,
Lay in exhaustion on the earth and slept;
When his beloved came and saw him there,
Sunk fast in sleep, at peace, without a care,
She took a pen and in an instant wrote,
Then fastened to his sleeve, a little note.
When he awoke and read her words his pain
(Increased a thousandfold) returned again -
"If you sell silver in the town," he read,
"The market's opened, rouse your sleepy head;
If faith is your concern, pray through the night -
Prostrate yourself until the dawning light;
But if you are a lover, blush with shame;
Sleep is unworthy of the lover's name!
He watches with the wind throughout the day;
He sees the moon rise up and fade away -
But you do neither, though you weep and sigh;
Your love for me looks like an empty lie.
A man who sleeps before death's sleep I call
A lover of himself, and that is all!
You've no idea of love, and may your sleep
Be like your ignorance - prolonged and deep!"

... The Conference of the Birds, Farid al-Din Attar

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