poems of Yunus Emre

I am not at this place to dwell,
I arrived here just to depart.
I’m a well-stocked peddler, I sell
To all those who’ll buy from my mart.

I am not here on earth for strife,
Love is the mission of my life.
Hearts are the home of the loved one;
I came here to build each true heart.

My madness is love for the Friend,
Lovers know what my hopes portend;
For me duality must end:
God and I must not live apart.

I bear malice against no one,
Even strangers are friends of mine.

Mystic is what they call me,
Hate is my only enemy;
I harbor a grudge against none.
To me the whole wide world is one.

True faith is in the head,
not in the headgear.
A single visit into the heart is
Better than a hundred pilgrimages.

The universe is the oneness of Deity,
The true man is he who knows this unity.

Now hear this, lovers, my friends:
Love is a precious thing;
It doesn’t grace everyone.
Love is a decorous thing.

It makes ash heaps out of hills,
Into hearts it blazes trails,
Turns sultans into vassals–
Love is a courageous thing.

The man struck by love’s arrow
First feels no pain nor sorrow,
But then weeps and screams with woe:
Love is a torturous thing.

It makes the seas rage and boil,
Throws huge waves into turmoil,
And makes rocks speak from the soil:
Love is a vigorous thing.

Mystic Yunus is helpless;
No one feels for his distress.
His feast is the Friends’s caress:
Love is a delicious thing.

I am before, I am after –
The soul for all souls all the way.
I’m the one with a helping hand
Ready for those gone wild, astray.

I made the ground flat where it lies,
On it I had those mountains rise,
I designed the vault of the skies,
For I hold all things in my sway.

To countless lovers I have been
A guide for faith and religion.
I am sacrilege in man’s hearts
Also the true faith and Islam’s way.

I make men love peace and unite;
Putting down the black words on white,
I wrote the four holy books right
I’m the Koran for those who pray.

It’s not Yunus who says all this:
It speaks its own realities:
To doubt this would be blasphemous:
‘I’m before – I’m after,’ I say.

Wherever I look I see God’s face.
It gives the mystic God-like powers:
Earth is mine, sky is mine,
heavens are mine.
The mystic, deified through love,
claims eternal life:
I am before, I am after.

God permeates the whole wide world,
Yet His truth is revealed to none.
You better seek Him in yourself,
You and He aren’t apart-you’re one.

The other world lies beyond sight.
Here on earth we must live upright.
Exile is torment, pain, and blight.
No one comes back once he is gone.

Come, let us all be friends for once,
Let us make life easy on us,
Let us be lovers and loved ones,
The earth shall be left to no one.

To you, what Yunus says is clear,
Its meaning is in your heart’s ear:
We should all live the good life here,
Because nobody will live on.

Hear me out, my dear friends,
Love resembles the sun.
The heart that feels no love
Is none other than stone.

What can grow on stone hearts?
Though the tongue softly starts,
Words of venom fume, rage,
And turn in to war soon.

When in love, the soul burns,
Melts like wax as it churns.
Stone hearts are like winter–
Dark, harsh, with all warmth gone.

Yunus, leave such fears behind,
Drive all care out of your mind.
Love is what one must first find:
One’s a mystic from then on.

I wonder–is anyone here
A stranger as forlorn as I ?
His heart wounded, his eyes tearful–
A stranger as forlorn as I ?

Let no one be lonesome like me
Or writhe in exile’s agony.
Teacher, I hope no one will be
A stranger as forlorn as I.

They’ll say, ‘He’s dead, that sad stranger.’
Hearing of it three days later,
They’ll wash my corpse in cold water–
A stranger as forlorn as I.

Yunus gets no help nor pity.
No cure for his calamity,
Drifting from city to city–
A stranger as forlorn as I.

I have these eyes of mine to see your face;
I only have hands to seek your embrace.
Today I shall set my soul on the road
So that tomorrow I can reach your place.

Let me set my soul on the road today,
Grant me tomorrow whatever its worth.
Do not offer your paradise to me,
I have no wish to fly to Paradise.

Who needs it, what use is Heaven to me?
My heart’s eye would not even glance at it.
All this sorrowful clamoring of mine
Is not for a garden up in the skies.

You keep trying to use it to entice
The faithful, but what you call Paradise
Cannot boast of more than a few houris
And I don’t hanker after their caress.

Offer it to those who go by the creed;
You’re the one I crave, you’re the one I need.
My leaving you would be a shameful deed
For the sake of a mansion and trellis.

What I say to the loveless is
an echo from a rock;
He who has not one drop of love 
lives in the wilderness. 

It is love that gives the mystic
the gift of immortality:
I love you, so the hand of death
can never touch me.
If I am a lover, I can never die.

I love you in depths beyond my soul.
There is an I deeper in me than I.
You are closer to us than ourselves.

See all people as equals,
See the humble as heroes.

Our love has wrested me away from me,
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.
Day and night I burn, gripped by agony,
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

I find no great joy in being alive,
If I cease to exist, I would not grieve,
The only solace I have is your love,
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

Lovers yearn for you, but your love slays them,
At the bottom of the sea it lays them,
It has God’s images – it displays them;
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

Let me drink the wine of love sip by sip,
Like Mecnun, live in the hills in hardship,
Day and night, care for you holds me in its grip,
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

Even if, at the end, they make me die
And scatter my ashes up to the sky,
My pit would break into this outcry:
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

‘Yunus Emre the Mystic’ is my name,
Each passing day fans and rouses my flame,
What I desire in both worlds is the same:
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

Out of this world, we’re on our way:
Our greetings to those who will stay.
We send all our greetings to those
Who give us their blessings and pray.

Under Death’s weight, our backs gave way;
Now our tongues have nothing to say.
We send greetings to those who’ve asked
About us as, near death, we lay.

Fateful Death takes our lives away:
None can escape, none goes astray.
We send greetings to those who’ve asked
About us as, near death, we lay.

Listen: Mystic Yunus says so.
His eyes are filled with tears of woe.
Those who don’t know cannot know us;
We send greetings to those who know.

O God, if you would ever question me,
This would be my outright answer to Thee:

True, I sinned – brutalized my own being,
But what have I done against you, my King?

Did I make myself? I’m your creation.
Why drench me in sin, Benevolent One?

I saw dungeons when I opened my eyes
Teeming with devils, temptation and lies.

To shun death by hunger, many a time,
In prison, I had to eat dirt and grime.

Did your dominion become any less?
Did I usurp any of your prowess?

Are you hungry? Did I eat your ration?
Did I deprive you, cause your starvation?

Do you still seek revenge though you killed me,
Since I rotted, since darkest soil filled me.

You built me a bridge to cross, thin as hair;
Out of your traps I’m to choose my own snare.

How can a man pass through a hair-thin bridge?
He falls or clings on or flies off the ridge.

Your slaves build bridges for the public good,
Those who pass through it head for the Godhead.

I wish its firm foundation will hold sway
So those who cross it know it’s the true way.

You set a scale to weigh deeds, for your aim
Is to hurl me into Hell’s crackling flame.

A scale is suitable for a grocer,
For a small merchant or a jeweller.

Sin, though, is the vilest, filthiest vice,
The profit of those unworthy of Grace.

You can see everything, you know me -fine;
Then, why must you weigh
all these deeds of mine?

No harm ever came from Yunus to you;
Open, secret – all things are in your view.

God Almighty, why all this talk, why must
We prattle about a handful of dust?

In case my Friend does not return to me,
Then let me return to the Friend’s embrace;
I’m willing to suffer pain and torture
If that is how I can see the Friend’s face.

A handful of dust was my stock in trade,
And love took even that away from me:
Now I have no capital left nor shop.
What use is going to the market place?

The Friend has His nice shop, neatly set up;
Cheerfully He walks around in that shop.
But my heart cringes, my sins are countless;
Humbly I must go implore the Friend’s grace.

My heart declares: ‘The Friend belongs to me.’
My eye declares: ‘The Friend belongs to me.’
My heart urges my eye to have patience,
Yearning to receive news, to keep pace.

We must accept those who have looked at God
As sharing God’s life, as one and the same.
If a person has received the blessing
Of God’s vision, he is beyond disgrace.

We have no knowledge of whose turn has come
While Death roams about freely among us:
Dashing through men’s lives as His own orchard,
He plucks and strips anyone He chooses.

He crushes people, leaves them with backs bent,
And makes multitudes shed tears of lament.
He plunders estates to His heart’s content,
Routs men with all His might till Life oozes.

Before the heroes grow old and decrepit,
Death strikes and lowers them into the pit
Without any forewarning about it.
With gleaming eyes, Death enjoys His ruses.

While I was roaming the wide world
I came upon nations in graves:
The mighty and the meek lay there–
Among them awe-inspiring braves.

Some were old men, some young heroes:
Viziers, teachers–everyone goes;
Their days now caught in the night’s throes,
Here they lie with death’s other slaves.

The path they took was always straight;
Pen in hand, they knew how to write;
Their tongues, like nightingales, sang right;
Buried they lie–sages and braves.

Mighty and low, everyone cried
When these heroic leaders died;
A broken bow at each graveside–
Gallant men fell like stray arrows.

Their horses unfurled a dust cloud,
Drummers marched by them, beating loud,
Their might had done land and sea proud;
Noble lords now lie in death’s caves.

Love is minister to us,
our lock is the inmost soul,
The Friend’s face is our Mecca,
our prayers are eternal.

Heaven’s bridge is sharper than a sword,
thinner than hair.
You know, I d like to go on it
and build houses right there.
Way down below the bridge,
raging with flames, crackles Hell’s pit,
I want to walk over to its shade
and lie there a bit.
Because I call your fire a shade,
don’t scold me, pharisees;
May it please you,
I think a little burning is a bliss.

Dear Friend, let me plunge
in the sea of love,
Let me sink into that sea
and walk on.
Let both worlds become my sphere
where I can
Delight in the mystic glee
and walk on.

Let me become the nightingale
that sings–
A soul freed from the dead body’s
Let me bury my head
in my two hands,
Take the path to unity
and walk on.

Thank heaven,
I saw the Friend’s lovely face
And drank the wine of
the lover’s embrace.
It severs me from you–
it’s a disgrace–
I’ll abandon this city
and walk on.

Yunus drifts in the throes of
love’s torture;
Of all woes, his is the worst
to endure.
For my distress only you hold
the cure,
I’ll ask for that remedy
and walk on.

Split my heart, go on, split;
See all the things in it.
There are those who mock us
Among this populace.

This road is full of traps:
It’s too long, with huge laps;
Blocks on it leave no gaps;
It leads to deep waters.

On this road we depart
With true love in each heart,
But they set us apart–
Now our exile tortures.

Let those who really dare
Step into the ring where
The champions don’t care
If life ends or endures.

Yunus feels no craving
To step into that ring
Where the real heroes bring
Before us their full force.

The Providence that casts this spell
And speaks so many tongues to tell,
Transcends the earth, heaven and hell,
But is contained in this heart’s cast.

The yearning tormented my mind:
I searched the heavens and the ground;
I looked and looked, but failed to find.
I found Him inside man at last.

With the mountains and rocks
I call you out, my God;
With the birds as day breaks
I call you out, my God.
With Jesus is the sky,
Moses on Mount Sinai,
Raising my sceptre high,
I call you out, my.

This world is a young bridge
dressed in bright red and green;
Look on and on,
you can’t have enough of that lass.

Burning, burning, I drift and tread.
Love spattered my body with blood,
I’m not in my senses nor mad,
Come, see what love has done to me.

For heaven’s sake,
what is faith or creed without love?
The heart is where God’s truth rests.
The true lovers of God
have no craving for ‘Paradise.
They strive beyond Paradise
to arrive at His domain.

God’s truth is an ocean
and the dogma a ship,
Most people don’t leave the ship
to plunge in that sea.

Water out of the same fountain
Cannot be both bitter and sweet.

We love the created,
For the Creator’s sake.

You better seek God right in your own heart;
He is neither in the Holy Land nor in Mecca.

For those who truly love God and his ways
All the people of the world are brothers.