Ghazal #61: The Fire of Love

The sweetest thing in the soul is the fire
Of your love; still sweeter is the fire
Leaping out of the soul from your love.

Whoever takes one sip from the wine cup
Of your love will discover it still sweeter to be
Drunk and bewildered on the day of resurrection.

As soon as you became open, I became
Hidden.  But you know being
Hidden with Her is even sweeter.

Even though there is in the pain of your love
A poison that scorches the soul,
That pain is still sweeter than life itself.

Just pour down your suffering into me;
And don’t worry about healing because
Your suffering is sweeter than any remedy.

You never feel in harmony with me
Until you burn me; therefore burning
Up in your love is a delight still sweeter.

Since union with you is never faced
By anyone, this turning to the wall
Of separation is a joy sweeter than union.

Union with you resembles a whole year
With no rain; so it is even sweeter to me
That a hurricane has opened in my eyes.

Attar now is like a candle that
Because of separation is weeping
Even more sweetly from twilight to dawn.


[Translated from the Arabic by Robert Bly]

Farid ad-Din Attar, 1142?–1220?, b. Nishapur, Persia, one of the greatest Sufi mystic poets of Islam. His masterpiece is the Mantiq ut-Tair (The Conference of the Birds), a long allegory of the soul’s search for divine truth. His many other works include Tadkhirat al-Awliya, (Biographies of the Saints) which contains biographies of many Sufi mystics. His name also appears as Ferid Eddin Attar and Farid ud-Din Attar.

Robert Bly has had a profound impact on the shape of American poetry. He is the author of more than thirty books of poetry, including The Night Abraham Called to the Stars (HarperCollins, 2001); Snowbanks North of the House (1999); What Have I Ever Lost by Dying?: Collected Prose Poems (1992); Loving a Woman in Two Worlds (1987); Mirabai Versions (1984); This Body is Made of Camphor and Gopherwood (1977); and The Light Around the Body (1967), which won the National Book Award. (from

At Guernica, we’ve spent the last 15 years producing uncompromising journalism. 

More than 80% of our finances come from readers like you. And we’re constantly working to produce a magazine that deserves you—a magazine that is a platform for ideas fostering justice, equality, and civic action.

If you value Guernica’s role in this era of obfuscation, please donate.

Help us stay in the fight by giving here.