Visions of Love: Sufi Poetry of the Pashtuns

Poetry by the popular poet, Abdul Rahman Baba.

Translated by Robert Sampson

This book is a celebration of the poetry which forms the core of the deeply spiritual and expressive oral culture of the Pushtuns. The poetry in this volume is a selection from the work of their most popular poet – Abdul Rahman Baba. The English translator has attempted to free the verse from the constraints of rhyme and metre to communicate its essence.

Contentment

Contentment is the satin cloth under my
patched cloak;
I appear to be a beggar, but secretly am
king of the whole world.
Rahman Baba was born in 1650 and lived near Peshawar towards the end of the Mughal era. He wrote at a time when the mystical face of Islam, known as Sufism, was dominant in local culture. Like other Sufi poetry, a delicious ambiguity exists in the expression of love for the Divine and the human beloved. Rahman’s vision of love – with its soaring values of equality and tolerance – is a refreshing antidote to the obsession with rank, power and sectarianism that has so come to plague our world.

The poems are accompanied by photographs of modern-day Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan; monochrome in a sepia tint on cream coloured paper, with a photograph on every other page.

Published in 2008; English; 100 pages; 8″ x 7.5″ [Size]; Paperback; ISBN 978-969-8343-41-5

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