This feverish desiring does not calm
down, because God doesn’t want it to.

Wishes and wantings come from there.
When my shirt is wet, blame the sea!

We soul-fish swim among the fishing
lines of what we want, unable to imagine

the beauty of the fisherpeople jiggling
the hooks! God was here before the

universe. What desire brought us into
being? I do not know. It’s enough that

we go straight for what and who we are
drawn to. No. There’s no crooked or

straight with this, though we persist in
judging actions and their source: bad,

bad, good, good. Think of an ant
that wants to fly. Wonderful! He digs at

the palace wall. He claims to be Solomon.
He demands a crown. This is how we are.

We are not what we’re wanting, and yet
somewhat the longings are not apart from us.
Shams, will you untie this knot?

— Ghazal (Ode) 2240
Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
“The Glance”
Viking-Penguin, 1999

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