Photo: Dome of the Rock, 1913.
At first, the way of your love
I thought I'd reach
After taking a few steps,
is an ocean.
When I stepped in,
a wave swept me away.
(Hamid al-Din Kirmani)
Source and Recommended Reading:
'Love's Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition'
By David Fideler (Author), Sabrineh Fideler (Author)
The thirteenth-century poet Rumi is just one voice in the poetry of Sufism, the timeless Persian mystical tradition. The poems and epigrams collected in Love’s Alchemy represent all of the major poets, including Rumi, of this magnificent art. While many recent bestsellers have been interpretations from other English translations, Sabrineh and David Fideler work from the original Persian sources. The book offers faithful yet elegant translations from 170 of the best poems written in ruba'i form: concise, tightly focused meditations that span only four lines, but which reveal worlds of meaning. The poems explore many aspects of human life and the spiritual path, but center on the liberating power of love. Also included are an extensive introduction, a glossary, and notes that place these wonderful poems in cultural, historical, and religious context.
“I have appreciated the highly original, solid, and beautiful work of David Fideler for many years. Love’s Alchemy could come only from his wide knowledge and sense of aesthetics. In its musical words, the Sufi poets paint a delicate word-bridge between the earthly and the spiritual, and they charm us, wakening the human urge to transcend ourselves.”
(Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Dark Nights of the Soul)
“Love’s Alchemy takes us into the tavern of mystical love, full of intoxicating treasures of Sufi poetry. Here are the masters of love, Rumi among them, whose words speak directly to the soul. With beauty and wisdom they teach us the truth of our eternal nature and how the heart opens to God. Treasure these poems and allow them to nourish the secret and hidden parts of your innermost being.”
(Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, PhD, author of Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart)
“Love’s Alchemy is a delightful and absorbing collection of translations from the major Persian Sufi poets. David and Sabrineh Fideler have provided authentic interpretations of these mystical texts in memorable form. Lovers of Rumi will be pleased to find so many other great authors from this tradition.”
(Carl W. Ernst, Zachary Smith Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill)
“This is how Sufis themselves teach Sufism: through poetry as alchemy. And these translations are indeed transmutations, changing the gold of Persian into the gold of English.”
(Peter Lamborn Wilson, author of Sacred Drift: Essays on the Margins of Islam)