The Garden Not The Gardner
My constricted aching heart has left me with no patience [1]
My preference death than broken heart since no other option
Wearing Hijab because of much shame I feel for You [2]
Knowing not how to walk the earth along side with you
I am that coppersmith scraping the rust with my bare chest [3]
I am that naked grazing nude the desolate valleys and mountains
Again avoiding my Self by all means possible
Since within you not even a speck of guilt visible
Everyone is a blade honed against the whetstone
I am that blade the Creator made into a steel hone [4]
I must search the world for a solution to this predicament
A resolution to bring me out in peace from this bafflement
Either like Joseph in the dungeons imprisoned [5]
Or moaning from sorrow like the hapless miserable
Even if hundred hostile gardeners caused me much troubles [6]
Every chance I have, shall run smiling to Your Gardens

[1] ‘Constricted’ heart in Farsi means missing someone or heartache mixed with frustration. Baba missed the Beloved.
[2] Hijab is the Koranic/Arabic word for veil. Here he means literary to cover his face up. Now the word ‘you’ in the first verse could me either the Creator or him Self Baba Tahir. Either he is ashamed of facing his Lord or ashamed of his own self's deeds. Second verse ‘you’ is himself. He does not wish to walk along side with his Self. With regards to this separation of ‘I’ from ‘Self’ please read by clicking on this line…
[3] Coppersmith was a real profession in the ancient times. These people often cleansed the copper appliances with abrasive tools like sandpaper. So Baba tells us he is a coppersmith but his only tool is his heart, so he rubs the rusty copper of life upon his heart to cleanse.
In other poems Baba talks about being grazing deer in wilderness. Because he was homeless and living outdoors. Also he was very poor so he was barely covered with rags, hence the title Oryaan (Naked).
Baba was not accepted by the scholars of his time. They used to make fun of him. Now look at us today hundreds of years later on we read him, we listen to his wisdom, we love him and we need him. But no one remembers those so called scholars!?
[4] I see two points in this verse. All people are blades thus rubbed against the whetstone to sharpen themselves i.e. they are harsh upon others to gain benefit. In Baba’s case he is supposed to be one such a blade i.e. he is human but the Creator specially modified this blade into a steel hone!? So others run their blade upon him. So he suffers from all yet he was supposed to be a blade inflicting on others.
This confusion, this voice within saying “although Allah made me this way but… I am that way” is the pointer to follow to know your Self for true. If you do not have this confusion then your spirituality ventured nothing.
[5] This verse is connected to the other previous two. This is a sense of Farsi sarcasm. Baba says in the previous verses that he is looking for a way out in peace. Well his sarcasm states there is no such escape. So his choices are like being the dungeons like Prophet Joseph (Koran[12:33]) or miserable moaning and crying.
[6] This is Baba’s signature wisdom. The gardeners are people and afflictions of life of this world and all harm that comes to us. And who created all that? The Beloved Creator! In spite of the fact the real source of all this hardship is the Beloved, Baba runs to the gardens towards the spirituality, beauty the grandeur of his Beloved any chance he got. Not only running but running smiling and laughing. If you wanted to know who Baba Tahir Oryaan was, this verse made the introduction.
Background: Peter Sellers as ‘Chauncy ‘ the gardener in the movie “Being There”.

© 2003-2002,  Dara Shayda

Calligraphy by Abbas Mostofi Mamaleki