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Conference of the Birds.docx

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Religion & Culture
Ali Zaidi

page 12 Dear hoopoe welcome You will be our guide It was on you King Solomon relied To carry secret messages between His court and distant Shebas lovely queen He knew your language and you knew his heartAs his close confidant you learnt the art Of holding demons captive underground And for these valiant exploits you were crowned And you are welcome finch Rise up and play Those liquid notes that steal mens hearts away Like Moses you have seen the flames burn high On Sinais slopes and there you long to fly Like him avoid cruel Pharaohs hand and seek Your promised home on Sinais mountain peak There you will understand unspoken words Too subtle for the ears of mortal birds And welcome parrot perched in paradise Your splendid plumage bears a strange device A necklace of bright fire about the throat Though heavens bliss is promised by your coat This circle stands for hell if you can flee Like Abraham from Nimrods enmity Despise these flamesuninjured will you tread Through fire if first you cut off Nimrods head And when the fear of him has died put on Your gorgeous coat your collars strength has gone Welcome dear partridgehow you strut with pride Along the slopes of wisdoms mountainside Let laughter ring out where your feet have trod Then strike with all your strength the door of God Destroy the mountain of the Self and here From ruined rocks a camel will appear Beside its newborn noble hooves a stream Of honey mingled with white milk will gleamDrive on this beast and at your journeys end Saleh will greet you as a longlost friend Rare falcon welcome How long will you be So fiercely jealous of your liberty Your lure is love and when the jess is tied Submit and be for ever satisfied Give up the intellect for love and see In one brief moment all eternity Break natures frame be resolute and brave Then rest at peace in Unitys black cave Rejoice in that close undisturbed dark airThe Prophet will be your companion there And welcome francolin Since once you heard And answered Gods first allcommanding word Since love has spoken in your soul reject The Self that whirlpool where our lives are wrecked As Jesus rode his donkey ride on it Your stubborn Self must bear you and submitThen burn this Self and purify your soul Let Jesus spotless spirit be your goal Destroy this burden and before your eyes The Holy Ghost in glory will arise Welcome dear nightingalefrom your sweet throat Pour out the pain of lovers note by note Like David in loves garden gently sigh There sing the songs that make men long to die O sing as David did and with your song Guide home mans suffering and deluded throng The Self is like a mail coatmelt this steel To pliant wax with Davids holy zeal And when its metal melts like David you Will melt with love and bid the Self adieu And welcome peacockonce of paradise Who let the venomous smooth snake entice Your instincts to its masters evil way And suffered exile for that fateful day He blackened your untutored heart and made A tangled darkness of the orchards shadeUntil you crush this snake how can you be A pilgrim worthy of our mystery Destroy its ugly charm and Adam then Will welcome you to paradise again Cock pheasant welcome With your piercing sight Look up and see the hearts source drowned in light You are imprisoned in your filthy well A dark and noisome unremitting hellRise from this well as Joseph did and gain The throne of Egypts fabulous domain Where you and Joseph will together reign Dear pigeon welcomewith what joy you yearn To fly away how sadly you return Your heart is wrung with grief you share the gaol That Jonah knew the belly of a whaleThe Self has swallowed you for its delight How long will you endure its mindless spite Cut off its head seek out the moon and fly Beyond the utmost limits of the sky Escape this monster and become the friend Of Jonah in that ocean without end Welcome sweet turtledove and softly coo Until the heavens scatter jewels on youBut what ingratitude you show Around Your neck a ring of loyalty is bound But while you live you blithely acquiesce From head to claw in smug ungratefulness Abandon such selflove and you will see The Way that leads us to Reality There knowledge is your guide and Khezr will bring Clear water drawn from lifes eternal spring And welcome hawk Your flight is high and proud But you return with head politely bowedIn blood and in affliction you must drown And I suggest you keep your head bent down What are you here Mere carrion rotten flesh Withheld from Truth by this worlds clumsy mesh Outsoar both this world and the next and there Released from both take off the hood you wearWhen you have turned from both worlds you will land On Zulgharnins outstretched and welcome hand And little goldfinch welcome May your fire Be an external sign of fierce desire Whatever happens burn in those bright flames And shut your eyes and soul to earthly claims Then as you burn whatever pain you feel Remember God will recompense your zeal When you perceive His hidden secrets give Your life to Gods affairs and truly liveAt last made perfect in Reality You will be gone and only God will beA reference to the Companion of the Cave During a period of danger the Prophet Mohammad and a close companion Abou Bakr hid for a while in a cave on Mount Thaur In mystical poetry this episode became a symbol of withdrawal from the world The birds assemble and the hoopoe tells them of the Simorgh The worlds birds gathered for their conference And said Our constitution makes no sense All nations in the world require a king How is it we alone have no such thing Only a kingdom can be justly run We need a king and must inquire for one They argued how to set about their quest The hoopoe fluttered forward on his breast There shone the symbol of the Spirits Way And on his head Truths crown a feathered spray
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