55: Yasmine, Robin, Mohieddin

Poem 55 from a correspondence in translations of Ibn Arabi’s Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, between Yasmine Seale and Robin Moger. The first two translations are made independently and each subsequent rendering written after the other’s previous version has been sent and seen.

Khusraw discovers Shirin bathing in a pool from a 16th-century Khamsa by Nizami. Source: Wikipedia




Distance, and desire ruins me. To meet

is no relief. Come or go, desire hardly cares.


Meeting him, unreckoned

things happen. In place of healing,

another ache of longing.


Because to meet him is to see

a person whose beauty grows

ever more abundant, proud.


All I can do is match my love’s ascent

To his loveliness on its measured scale.




I can be away and floored by longing,

but it doesn’t help when we’re together.

Longing: without and in her company.


With her, this thing happens to me.

I never dreamt that it could be this:

the medicine just more viral passion.


See, to see someone,

and be with them,

their beauty blooms and bloats.


A passion is pegged

to beauty rising

at fixed rates.




I’m not there               nothing

but longing                  encounters

no help                        presence

irrelevant                     to pain


being there                  finds me

unprepared                  no antidote

but pressing                 where it hurts


every time                   you grow

lovelier more               like a flower

than the last                 and know it


nothing for it               as you part

the waves                    but steadily

to waterski                   in your wake




Forbearing, hollowed by longing

For what when held will keep

Unhealed. The wound rubbed clean

Burns again, flowering

Brighter and wider to touch.

Pretty it grows and hurts





Cause of death: time apart,

they’ll say. So let us meet.

Same agony. Regardless

of where you are: desire.


I didn’t think it would happen

to me: wound will not scar.

It wants to be lanced


again by that dart, that proud

face of yours always leaping

ahead of its beauty.


What hope for my heart

but to be drawn along

in well-tempered leaps.




I take myself outside that feeling frame

And longing comes to break me up again.

Wrapped in arms again I’m no more there

Than gone.

You never saw it coming: holding together

To come apart. Sensing this thing

Up close was beautiful and was growing

More so. Over you. That there was a pattern

That it would be harder to hold

The closer you got.




what would it mean to move

out of your orbit   into what

long night   no fun being

locked here   bright face always

turned to your indifference


how could I have known it would

be hard to live on radiance alone


but if I must let me not want

more than this field   this tender to

& fro in equal time   let it do