Ibn al-Farid-Be haughty becasue that’s your right

as sung by the remarkable Saad Temsamani

تهْ دلالاً فأنتَ أهلٌ لذاكا وتَحكّمْ، فالحُسْنُ قد أعطاكَا

ولكَ الأمرُ فاقضِ ما أنتَ قاضٍ فعلّي الجمالُ قدْ ولاّكا

Be haughty, because you’re worth it, and have your way
Because of what beauty has given you
The command is yours, so judge what you’re the judge of
Because the beauty that is yours rules over me



Vide Cor Meum (See My Heart)

A nice libretto based on the third chapter of Dante’s La Vita Nuova

Vide Cor Meum


Chorus: E pensando di lei Mi sopragiunse uno soave sonno
Ego dominus tuus Vide cor tuum E d’sto core ardendo Cor tuum
(Chorus: Lei paventosa)
 Umilmente pascea Appreso gir lo ne vedea piangendo
La letizia si convertia In amarissimo pianto
Io sono in pace Cor meum Io sono in pace Vide cor meum
Chorus: And thinking of her Sweet sleep overcame me
I am your master Behold your heart
 And of this burning heart Your heart
 (Chorus: She trembling)
 Obediently eats Weeping, I saw him then depart from me
Joy is converted To bitterest tears
I am in peace My heart
I am in peace Here’s my Heart


The passage from La Vita Nuova upon which it is based:

And thinking of her a sweet sleep overcame me, in which a marvellous vision appeared to me: so that it seemed I saw in my room a flame-coloured nebula, in the midst of which I discerned the shape of a lord of fearful aspect to those who gazed on him: and he appeared to me with such joy, so much joy within himself, that it was a miraculous thing: and in his speech he said many things, of which I understood only a few: among them I understood this: ‘Ego dominus tuus: I am your lord.’
 It seemed to me he held a figure sleeping in his arms, naked except that it seemed to me to be covered lightly with a crimson cloth: gazing at it very intently I realised it was the lady of the greeting, she who had deigned to greet me before that day. And in one of his hands it seemed to me that he held something completely on fire, and he seemed to say to me these words: ‘Vide cor tuum: Look upon your heart. And when he had stood for a while, he seemed to wake her who slept: and by his art was so forceful that he made her eat the thing that burned in her hand, which she ate hesitantly.
    After waiting for a little while his joy was all turned to bitter grief: and, so grieving, he gathered that lady in his arms, and it seemed to me that he ascended with her towards heaven: from which I experienced such anguish that my light sleep could not endure it, and so was broken, and was dispersed. And immediately I began to reflect, and discovered that the hour in which this vision appeared to me was the fourth of that night: so as to be manifestly clear, it was the first hour of the nine last hours of night.  Thinking to myself about what had appeared to me, I decided to make it known to many who were famous poets of the time: and as it was a fact that I had already gained for myself to some extent the art of speaking words in rhyme, I decided to shape a sonetto, in which I would greet all those faithful to Amor: and begging them to interpret my vision, I wrote for them what I had seen in my sleep. And then I began this sonetto, that which begins: A ciascun´alma presa e gentil core.


A ciascun’alma presa, e gentil core,
 nel cui cospetto ven lo dir presente,
 in ciò che mi rescrivan suo parvente
 salute in lor segnor, cioè Amore
. Già eran quasi che atterzate l’ore
 del tempo che onne stella n’è lucente,
 quando m’apparve Amor subitamente
 cui essenza membrar mi dà orrore.
 Allegro mi sembrava Amor tenendo
 meo core in mano, e ne le braccia avea
 madonna involta in un drappo dormendo.
 Poi la svegliava, e d’esto core ardendo
 lei paventosa umilmente pascea:
 appresso gir lo ne vedea piangendo.



To every captive soul and gentle heart
into whose sight this present speech may come,
so that they might write its meaning for me,
greetings, in their lord’s name, who is Love.
Already a third of the hours were almost past
of the time when all the stars were shining,
when Love suddenly appeared to me
whose memory fills me with terror.
Joyfully Love seemed to me to hold
my heart in his hand, and held in his arms
my lady wrapped in a cloth sleeping.
Then he woke her, and my burning heart
He fed her reverently, she fearing,
And then, I saw him leave, weeping.



(modified from this translation)


Ibn al-Fāriḍ: My heart told me… -ابن الفارض : قلبي يحدّثني

A portion of one of my all-time favorite poems, beautifully recited


                         قلْبي يُحدّثُني بأنّكَ مُتلِفي
  روحي فداكَ عرفتَ أمْ لمْ تعرفِ
                  لم أقضِ حقَّ هَوَاكَ إن كُنتُ الذي
لم أقضِ فيهِ أسى ً، ومِثلي مَن يَفي
               ما لي سِوى روحي، وباذِلُ نفسِهِ
في حبِّ منْ يهواهُ ليسَ بمسرفِ
                   فَلَئنْ رَضيتَ بها، فقد أسْعَفْتَني
يا خيبة َ المسعى إذا لمْ تسعفِ


Literal Translation:
 My heart told me that you are my destroyer
        My soul is your hostage, whether you know it or not
I have not honored the right of your love
         If I do not die in it sorrowfully, and doesn’t one like me honor [the rights of love]?
What do I have but my soul? And the one who gives his soul
         for the one he loves is not prodigal
If you are pleased by it [my soul], then you draw near to me
        O futility of effort, if you don’t come close to me!


A more musical performance:


The Poetry of Prayer- صلاة مشيشة

Although not strictly speaking poetry, the famous prayer of the Maghribi Shaykh ‘abd as-Salaam ibn Mashish on the Prophet of Islam, joins beautiful and profound symbolism with an nearly equally profound beauty of sound.  Every poem seems tinged with prayer, and every sincere prayer bears the perfume of poetry, as these recitations show:




O my God (Allāhumma), bless him from whom derive the secrets and from whom gush forth the lights, and in whom rise up the realities, and into whom descended the sciences of Adam, so that he hath made powerless all creatures, and so that understandings are diminished in his regard, and no one amongst us, neither predecessor nor successor, can grasp him.

The gardens of the spiritual world (al-malakūt) are adorned with the flower of his beauty, and the pools of the world of omnipotence (al-jabarūt) overflow with the outpouring of his lights.

There existeth nothing that is not linked to him, even as it was said: “Were there no mediator, everything that dependeth on him would disappear!” (Bless him, O my God), by a blessing such as returneth to him through Thee from Thee, according to his due.

O my God, he is Thine integral secret, that demonstrateth Thee, and Thy supreme veil, raised up before Thee.

O my God, join me to his posterity and justify me by Thy reckoning of him. Let me know him with a knowledge that saveth me from the wells of ignorance and quencheth my thirst at the wells of virtue. Carry me on his way, surrounded by Thine aid, towards Thy presence. Strike through me at vanity, so that I may destroy it. Plunge me in the oceans of Oneness (al-ahadīyah), pull me back from the sloughs of tawhīd, and drown me in the pure source of the ocean of Unity (al-wahdah), so that I neither see nor hear nor am conscious nor feel except through it. And make of the Supreme Veil the life of my spirit, and of his spirit the secret of my reality, and of his reality all my worlds, by the realization of the First Truth.

O First, O Last, O Outward, O Inward, hear my petition, even as Thou heardest the petition of Thy servant Zachariah; succour me through Thee unto Thee, support me through Thee unto Thee, unite me with Thee, and come in between me and other-than Thee: Allah, Allah, Allah! Verily He who hath imposed on thee the Qu’an for a law, will bring thee back to the promised end (Qur’ān, 28:85).

Our Lord, grant us mercy from Thy presence, and shape for us right conduct in our plight (Qur’ān, 18:10).

Verily God and His angels bless the Prophet; O ye who believe, bless him and wish him peace (Qur’ān, 33:56).

May the graces (salawāt) of God, His peace, His salutations, His mercy and His blessings (barakāt) be on our Lord Muhammad, Thy servant, Thy prophet and Thy messenger, the un-lettered prophet, and on his family and on his companions, (graces) as numerous as the even and the odd and as the perfect and blessed words of our Lord.

Glorified be thy Lord, the Lord of Glory, beyond what they attribute unto Him, and peace be on the Messengers. Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds (Qur’ān, 37:180–182).”

(from Titus Burckhardt’s “The Prayer of Ibn Mashīsh.” Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 12, No. 1 & 2. (Winter-Spring, 1978).



اللهمَّ صلِّ على مَنْ منهُ انشقَّت الأسرارُ ، وانفلقَتِ الأنوارُ ، وفيهِ ارتقَتِ الحقائقُ ، وتنـزَّلتْ عُلومُ آدمَ فأعجزَ الخلائقَ ، ولهُ تضاءَلتِ الفُهومُ فَلمْ يُدْرِكْهُ منّا سابقٌ ولا لاحِقٌ ، فرياضُ الملكوتِ بزهرِ جماله مونِقةٌ ، وحياضُ الجبروتِ بِفيضٍ أنوارِهِ مُتدفّقةٌ ، ولا شيءَ إلا وهوَ به منوطٌ ، إذ لولا الواسِطةُ لذهَبَ كما قيلَ الموسوطُ ، صلاةً تليقُ بكَ مِنكَ إليهِ كما هو أهلهُ ، اللهمَّ إنّه سرُّكَ الجامعُ الدَّالُّ عليكَ ، وحِجابُكَ الأعظمُ القائمُ لكَ بينَ يديكَ ، اللهمَّ ألحقْنِي بنسبِهِ ، وحقِّقْنِي بحسَبِهِ وعرِّفني إِيَّاهُ مَعرفةً أسْلمُ بها مِن مواردِ الجهلِ ، وأكرع بِها مِنْ مَوارِدِ الفَضل . واحملني على سَبيلِهِ إلى حَضْرتِكَ حَمْلاً محفوفاً بِنُصْرَتِكَ ، واقذفْ بي على الباطل فأدمغَهُ ، وزُجَّ بي في بحار الأَحَدِيَّة ، وانشُلني من أَوْحالِ التَّوحيدِ ، وأغرقني في عين بحْرِ الوَحدةِ ، حتى لا أرى ولا أسمَعَ ولا أَجِدَ ولا أُحِسَّ إلا بها ، واجعلْ الحِجابَ الأعظمَ حياةَ رُوحي ، ورُوحَهُ سِرَّ حقيقتي ، وحقيقَتَهُ جامعَ عَوالمي ، بتحقيقِ الحقِّ الأوّلِ ، يا أَوّلُ يا آَخِرُ يا ظاهِرُ يا باطنُ ، اسمع ندائي بما سمعْتَ به نداءَ عبدِكَ زكريا ، وانصُرني بكَ لكَ ، وأيّدني بكَ لكَ ، واجمعْ بيني وبينَك وحُلْ بيني وبينَ غَيرِك ، اللهُ ، اللهُ ، اللهُ (( إنَّ الذي فرضَ عليْكَ القُرآنَ لرادُّكَ إلى معادٍ )) ، (( ربَّنا آتِنَا مِنْ لدُنْكَ رحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَداً ))  (ثلاثاً)


A recitation at the Shaykh’s grave:

‘Attar and Carminho

The Soul’s Dilemma

Once again, each day,

I travel the path of your love

Every night without fail

I mourn your absence anew.

My soul lacks the courage

to love one

such as you-

and my heart lacks the strength

to abandon you too


From Love’s Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition.  New World Library, 2006.

I wrote your name on the wind…

Translation of lyrics:

I wrote your name in the wind

Convinced that I was writing it

Upon the page of oblivion

That was lost in the wind (x 2)

And when I  saw it still buried

In the dust of the road

I thought my heart was free

From the bonds of your affection (x 2)

Poor me, I had no idea

That just like me

The wind would fall in love

With that name of yours

And as the wind tosses and turns

so does my torment

I want to forget you, believe me

But there is more and more wind


I whispered your name to the wind

I whispered your name to the wind
It set the trees’ leaves all aflame
They fell, spelling your name in dust
Which then lept up to dance and sing
And when the dust fell down dead tired
The earth’s heart split in longing pain
And when the sky asked earth what’s wrong?
The ground could only groan your name
And then the clouds welled up with tears
The lovesick sky began to rain
Then sun scattered the clouds but when
He saw what the sky’s tears contained
He flushed with love, fainted away
And only the dark night remained
 The moon woke up and asked the stars
About the sunlight’s dying flame
They winked and all whispered your name
The moon blushed black, and closed his eyes
His image in the ocean sighed
The sea’s smooth surface heaved and writhed
As whales wept with the mourning tide
And then the Moon’s heart broke in two
One piece is me, one piece is you
 And I swear by your name it’s true
I’ve seen just what your name can do


Songs from Andalus

Fado: Casa de Fados

(from Carlos Saura’s film Fados)


Lyrics (from the film’s subtitles):

First singer:
A lost friendship can never return
It’s a forged firendship
 That jokingly comes and goes
It’s a forged friendship
that jokingly comes and goes
No one gives a thing
If behind that gesture there is no value
Only a friend can give love without receiveing


My mother I sing tonight
For the day has punished me
And in the silence of things
I find a friendly voice
And in the silence of things
I find a friendly voice
My mother I cry tonight
for the love I am drowning in
For the words of life
Have no other world
For I am this song
Mother, So hurt
I wear this body at night
without fate but with fado
I wear this body at night
without fate but with fado


Maybe fado will tell me what no one wants to say
That is why I chase it so that I may understand myself
That is why I chase it so that I may understand myself
My love I have sung
Under the last sky
Because I surrender myself in every last fado as if it were the first
Maybe fado does not ask me for everything I give it
So even when I forget
It does not forget me
So even when I forget
It does not forget me


Carminho (my favorite):
I cried for not seeing you
For seeing you I cry
I cried for not seeing you
For seeing you I now cry
Harder for wanting
Wanting to see you all the time
Time rushes past
When you talk and I listen
But the hours of our life
Each has a moment
Stay beside me
And never leave
So that my heart poor thing
May live life in an hour
So that my heart poor thing
May live life in an hour
Do not be afraid of fame, ill-famed Alfama
Do not be afraid of fame, ill-famed Alfama
Fame sometimes defames good honorable people


Other guy:
Fadistas come with me
Listen to the street fado
And sing a street duel
In a charming ancient quarter


Let’s go as I have said
You will see when the day dawns
How fun the revelry was
In the old Alfama quarter
Do not be afraid of fame ill-famed Alfama


Other guy:
I know of the world you speak
But surely I know wrong
I know what the world is saying
But surely out of spite
For was it always not true
That tales were told?
 Many people there lived
Very quiet lives
Which in a spiteful way are muddied
Sometimes defames
Good honorable people

Flamenco: Camarón-Rosa Maria

(rough translation of the lyrics)

Country Wildflowers
Water from the clear lagoon
That’s how I describe the colors of your face

Rosa Maria, Rosa Maria
if you loved me, how happy I would be

I envy the flowers
the mirror where you look
the brush of your hair
and the air that you breathe
and the air that you breathe

Rosa Maria, Rosa Maria
if you loved me, how happy I would be

She’s joy and beauty
and grace in her walk
and even your laugh is beautiful
and different from the rest

Rosa Maria, Rosa Maria
if you loved me, how happy I would be

Rosa Maria, Rosa Maria
if you loved me, how happy I would be


Camarón and Paco de Lucia por Siguriyas


Andalusian mawwal: Omar Metioui-El secreto encuentro

Lyrics from Ibn ‘Arabi’s tarjuman al-ashwaq:

ألا يا نسيم الريح بلغ مها نجد      بأني على ما تعلمون من العهد

فان كان حقا ما تقول و عندها    إليّ من الشوق المبرّح ما عندي

إليها ففي حرّ الظهيرة نلتقي    بخيمتها سرا على أصدق الوعد

O Morning breeze, go tell the gazelles of Najd
   that, “I’m true to the vow you know of”
And if what she says is true and she
   has for me the desperate longing I have
for her, then in the heat of noon we’ll meet
   in her tent secretly, with the most sincere promise