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The Honeybee and the Blossom

In the flower garden the honeybee said,

“I seek blossoms everywhere. 

Whenever I find a fragrant blossom, 

I take flight and head directly towards it.

When I find a yearning blossom that has torn open its chest, 

I purify that chest from color and scent.

I make a home in the heart of that blossom; 

I erect there a house built of love.

Not every blossom is worthy of gambling all for love; 

I seek one that is free from “I” and “we.”

I seek a blossom that is not impure, 

one whose heart is restless with yearning.

I want a blossom that will, with warm embrace, 

welcome my sting as a salve.

I want a selfless blossom 

that will not feel hurt by my sting.

I want an unquestioning blossom 

that will surrender with love and purity.

I want a blossom that will, out of love and fidelity, 

give up its existence and become annihilated in me.

I want a blossom that will bow its head at my feet

and place all that it has in my hands.

I want a blossom that will not think of what was

and will forget itself, self-interest and profit.

I want a blossom that has the pain of love 

and will gamble its life in the backgammon of love.”

                    * * * * *

“For the rose, the pain of love is its fragrant aroma; 

it expands the soul, bestows spirit and attracts the heart. 

I sense the aromas on every side; 

I seek them out in every direction.

I am repulsed by unpleasant odors; 

only a horsefly is at home with foul smells.

How could the scents of the passions attract me? 

My sting is not like that of the horsefly!

No sooner does the smell of hypocrisy meet my nostrils

than I rush to free myself from its presence.

How could my sting penetrate every thorny bramble? 

How could a horsefly have an intuitive heart?

All that’s bitter is sweetened by my sting, 

while all is poisoned by the horsefly.

Though it may claim to effect a cure, 

everyone knows what the horsefly is like. 

You can find horseflies in numbers everywhere; 

they have nothing to offer but what is most vile.

As soon as a horsefly enters a market, 

its craving leads it straight to a carcass.”

                    * * * * *

“I am a customer for the perfume of blossoms; 

I am the one who makes this trade flourish.

Wherever there’s a blossom with a burning heart

I free it from the bonds of its physical form. 

I make it drunk; I intoxicate it; 

in fidelity I sting it to provide a cure.

My sting is always accompanied by its remedy; 

fervor and passion go along with my cure. 

My wrath’s sting becomes healing balm; 

my loving salve becomes fragrant honey.

The aroma of the rose draws me towards it, 

so it can become fine honey by the grace of my sting.

My sting is obvious and my cure concealed;

the cure is the hidden meaning of my sting. 

The sting of the needle transmits the healing cure; 

the surgeon’s lancet brings life to the ailing patient.”

                    * * * * *

Who is the honeybee? What does it symbolize?

Open the eye of the heart — it is none other than the master.

His sting and salve will gladden your heart

until the voice of your empty claims is silenced.

His cure and sting are affection and rebuff, 

the alchemy by which you are transformed.

                    * * * * *

Who is the blossom? The wayfarer on a straight path

who has submitted his heart to the guiding master.

He receives wholeheartedly the master’s grace and wrath; 

whatever the master wants he resolves to do. 

He gives up his soul to the sword of the master’s sting.

With a smile he delivers his soul to the Beloved.

With his heart he submits to that Beloved, 

to be blown away by the wind of fana. 

If you do not have the scent of love, keep your distance; 

keep away from the precincts of the people of heart.

                    * * * * *

The horsefly is that self-worshiping braggart

from whose poisonous breath people are not safe. 

Outwardly he claims to be a Bayazid,

while Shemr and Yazid would feel ashamed of his true nature. 

Stay away from him, for he’ll make you ill; 

his poison will make you feel disgusted with love. 

Don’t make the horsefly your object of adoration; 

go and distinguish reality from illusion.

Bind your heart to one who is selfless; 

kiss the dust on the path of the Sufi.

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