translated from the Arabic by Ameen Rihani

Whence does the nettle get its bitter sting?
Whence do the honey bees their honey bring?
       Whence our Companions, too—our Whence and Why?  
O Soul, I do not know a single thing!

The Luzumiyat of Abu’l-Ala (James T. White & Co., 1920) by Abū al-‘Alā’ al-Ma‘arrī. Translated from the Arabic by Ameen Rihani. Copyright © 1920 by Ameen Rihani. This poem is in the public domain.