Thursday Poem

Qazal (in vain)

What use if you've chanted all you know in vain?
Prayed, prostrated, bowed, but rose in vain?

Think you own the house in which you live?
That door leads nowhere; you open and close it in vain.

Think you soar? Think you touch the clouds?
You are earthbound; you stand on your toes in vain.

Think it was you who made the wheel turn?
The die was already cast—you chose in vain.

Is it piety that makes you feel so safe?
The mirror is dark; you pose in vain.

The lover's song falls on callous ears.
The nightingale serenades the rose in vain.

Is it you for whom the beloved waits?
Wake up! You're caught in passion's throes in vain.

by Sassan Tabatabai
from Uzunburun
The Pen & Anvil Press, Boston, 2011