Listening to the Reed Flute

There’s a blind man on the road saying,
Allah, Allah. Sheikh Nuri runs to him,
‘What do you know of Allah? And if you know,
why do you stay alive?’ The sheikh keeps on,
beside himself with ecstatic questions.
Then he runs into a low place, where
a reedbed has recently been cut down.

He falls and gets up, falls again,
floundering on the sharp reed-ends.
People come and find him dead, the ground
wet with blood and written on every reed-tip,
the word Allah. This is the way one must
listen to the reed flute. Be killed
in it and lie down in the blood.

Attar, Persian Poet

trans. coleman barks

Share