Poems

Reference: Halman, Talat Sait. 1993. Yunus Emre: Selected Poems Translated by Talat Sait Halman. Ankara: Ministry of Culture


 

God permeates the whole wide world.
Yet His truth is revealed to none.
You better seek Him in yourself,
You and He aren't apart-you're one.

The other world lies beyond sight.
Here on earth we must live upright.
Exile is torment, pain, and blight.
No one comes back once he is gone.

Come, let us all be friends for once,
Let us make life easy on us,
Let us be lovers and loved ones,
The earth shall be left to no one.

To you, what Yunus says is clear,
Its meaning is in your heart's ear:
We should all live the good life here,
Because nobody will live on.


I am before, I am after –

The soul for all souls all the way.

I'm the one with a helping hand

Ready for those gone wild, astray.

 

I made the ground flat where it lies,

On it I had those mountains rise,

I designed the vault of the skies,

For I hold all things in my sway.

 

To countless lovers I have been

A guide for faith and religion.

I am sacrilege in man's hearts –

Also the true faith and Islam's way.

 

I make men love peace and unite;

Putting down the black words on white,

I wrote the four holy books right –

I'm the Koran for those who pray.

 

It's not Yunus who says all this:

It speaks its own realities:

To doubt this would be blasphemous:

"I'm before-I'm after," I say


Knowledge should mean a full grasp of knowledge:
Knowledge means to know yourself, heart and soul.
If you have failed to understand yourself,
Then all of your reading has missed its call.

What is the purpose of reading those books?
So that Man can know the All-Powerful.
If you have read, but failed to understand,
Then your efforts are just a barren toil.

Don't boast of reading, mastering science
Or of all your prayers and obeisance.
If you don't identify Man as God,
All your learning is of no use at all.

The true meaning of the four holy books
Is found in the alphabet's first letter.
You talk about that first letter, preacher;
What is the meaning of that-could you tell?

Yunus Emre says to you, pharisee,
Make the holy pilgrimage if need be
A hundred times-but if you ask me,
The visit to a heart is best of all.


Your love has wrested me away from me,
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.
Day and night I burn, gripped by agony,
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.

I find no great joy in being alive,
If I cease to exist, I would not grieve,
The only solace I have is your love,
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.

Lovers yearn for you, but your love slays them,
At the bottom of the sea it lays them,
It has God's images-it displays them;
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.

Let me drink the wine of love sip by sip,
Like Mecnun, live in the hills in hardship,
Day and night, care for you holds me in its grip,
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.

Even if, at the end, they make me die
And scatter my ashes up to the shy,
My pit would break into this outcry:
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.

"Yunus Emre the Mystic" is my name,
Each passing day fans and rouses my flame,
What I desire in both worlds in the same:
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.


In case my Friend does not return to me,

The let me return to the Friend's embrace;

I'm willing to suffer pain and torture

If that is how I can see the Friend's face.

 

A handful of dust was my stock in trade,

And love took even that away from me:

Now I have no capital left nor shop.

What use is going to the market place?

 

The Friend has His nice shop, neatly set up;

Cheerfully He walks around in that shop.

But my heart cringes, my sins are countless;

Humbly I must go implore the Friend's grace.

 

My heart declares: “The Friend belongs to me."

My eye declares: “The Friend belongs to me."

My heart urges my eye to have patience,

Yearning to receive news, to keep pace.

 

We must accept those who have looked at God As sharing God's life, as one and the same.

If a person has received the blessing

Of God's vision, he is beyond disgrace.


Hear me out, my dear friends,
Love resembles the sun.
The heart that feels no love
Is none other than stone.

What can grow on stone hearts?
Though the tongue softly starts,
Words of venom fume, rage,
And turn into war soon.

 

When in love, the soul burns,
Melts like wax as it churns.
Stone hearts are like winter—
Dark, harsh, with all warmth gone.

 

Yunus, leave such fears behind,

Drive all care out of your mind.

Love is what one must first find:

One’s a mystic from then on.


Dear Friend, let me plunge in the sea of love,
Let me sink into that sea and walk on.
Let both worlds become my sphere where I can
Delight in the mystic glee and walk on.

Let me become the nightingale that sings
A soul freed from the dead body's yearnings;
Let me bury my head in my two hands,
Take the path to unity and walk on.

Thank heaven, I saw the Friend's lovely face
And drank the wine of the lovers embrace.
It severs me from you-it's a disgrace
I'll abandon this city and walk on.

Yunus drifts in the throes of love's torture:
Of all woes, his is the worst to endure.
For my distress only you hold the cure,
I'll ash for that remedy and walk on.


My fleeting life has come and gone—
A wind that blows and passes by.
I feel it has been all too brief,
Just like the blinking of an eye.

To this true word God will attest:
The Spirit is the Body's guest,
Some day it will vacate the breast
As birds, freed from their cages, fly.

Life, my good man, can be likened
To the land that the farmer sows:
Lying scattered all over the soil,
Some of the seeds sprout, but some die.

If you visit and give water
To a sick man who needs care,
With God's wine, he shall hail you there
One day when you soar to the sky.


Burning, burning, I drift and tread.
Love spattered my body with blood.
I'm not in my senses nor mad,
Come, see what love has done to me.

Now and then like the winds I blow,
Now and then like the roads I go,
Now and then like the floods I flow,
Come, see what love has done to me.

Hold my hand, lift me from this place
Or take me into your embrace…
You made me weep, make me rejoice,
Come, see what love has done to me.

Searching, I roam from land to land,
In all tongues I ask for the Friend.
Who knows my plight where love is banned?
Come, see what love has done to me.

Lovelorn, I tread; madly I scream.
My loved one is my only dream;
I wake and plunge into deep gloom.
Come, see what love has done to me.

I'm Yunus, mystic of sorrow,
Suffering wounds from top to toe;
In the Friend's hands I writhe in woe.
Come, see what love has done to me.


If you break a true believer's heart once,
It's no prayer to God—this obeisance,
All of the world's seventy-two nations
Cannot wash the dirt of your hands and face.

There are the sages—they have come and gone.
Leaving their world behind them, they moved on.
They flapped their wings and flew to the True One,
Not like geese, but as birds of Paradise.

The true road doesn't ever run awry,
The real hero scoffs at clambering high,
The eye that can see God is the true eye,
Not the eye that stares from a lofty place.

If you followed the never-swerving road,
If you held a hero's hand as he strode,
If doing good deeds was your moral code,
You shall get a thousand to one, no less.

These are the moving facts that Yunus tells,
Where his blend of butter and honey jells,
Not salt, but jewelry is what he sells—
These goods he hands out to the populace


Go and let it be known to all lovers:
I am the man who gave his heart to love.
I turn into a wild duck of passion,
I am the one who takes the swiftest dive.

From the waves of the sea I take water
And offer it all the way to the skies.
In adoration, like a cloud, I soar—
I am the one who flies to heavens above.

He who says he sees, doesn't, though he vows;
That man doesn't know if he claims he knows.
He alone is the One who knows and shows.
I am the man who has become love's slave.

For true lovers, this land is Paradise;
Those who know find mansions and palaces;
Wonder struck and adoring like Moses,
I remain on Mount Sinai where I thrive.

Yunus is my name, I'm out of my mind.
Love serves as my guide to the very end.
All alone, toward the majestic Friend
I walk kissing the ground—and I arrive.


Those who perch on this false world and then go out

They never speak nor send any news at all;

Those on whose graves all sorts of grass and weeds sprout,

They never speak nor send any news at all.

 

Some of them have trees that grow beside their graves,

Some are covered with weeds that wither in waves:

There lie innocent youths, fair maidens, and braves.

They never speak nor send any news at all.

 

In the ground, their tender flesh has turned to dust;

Buried in deep silence, their sweet tongues hold fast.

Come, mention their names in your prayers –you must.

They never speak nor send any news at all.

 

Some died young: never lived beyond life's threshold;

Some wore crowns that their heads could no longer hold.

When they died, some were six or seven years old.

They never speak nor send any news at all.

 

 

Be they revered teacher or greedy trader,

Drinking Death's nectar came harder and harder,

Be they white-bearded or religious leader:

They never speak nor send any news at all.

 

Yunus says: “All this is done by Fate alone.”

From their eyes, all their brows and lashes are gone;

To mark their place there is only a headstone.

They never speak nor send any news at all.


Out of this world, we're on our way:

Our greetings to those who will stay.

We send all our greetings to those

Who give us their blessings and pray.

 

Under Death's weight, our backs gave way;

Now our tongues have nothing to say.

We send greetings to those who've asked

About us as, near death, we lay.

 

Fateful Death takes our lives away:

None can escape, none goes astray.

We send greetings to those who've asked

About us as, near death, we lay.

 

Listen: Mystic Yunus says so.

His eyes are filled with tears of woe.

Those who don't know cannot know us;

We send greetings to those who know.


I have come from the everlasting land;

What would I do with this world here that dies?

I have revelled in the face of the Friend,

Why would I need houris from Paradise?

 

I have sipped, out of the Beloved's hand,

The wine of Oneness with its mysteries;

I am so full of the scent of the Friend,

Why would I need the sweet basil's fragrance?

 

I have abandoned the world, like Jesus,

So I journey far and wide through the skies;

Having seen the divine face, like Moses,

What does it mean to me to be sightless?

 

Like Ishmael, I am to sacrifice

My life and soul for God's truth and justice;

I have surrendered myself to Thy hands,

Why would I need a ram to sacrifice?

 

Re-union with that Beloved of his

Gives Yunus the lover his ecstasies.

I have smashed the bottle against the stones;

What would I do with honor and prudence?


We have dashed into Truth in its mansion,

Viewing all beings in adoration,

The visions and spectacles of both worlds—

We have found these in all of Creation.

 

 

These skies which revolve in endless races

And all these subterranean places

And the seventy thousand veiled graces—

We have found these in all of Creation.

 

The seven layers of earth and the skies,

All the hills and mountains and the seas,

The Hell of damnation and Paradise—

We have found these in all of Creation.

 

The darkest nights and the glittering days,

The seven stars of heaven with bright rays,

The tablet where the Word forever stays—

We have found these in all of Creation.

 

Mount Sinai where Moses ascended high,

The sacred mansion built up in the sky,

The trumpet which sounded Israfel's cry—

We have found these in all of Creation.

 

The Old Testament, the New Testament,

The Koran and the Psalms; all their intent

And the truth imbedded in their content—

We have found these in all of Creation.


The soul is a mighty person

And the body serves as his horse.

All those bites of food you gobble

Give your body strength and force.

 

If you devour every last bit,

That food is your body's profit;

It means no gains for the spirit,

But makes the flesh even more coarse.

 

Its affairs are favor and grace;

Brightest men can't grasp what it says.

The soul—this bird of Paradise—

Is the blissful state of lovers.


Let's not just remain adoring,

Come, let's go to the Friend, my soul.

Let's not die longing, imploring.

Come, let's go to the Friend, my soul.

 

Let's leave this city and this land;

Let's weep, shedding tears for the Friend,

With the cup of love's wine in hand;

Come, let's go to the Friend, my soul.

 

From this world we'd better be gone;

Why be duped, it couldn't live on.

Let's not be split while we are one;

Come, let's go to the Friend, my soul.

 

As I take the road, be my guide;

Let's set out for the Loved One's side.

Let's not look behind or ahead;

Come, let's go to the Friend, my soul.

 

Before the news of death arrives,

Before my marked soul vainly strives

Or the Angel of Death routs our lives,

Come, let's go to the Friend, my soul.

 

Let's go to the truly sacred;

Let's ask for the news about God,

And taking Yunus on the road;

Come, let's go to the Friend, my soul.


We drank wine from the Cupbearer

At an inn higher than the sky.

Our souls are goblets in His hands,

Deep in His ecstasy we lie.

 

At our private place of meeting,

Where our hearts are scorched with yearning

Like moths, the sun and the moon ring

Our candle whose flames rise high.

 

Yunus, don't tell these words of trance

To those steeped in dark ignorance,

Can't you see how swiftly the chance

Of ignorant men's lives goes by?


My heart burned, my chest was in flames;

My lungs, like roast meat, were ablaze.

For all this suffering of mine

The lovers' sweet drinks were the cause.

 

There are those who forge love anew

And those who make it go askew;

Some walk around drunk through and through.

Those remain in ruins always.

 

 

The pen writes with strokes full of love

To which the world is a captive;

Even Archangel Gabriel

Stands as a veil between lovers.

 

At religious schools, no master

Managed to study this chapter;

Those professors failed to explain

The essence of that advanced phase.

 

The Angel of Death pressed his case;

All his claims turned out to be lies.

Whoever commits perjury

Will suffer the rest of his days.

 

Lovers challenge death to transmute;

Their circle of trance can't go mute;

They revel in their harp and lute

As their ensemble joyfully plays.

 

Yunus, come, join the mystics' corps,

Serve as their slave down to the core,

Because it is God who yearns for

The masters of the mystic ways.


Life of mine, you led me astray;

What shall I do with you, my life?

You left me paralyzed this way;

What shall I do with you, my life?

 

 

You were all I was and had, all:

You were the soul within my soul.

My Sultan, I was in your thrall.

What shall I do with you, my life?

 

With your joys my heart used to glow,

Like mountain flowers, row on row...

I used to weep, gripped by sorrow.

What shall I do with you, my life?

 

After coming here, the soul flies;

Affairs of the world are all lies.

Whoever squanders his life, cries.

What shall I do with you, my life?

 

My deeds are written, good and bad;

Nearing my life's end, I am sad;

The face wrecks the features it had.

What shall I do with you, my life?

 

I wish you would not grab and run

Nor be the nomad who moves on.

I wish you would not drink death's wine.

What shall I do with you, my life?

 

I'll be left without you some day;

Bird and beast will eat me away;

I'll turn to dust as I decay.

What shall I do with you, my life?

 

Dervish Yunus, you know, don't you,

Or don't they come into your view?

Remember those whose lives are through?

What shall I do with you, my life?


Split my heart, go on, split;

See all the things in it.

There are those who mock us

Among this populace.

 

This road is full of traps:

It's too long, with huge laps;

Blocks on it leave no gaps;

It leads to deep waters.

 

On this road we depart

With true love in each heart,

But they set us apart—

Now our exile tortures.

 

Let those who really dare

Step into the ring where

The champions don't care

If life ends or endures.

 

Yunus feels no craving

To step into that ring

Where the real heroes bring

Before us their full force.


We have no knowledge of whose turn has come
While Death roams about freely among us:
Dashing through men's lives as His own orchard,
He plucks and strips anyone He chooses.

He crushes people, leaves them with backs bent,
And makes multitudes shed tears of lament.
He plunders estates to His heart's content,
Routs men with all His might till Life oozes.

Before the heroes grow old and decrepit,
Death strikes and lowers them into the pit
Without any forewarning about it.
With gleaming eyes, Death enjoys His ruses.


While I was roaming the wide world
I came upon nations in graves:
The mighty and the meek lay there—
Among them awe-inspiring braves.

Some were old men, some young heroes:
Viziers, teachers – everyone goes;
Their days now caught in the night's throes,
Here they lie with death's other slaves.

 

The path they took was always straight;
Pen in hand, they knew how to write;
Their tongues, like nightingales, sang right;
Buried they lie–sages and braves.

 

Mighty and low, everyone cried
When these heroic leaders died;
A broken bow at each graveside—
Gallant men fell like stray arrows.

 

Their horses unfurled a dust cloud,
Drummers marched by them, beating loud,
Their might had done land and sea proud;
Noble lords now lie in death's caves.


Men of God's truth are an ocean,
Lovers must plunge into that sea;
The sages, too, should take a dive
To bring out the best jewelry.

 

We have turned into the Wise Men

To find pearls in the depths again;
Only the jeweller would know

How valuable those pearls might be.

Mohammed came to perceive God,
And saw God's truth in his selfhood.
Providence exists everywhere
So long as there are eyes to see.

Books are composed by the sages
Who put black words on white pages;
My sacred book's chapters are all
Written in hearts that love truly.


It's the true man who leads the mystic life—
Whoever is human, whoever dares.
Those who stand high and look below with scorn
Are bound to fall from the top of the stairs.

Though a gray-bearded old man might look grand,
There is so much he doesn't understand,
Let him not struggle towards the Holy Land
If he causes one heart to burn in tears.

A deaf man cannot hear what people say,
He thinks it's night when it's brightest day,
The atheist's eyes are blind to God's way
Even though the whole world glitters and glares.

The lover's heart is the Creator's throne,
God admires and accepts it as his own,
The man who breaks a heart shall groan and moan
In both worlds, suffering sorrows and cares.

You have a self-image in your own eyes,
Be sure to see others in the same guise.
Each of the four holy books clarifies
This truth as it applies to man's affairs.

We have seen it all: Those who came are gone.
Those who once stopped here went back one by one;
He must have gulped love's wine if anyone
Feels the reality that God's truth bares.


You never thought this day would come—
Now your eyes have lost all their light;
Your image will turn to dust soon,
Your tongue shall have no words to cite.

Once the Angel of Death descends,
All help your parents can give ends;
The combined power of your friends
Cannot withstand that Angel's might.

To the Wise Man your son will go.
Word will be sent to friend and foe;
Last-ditch repentance or sorrow
Could not even help you a mite.

There will be a man to bathe you,
While one pours water to lave you,
And then the shroud man to swathe you--
But none will care about your plight.

On a wooden horse you will sit:
It will carry you to your pit--
Down into the ground your casket
Will go, and you'll drop out of sight.

For three days they will sit it out--
To settle your affairs, no doubt;
You will be all they talk about.
After that, their lips will stay tight.

You're better off, mystic Yunus,
To give advice to yourself thus:
Creatures of today make no use
Of good advice, don't think they might.


I have disclosed all my secrets today
And found my soul by giving it away.

Heart and soul adoring the Beloved
In whose embrace I cherish my heyday,

I found the Loved One, I need no one else;
Let my store be plundered this very day.

Earth is mine, sky is mine, heavens are mine,
Under my tent, I put them in array.

No wonder the name Yunus is disgraced:
They read my poems and learn what I say.