Rahman Rahi

The cupola-dweller, a labyrinth,
in which
petrifying shadows and the fusing rocks
arouse in oceans the desire for the desert;
and dreadful phantasms in the foliage of nightly planes in quietude.

The cupola-dweller, a labyrinth,
a step and luminosity of flickering lamps,
a glance and the moth’s flutter in the flame and blare.
The illusion densities and
the bee hurls itself on the glass in the black stone.
The lowly army has returned from the campground;
the trees wept, but all around
cupolas sprang up, and the vortex whirled.
A labyrinth breathing in and breathing out.
No trellis of Beauty’s loggia is ajar;
nor does the chain of Love’s door clang.
Neither is there any wave of sound rising without,
nor is the fount within ankle-deep.
A gloom within gloom, a gyrating wheel,
dawn, morning, day-time, night-time:
foot-prints on foot-prints, a loop fitting in a loop.

A labyrinth, darkness meeting darkness;
Loveless diapason, a formless dance.
Neither the meaning of vaakhas, nor acceptation of songs.
The ground underneath your feet sinks, an abyss is seen.
O my existence, you attained non-being, your exultance.
That half-slain dancer,
how, slumbering in a mine, could become a gem?
How could that prisoner be free
if this abyss of incertitude were not underneath his feet?

Translated from the Kashmiri by Shafi Shauq.