Shah Latif `s Poetry (Translated In Verse By: Elsa Kazi) Suriraag-XII (Sailing)

O friend, I often did beseechan old boat do not have;With worn out sails, the heavy wave
Thy boat oil daily, mend its leaks,and keep in mind, one dayThe vessel has to sail away,a voyage long to make!
With riggings furnish it, and thentake it to depth remote,So that from every harm thy boatsecure and safe may be.
Acquire you such merchandisewhich time corrupteth not,That when you sell to far off landsno loss may be thy lot-In goods deal only which allotto thee mainstay secure.
Those who with merchandise of Trutha lasting bargain made;"You will get your reward", to themthese tidings are conveyed-Those were they whom the Powers ledthrough mighty ocean's swell.
To ocean dedicate yourselfwhere endless waters flow;Thousands of pearls and precious thingsits current holds below-An ounce of such wealth will bestow,on you a fortune rare.
No wave the path of those can staywho worship the sublime;Effect of their repentance makesthem safely swim away;Propped by 'Reliance absolute'they pass wild current's sway,By 'Perfect Sailor' met were theyin mid-current, as guide!
With precious ware of 'service great'their vessels they did lade;'Real Recognition' s' pearls they wonwhose worth can never fade;'Rrestraint from sin and evil', oh-that bargain too they made;May with their blessing I evadeperils, when crossing sea!
So difficult it is to fareon the path to 'Divine'.So difficult, so very hardthe way, for those who dare-And even those who know the landconfusion meets them there;Its violent cross-current to bearenter with love intense!-
Goods there were heaps and manifold,traders forgetful were;Some came in good time and purchasedall that the stores did hold-Some loitered, and all things were soldwhen they had come to buy.
The water through the boat did seep,and precious goods were spoiled;With spots and smudges some were soiledand some with rust got black.
You came and had at shores a peep,that you had heard about.-When everyone had gone to rest,you also went to sleep;And so you brought the boat headlingto whirlpools wild and deep-The wreck that is too worn and oldmay God from sinking keep-The wretched ones inside relyon you, they fret and weep,Arise and help! their praises reapand bring them safe to port!
Boatman, upon the raging seaboth ways you cannot have;Whole nights you sleep, resting your backon rudder carelessly-But there across at morn they'll beand of your doings ask!
Sleep not O helmsman! shun your cot,when danger lurks ahead;The shore is foaming like the curdthat foams in churning pot...O helmsman, sleep befits you notin such an awful state!
The divers met the waves that foamedwith hidden treachery-They battled with the eddies deep,their fight was grim and dree;Yet, 't was they who sought the sea,and brought the lovely pearls.
Where'er a pearl exists, behold!the thieves their haunts will have,And him awaits fortune untoldwho guards the pearl from thieves.
Not offer precious stones to thosewho know not gold from brass;To true jewellers in exchangeyour jewels you may pass;Ah, those who deal in gold, the massof metals base they spurn.
But gold- dealers have gone...Oh gold't were best you too should go-Since no one here your worth doth knowthey'll mix you up with brass.
The glass-beads are in fasion nowreal pearls no more appeal...My tunic's full of Truth, I feelashamed to offer it.
The lapidaries that cut gems,since long from there they fled;And their successors do not know e'en how to deal with lead,And smiths now pewter beat insteadwhere lapidaries worked!
I dealt in glass, and never madepurchase of any pearl;All tinsel-stuff and leaden wareand trash I bought instead;But suddenly, I found, my tradewas placed with gold-experts!
With falsehoods I did pass my days;divine commands I broke-The vessel overflows with sinand with my doings base; Oh knower of the secret waysthou know'st already all!
The lies that you had hugged, forsake!approach the source divine Drive from your heart chicanery,to honest dealings take;The Master liketh truth of heartIn mind love's fire wake,Thus humbly do approach, and makea bargain, fruitful, good.
O God! a bargain that is best,I beg bestow on me;The helpless one no power has,but Master, turns to thee,O guide, without thy help no onecan reach his destiny-Who faces high wave on the sea,with mercy pick him up...
The maid unwarilythe gem in casket broke...The gem when whole, its pricea lakh or two would be,Now it is crushed...ah me,'tis more than millions worth!
Those who kept up all nightto adore Glorious One;Latif says: E'en their dustbecame with honour dight;Scores to their resting site flock, homage there to pay.

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