As Night Let its Curtains Down in Folds

Peace, Salma, and peace

to those who halt awhile
at al-Hima. It is right
for one like me to greet you.

Would it have hurt her
to return the greeting?
Ah, but a statuette
goddess is beyond control.

They left as night
let its curtains down in folds.
I told them of a lover
strange and lost,

Surrounded by yearnings,
struck by their arrows
on target always,
wherever he goes.

She smiled, showing her side teeth.
Lightning flashed.
I couldn’t tell which of the two
split the darkness.

Isn’t it enough she said
I am in his heart
where each moment he sees me,
isn’t it, no?

by Muhyiddin ibn Arabi

English version by Michael A. Sells
Original Language Arabic

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