ای رفته بچوگان قضا همچون گو
چپ میخور و راست میرو و هیچ مگو
کانکس که ترا افکند اندر تک و پو
او داند و او داند و او داند و او
Ey rafteh bechowgaane ghazaa hamchon goo
Chap mikhoro raast mirovo hich magoo
Kaankas ke toraa afkand andar tak o poo
Oo daanad o oo daanad o oo daanad o oo
O gone to Destiny’s polo hammer, like the ball (1)
It zig left and zags right and nothing says
Of the one who threw you into this topsy-turve
He knows and He knows and He knows and He— (2)
The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes;
And He that toss’d Thee down into the Field,
He knows about it all—HE knows—HE knows!
(Edward Fitzgerald’s translation)
(1) Yes, polo. That sport where you play hockey with horses. It wasn’t invented by the English, but by the Persians. Throughout colonialist history, the English have done nothing but bully their way into stealing the fruits of every other nation to keep the British upperclasses happy. Where else will they get sugar, tea, chocolate, spices, and idyllic sports like polo?
(2) This last line is a pretty iconic line. It’s supposed to sound very frenzied and dizzying, keeping in line with Sufi imaginings of understanding God. One thing I like about it is how the poem starts with three lines of violent and unpleasant zig-zagging in a huuuuge field before retreating to the rather circular and narrow final line where there is nothing but God. It’s a nice contrast manipulation of space and movement, the external and the internal.