Yunus the Dervish here sets out the power of the word to heal, to illuminate, and also to veil the truth. For more about this Turkish Sufi and poet, see this earlier post.
A single word can brighten the face
of one who knows the value of words.
Ripened in silence, a single word
acquires a great energy for work.
War is cut short by a word,
and a word heals the wounds,
and there’s a word that changes
poison into butter and honey.
Let a word mature inside yourself.
Withhold the unripened thought.
Come and understand the kind of word
that reduces money and riches to dust.
Know when to speak a word
and when not to speak at all.
A single word turns the universe of hell
into eight paradises.
Follow the Way. Don’t be fooled
by what you already know. Be watchful.
Reflect before you speak.
A foolish mouth can brand your soul.
Yunus, say one last thing
about the power of words —
Only the word “I”
divides me from God.
Translation Kabir Helminski & Refik Algan