The Ship Of Love

Love, hide me in your breast.
No one is looking.
Don't even let the perfume of air
come between us,
one breath from the past
that could stir painful remembrance:
now that sky is ours,
I want to forget all earthly care.

Star of those who have lost the way,
rain down your light on me,
shine into the shy center
of my labyrinthine soul
the years have made dark
and be my sure-footed guide.

Dream, envelop my heart
in imaginary finery
while my rose of desire
pours forth her ardent perfume.
I am become passion.
Enfold me, heavenly wings,
lift me beyond the clouds.

This is bliss.
My heart can hold no more.
Call to me the wretched of the earth,
those who tried love and lost,
who flowered in hell,
for I would tell them
of the mountains we have climbed,
you and I, my love, together
how we made paradise home
and found the lighthouse
beaming us to snug harbor.
Yes, call to me
all who have lost.

Here my heart overflows its banks.
River, swathe me in your currents,
drown me in my own longing,
shade my breasts with your dark water,
pull me from the abyss
where my swamped ship slowly dances,
tugged this way and that,
on your sunless sandy bottom,
where the watchmen of my heart
fell asleep a long time ago
till you woke them with love's cockcrow!

Love, let me share your breast and hide.
I shall bestow my love on all creatures
Take me to the fountain of despair,
I shall summon it to new life,
recalling dead vision to fresh joy
by the ecstasy just conceived,
welling up in my heart
until it can no longer be contained.

You dreaming on the road,
go sleep somewhere else
and leave it to those
who purely mad sweep the sea of life,
who share the mad whispers
of the heart prompting love.

My ship splits the sea's waves,
rocking on his noble flanks,
he flows alone, alone!
with the ocean's roar,
the bubbling tides,
never awakening,
never falling asleep,
sways, floats, sinks
into the dark deeps.

O tent of those who've lost the way,
invite me to your shade,
there's no place here for the unhappy,
for the frowning face-
Let me be free!
I was born on briny whitecaps,
I found where the sun shines,
how the Pleiades glow at night,
how the heart of loving day
is made resplendent by our devotion.
Let me be free!
Venus' star is on the rise,
I surrender to the wind,
lighter than it I am carried aloft,
clasping the secrets of true love,
I know how to see truth in things.

Translated by the author and Charles Doria

by Salma Jayyusi

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