The encounter with the Transcendent inspires an unspeakable awe, in the face of which our worldly
existence appears as a source of separation and sorrow. Lament meditates on lines written by
Ibn ‘Arabi communicating the terror and wonder of an experience of the Infinitely Beyond.
The poet uses visceral language that associates the desolation of the lover with
the desolation of the desert to evoke the meeting of overwhelming attraction and overwhelming
fear in a heart that trembles in the face of the Absolute.
بِأَبي مَن ذُبتُ فيهِ كَمَداً
My father be the ransom of him for whose sake I melted with anguish!
بِأَبي مَن مُتُّ مِنهُ فَرَقا
My father be the ransom of him for whose sake I died of fear!
حُمرَةُ الحَجلَةِ في وَجنَتِهِ
وَضَحُ الصُبحِ يُناغي الشَفَقا
The blush of shame on his cheek is the whiteness of dawn conversing with the Redness of eve
غادَروني بِالأَثيلِ وَالنَقا x4
They left me at al-Uthayl and an-Naqá
مَن لِبَثّي مَن لِوَجدي دُلَّني
Who will compose my distracted thoughts?
Who will relieve my pain?
Guide me to him!
مَن لِحُزني مِن لِصَبٍّ عَشِقا
Who will ease my sorrow?
Who will help a passionate lover?
كُلَّما ضَنَّت تَباريحُ الهَوى
فَضَحَ الدَمعُ الجَوى وَالأَرَقا
Whenever I keep secret the torments of desire
My tears betray the flame within and the sleeplessness
فَإِذا قُلتُ هَبوا لي نَظرَةً
قيلَ ما تُمنَعُ إِلّا شَفَقا
And whenever I say, ‘Give me one look!
The answer is, ‘Thou art not hindered but for pity’s sake.’
My father x3