A Thief In The Night

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A Thief In The Night

Suddenly
(yet somehow expected)
he arrived, the guest….
the heart trembling “Who’s there?”

and soul responding
“The Moon…”
came into the house, and we lunatics
ran into the street, stared up
looking
for the moon.

Then–inside the house–
he cried out “Here I am !”
and we, beyond earshot
lunning around, calling him…

crying for him
for the drunken nightingale
locked lamenting
in our garden
while we mourning ringdoves
murmured “Where Where?”

As if at midnight
the sleepers bolt upright
in their beds
hearing a thief
break into the house
they stumble about
crying “Help!
A thief! A thief!”

but the burglar himself
mingles in the confusion
echoing their cries:
“….. a thief!”
till one cry
melts with the others.

~ Maulana Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi Rumi

(A Thief in The Night)
— Ghazal (Ode) 2172
“The Drunken Universe”
Translation by Peter Lamborn Wilson with Nasrullah
Pourjavadi
Omega Publications, New Lebanon, 1987

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