From the Diwan of Mansur al-Hallaj

A few days ago Jerry Rothenberg published some of my translations of the work of the 10C Baghdadi poet & mystic Mansur al-Hallaj (who is also central to my recent book of poems, Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj — Chax Press 2013). Below the opening section; the complete post (with a commentary on al-Hallaj & a poem from Meditations) can be found here.

Outside & Subterranean Poems, a Mini-Anthology in Progress (57): Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj (Persian, 10th century A.D.): from The Divan

         The execution of Mansur al-Hallaj, 1602 AD (1011 AH)


from the section: Dereliction

81.     Yâ sirra sirrî      

O my secret’s secret, you have dwindled so much you’re hidden from the thought of the living, and yet a hidden-manifest of you has appeared in all things for all things.

My excuse to you is a profound ignorance, a vast doubt, and total powerlessness. O you, all’s completeness, you are no different than me! But then, what’s my excuse to myself?

83.     ‘Ajibtu

I’m dumbfounded! How can my part hold up my whole
when my earth cannot bear the load of my part?

If there was a palanquin large enough to cover earth,
my heart would have to shrink to stretch out on it. 

84.     Hammaltum

You impose on the heart what the body cannot carry
& the faithful heart shoulders what bodies couldn’t carry.

Could I draw close to those who take shelter in you 
by becoming an eye to gaze at you or, better, an ear. 
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