Bulbul – Nightingale and Roses
Meherabad, India / Myrtle Beach, SC / April 2007
I have painted the Red-Vented Bulbul because it is the Nightingale which Hafez immortalized in his ghazels.
I had to paint the Roses first, symbolic of the Beloved, before I was able to paint the lover, the Bulbul.
The Nightingale proclaims its love for the Rose in excerpts from my book: Language of the Birds-It Is All The Mirror of God, an original adaptation of Farid al-Din ‘Attar’s Conference of the Birds.
NIGHTINGALE – BULBUL speaks:
“Comes the dawn to find me in my magical garden fair,
Rather sleepy, for I serenade my Rose each night with care.
Within my love’s transcendent abode, thousands of flowers abide,
But like a stone, my soul’s devotion is adamant for my bride.
Like Hafez, I am not comely; his beloved heaped on him her scorn.
Mine regards me with disdain as well, and still, I rush against her thorns.
Swooning with grief and heavy head, from my love’s dispassion, I mourn.
My vow to sacrifice each drop of blood, like rubies I have sworn,
To gain entrance to her heart at last, though I am scantily adorned.
My black crested hood, and brown mantle of feathers,
Is a habit of faith, well worn and weathered.
My cloak of brown, with dark-centered plumes and tail,
With subtle traces of white, resembles pinecones and fish-scales.
In my ardor to unite with Rose, I would give my life without fail,
Just as a fish out of water, gasping for breath, struggles and flails,
Yearning to regain its cherished place in water to no avail.
I will not experience fulfillment, till my death lifts this veil.
My hood, amended, with dark brown ear patches, frail,
Has become an ordinary, coarse and commonplace veil.
My brown-patched coat, so precious, reveals the woes of Rose and Nightingale.
My crimson vent exemplifies the fervent vigil of grace
I keep for my beloved Rose, beyond all time and space.
For the world’s disenchanted outcasts, I sing my sorrowful tale,
To the broken in heart and spirit, my truths, with sympathy, regale.
With great tenderness and longing, my lucid songs embrace
The lover, who from his beloved, has been so cruelly displaced.
And my cry, unlike any other, from my depths, so tattered and effaced,
Makes a lover’s heart feel tranquil, as I become further and further erased.
I am Bulbul, a plain bird of feather,
Though beauty does shine from my heart’s only treasure.
I would the Rose’s countless thorns caress,
With thrashing heart and beating breast
Embed her thorns in this unworthy cavern.
I am aloof from Lord Simurgh’s Tavern.”
“O Nightingale, You simple creature!
You love the Rose of fleeting feature,
The bloom that smiles, face now so lovely,
Too soon departs stem, dried and ugly!
Abandon passion’s jagged course of tumultuous highs and lows,
Surely to leave you destitute pierced by its thorns of woes.
Within illusion’s tempests, madness does not wane; it grows!
Seek self-perfection now and forsake the elusive Rose!
Blush for yourself! Everything else unceasingly comes and goes.
Each new Spring, the Rose flourishes and laughs at you anew,
But very soon she smiles no more and fades, alas, from view.
Lamenting sweetly from the heart, plaintive notes releasing,
Exposing wounds and pains of love, afflicted by thorns unceasing,
Open your melodious throat and begin to sing,
Telling sweet tales of spiritual things.
By these celestial songs, show all the true Way,
Be fervent in your love for God, and with melted heart, stay.
The Rose, to the Real Beloved, Simurgh, surrender.
Turn your face from agony to His Love so tender!”