An Understanding of the Question
Translated by Coleman Barks
Why doesn’t a soul fly when it hears the call?
Fish on the beach always move toward wave-sound.
A falcon hears the drum and brings the quarry home.
Why isn’t every dervish dancing in the sun?
You have escaped the cage. Your wings
are stretched out. Now, fly.
You have slept in sheds and out-buildings
so long you think you live there.
How many years, like children,
do we have to collect sticks and pieces
of broken pottery and pretend they’re valuable?
Leave childhood. Go to the banquet
of true human beings. Split open the cultural mould.
Put your head up out of the sack.
Hold this book in the air with your right hand.
Are you old enough to know right from left?
God said to clarity, Walk.
To death, Help them with discipline.
To the soul, Move into the invisible
and takes what’s there.
Don’t sing the sadness anymore.
Call out that you have been given both
the answer and an understanding of the question.