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Original title: Hur-i 'Ujab

Translated by Juan Cole



The beauty of holiness has risen from behind her veil--
         and that is a wondrous thing;

And spirits have fainted from the fire of their attraction,
         and that is a wondrous affair.

Then they awoke and soared into the pavilions of sanctity at the throne of domes,
         and that is a wondrous mystery.

Say: the houri of eternity removed the veil from her face--
         exalted be the wondrous beauty of newness!

The lights of her visage shone from the earth to the clouds,
         and that is a wondrous radiance.

She threw a glance like a shooting star,
         and that is a wondrous glance.

By the fire of her countenance she burned up all names and designations,
         and that is a wondrous deed.

She cast her gaze upon the people of earth and dust,
         and that is a wondrous gaze.

Behold, the temples of existence quivered and then vanished,
         and that is a wondrous death.

Then a black strand of hair appeared from her, an adornment for the soul in the gloom of hindrances,
         and that is a wondrous hue.

The fragrance of scents and perfumes wafted from her,
         and that is a wondrous musk.

In her right hand she holds red wine and in her left, kebab,
         and that is a wondrous grace.

Her palm is dyed crimson with the blood of lovers,
         and that is a wondrous thing.

She passed around the wine of life in jugs and cups,
          and that is a wondrous fountain;

And sang of the beloved's name, strumming on lute and rebec,
          and that is a wondrous song.

Then hearts melted from fire and blaze,
          and that is a wondrous passion.

She bestowed the nourishment of beauty without measure,
          and that is a wondrous food.

The sword of allusion struck at necks,
          and that is a wondrous blow.

She smiled, and the pearls of her teeth were manifest,
          and that is a wondrous gleam.

Then the hearts of those who understand cried out,
          and that is a wondrous self-denial.

All those filled with pride and suspicion turned away from her,
          and that is nothing but a wondrous opponent.

When she heard, she returned to her palace in grief and regret,
          and that is a wondrous sorrow.

She went and returned, may her to and fro be exalted,
          and this is a wondrous decree;

And she uttered within her soul a cry that annihilated existence and then was made to vanish,
          and that is a wondrous grief.

She opened her lips for a river of advice and reproof to flow,
          and that is a wondrous spring.

She said, "Do not reject me, people of the Book."
          And that is a wondrous affair.

"Are you the people of guidance and are you the friends?"
          And that is a wondrous falsehood.

She said, "We shall not return to you, my companions."
          And that is a wondrous return.

"We shall conceal the mysteries of God that are in his scriptures."
         And this matter is from the All-Glorious, the Giving.

"You shall not find me until the promised one appears on the Day of Return."
          By my life, that is a wondrous abasement.


For another translation of this poem, see Denis MacEoin: Tablet of the Wondrous.

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