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Sheikh Raza Talabani, 'The Lover's Malady'

Sheikh Raza Talabani (1836-1910), 'The Lover's Malady'

(translated from the Kurdish by Hemn Bakr Abdullah and A.M. Levinson-LaBrosse)


It is destined, I know, I swear to God, and it kills me: the lover’s malady. 
Come, please, for the love of God, release me, physician.

Come, please, let my hand touch the glass chimney of your neck
Til my rival’s belly splits like a weighted tablecloth.
My fate is jinxed.  I am afraid the pain of separation
Will kill me and I will not reach the country of my beloved.
Your eyes - magicians, magicians! - mesmerize. 
With a glance, they could turn an ascetic a hundred years old.
When my tortured heart is far from you, oh being’s relief,
It’s east and west, between me and patience, patience.
Every downhill has its uphill, but
I haven’t seen, I swear to God, anything but downhills in pursuit of your love.
Without tendrils of hair framing your face, appearance fixed, or 
perfume, without make-up mixed in with your beauty, beauty, 
A Sheikh would trade, if he took one look at your forelock, 
His sacred cloth and prayer beads for the red belt, cross-wood, and cross.
He’s wretched, crippled by separation,
So, have mercy on Radha, it is virtuous to show mercy to strangers.


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