Monday, September 10, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twenty-Eight (Rabia)

Rabia, depicted in an Islamic miniature
Image is in public domain (expired copyright)
Poem translated by Charles Upton from Persian

This week I'm still thinking about stars, but we've stepped back a few centuries to 717–801 C.E. to read the work of the female Muslim saint and Sufi mystic, Rabia. Rabia is often considered the most important of Sufi mystics and is credited with having introduced the concept of Divine Love, or loving God for God's own sake, rather than out of fear. I love the raw simplicity of this poem, which so perfectly exemplifies Rabia's life choice to remain in contemplative solitude instead of marrying. Enjoy!

O my Lord, the stars glitter 

O my Lord,
the stars glitter
and the eyes of men are closed.
Kings have locked their doors
and each lover is alone with his love.

Here, I am alone with you.


  1. These words bring me stillness and calm. Thank you for bringing Rabia to your blog this week Melissa. Solitude can produce amazing works.


    1. I'm so happy to hear it! You are most welcome :)

  2. Marvelous poem, and thank you for sharing its beauty here, Melissa.
    Best wishes,

    1. :) Thank you, RB. I knew you would like that one!

  3. Sometimes the simple ones are the best ones.