God is above. We never shall attain
Our liberty from hands that overshroud;
Or can we shake aside this heavy cloud
More than a slave can shake aside the chain?
“There is no God save Allah!”—that
Nor is there any prophet save the mind
Of man who wanders through the dark to find
The Paradise that is in me and you.
The rolling, ever-rolling years of time
Are as a diwan of Arabian song;
The poet, headstrong and supremely strong,
Refuses to repeat a single rhyme.
An archer took an arrow in his hand;
So fair he sent it singing to the sky
That he brought justice down from—ah, so high!
He was an archer in the morning land.
The man who shot his arrow from the west
Made empty roads of air; yet have I thought
Our life was happier until we brought
This cold one of the skies to rule the nest.
Run! follow, follow happiness, the maid
Whose laughter is the laughing waterfall;
Run! call to her—but if no maiden call,
’Tis something to have loved the flying shade.
You strut in piety the while you take
That pilgrimage to Mecca. Now beware,
For starving relatives befoul the air,
And curse, O fool, the threshold you forsake.
How man is made! He staggers at the voice,
The little voice that leads you to the land
Of virtue; but, on hearing the command
To lead a giant army, will rejoice.
Behold the cup whereon your slave has trod;
That is what every cup is falling to.
Your slave—remember that he lives by you,
While in the form of him we bow to God.
The lowliest of the people is the lord
Who knows not where each day to make his bed,
Whose crown is kept upon the royal head
By that poor naked minister, the sword.
Which is the tyrant? say you. Well, ’tis
That has the vine-leaf strewn among his hair
And will deliver countries to the care
Of courtesans—but I am vague, you see.
The dwellers of the city will oppress
Your days: the lion, a fight-thirsty fool,
The fox who wears the robe of men that rule—
So run with me towards the wilderness.