The Feathers of the Soul

One night a fool of God wept bitterly

And said: “The world, as far as I can see,

Is like a box, and we are locked inside,

Lost in the darkness of our sin and pride;

When death removes the lid we fly away–

If we have feathers –to eternal day,

But those who have no feathers must stay here,

Tormented in this box by pain and fear.”

Give wings to aspiration; love the mind;

And if at death you’d leave this box behind,

Grow wings and feathers for the soul; if not,

Burn all your hopes, for you will die and rot.


Attar, Conference of the Birds

Translated by Afkham Darbandi & Dick Davis

January 1, 2017

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