Majnoon's Story (from my first book, 'Wounded Bud')

I fell in love with Layla, the king's daughter, but she was betrothed to the Prince of Light.

I did not yet know that she was my soul, cast up out of sea-foam, already lying unveiled in the shell of my heart.

So I became a wanderer, and went mad in the forest. Every bursting bud was her mouth. Every bee, stinging its wildflower, drank from my kiss.

I spun seasons with my yearning, turned Winter to Spring with my desire; bled under a pine, praying to meet her in death.

Now listen, friend, when you thirst enough for the Gift of her face, you will comprehend a way of inebriation that imbibes nothing but the nectar of moonlight: a way to make love with the eternal Virgin.

I call this way "bewilderment," because it takes place in the forest, through the wildest most pathless discipline: but you may call it a gushing wound.

Yes, it opens my chest, a fountain of darkness, effusing a great final sigh, signifying that I have surrendered to the purity of No Restraint.

I don't care if you are not understanding this! The gash in my heart encompasses your misunderstanding as well as perfect knowledge; it sucks in the universe, and the uncreated space beyond.

Like a swollen berry on a withered vine, I drop from my body.

Pan's feet press me through the sieve of the earth, into a barrel made of oak and rosewood, and other trees from the center of the Garden.

"You aren't juice any more!" says my crusher. "That was for children and pretenders. I turn you into wine, so that those who get drunk on your songs will remember everything."

This is my story, lovers and friends. This is how a drop of sorrow can sweeten the whole cup!