Thursday, 29 September 2011

Those who have already died.....By Rumi

Lovers, who die knowingly,
die like sugar
before their Beloved.

On the day of Alast
they drank the Water of Life --
so they cannot die like others.

Since they have been resurrected in Love,
they do not die like these people in the crowd.

Through his Gentleness they have passed
beyond the angels--
far be it from them to die like humans!

Do you suppose that lions die like dogs,
far from His Presence?

When lovers die in their journey,
the spirit's King runs out to meet them.

When they die at the feet of that Moon,
they all light up like the sun.

The lovers who are each others' spirit,
die in their mutual love.

The water of Love soothes their aching livers,
they all come and die in that heartache.

Each is an unparalleled orphan pearl --
they do not die next to mothers and fathers.

Lovers fly to the spheres,
deniers die in the depths of the Blaze.

Lovers open the eye that sees the Unseen,
the rest all die blind and deaf.

In fear the lovers never used to sleep at night--
now they all die without dread or danger.

Those who worshiped fodder here were all cows --
they die like asses.
Those who sought that vision today die happy
and laughing in vision's midst.

The king places them next to His Gentleness--
they do not die in the lowliness
and insignificance you see.

Those who seek to acquire the virtue of
Great Love die like Great Lovers

Far from them is death and annihilation!
But I have sung this ghazal
supposing they were to die.

~ Rumi
(Those who have already died)
-- Ghazal (Ode) 972
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983
Art by Henry Asencio

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I must launch out my Rabindranath Tagore

I must launch out my boat.
The languid hours pass by on the shore
Alas for me !

The spring has done its flowering and taken leave.
And now with the burden of faded futile flowers
I wait and linger.

The waves have become clamorous,
and upon the bank in the shady lane
the yellow leaves flutter and fall.

What emptiness do you gaze upon !
Do you not feel a thrill passing through the air
with the notes of the far-away song
floating from the other shore ?

~ Rabindranath Tagore

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Look at Rumi

Look at love
how it tangles
with the one fallen in love

Look at spirit
how it fuses with earth
giving it new life
why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend

why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known

why think separately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last

Look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs

Look at water and fire
earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once

the wolf and the lamb
the lion and the deer
far away yet together

look at the unity of this
spring and winter
manifested in the equinox

you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me

be like sugarcane
sweet yet silent
don't get mixed up with bitter words

my beloved grows right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be..!

~ Rumi
from Rumi: Fountain of Fire,
Translated by Nader Khalili
Art "The Color Of Love" by Donna Proctor

Saturday, 17 September 2011


(yet somehow unexpected)
he arrived
the guest...
the heart trembling
"Who's there?"
and soul responding
"The Moon..."

came into the house
and we lunatics
ran into the street
stared up
for the moon.

Then-inside the house-
he cried out
"Here I am!"
and we
beyond earshot
running around
calling him...

crying for him
for the drunken nightingale
locked lamenting
in our garden
while we
mourning ring doves
murmured "Where

As if at midnight
the sleepers bolt upright
in their beds
hearing a thief
break into the house
in the darkness
they stumble about
crying "Help!
A thief! A thief!"

but the burglar himself
mingles in the confusion
echoing their cries:
"...a thief!"
till one cry
melts with the others.

And He is with you
with you
in your search
when you seek Him
look for Him
in your looking
closer to you
than yourself
to yourself:

Why run outside?
Melt like snow.
wash yourself
with yourself:
urged by Love
tongues sprout
from the soul
like stamens
from the lily...

But learn
this custom
from the flower:
your tongue.

~ Rumi
Diwan-e Shams,
v.V.ED. FURUZANFAR, P., 2172
(translated by Peter Lamborn Wilson)
The Rumi Collection, edited by Kabir Helminski

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Doors in Rumi

Tell me, O Love,
Who is more elegant,
You or this vast garden of yours?

Shine, O moon,
You are an inspiration
to all who look upon the night sky.

Sour will turn to sweet,
Blasphemy will turn to truth,
Thorn bushes will turn to jonquil,
A hundred bodies will spring to life
with one breath of yours.

You place doors in the sky.
You place wings on the human heart.
You enchant every mind
and bewilder both worlds.

O Beloved,
your face is sweet and rosy red,
how rosy red.

O Beloved,
yours is the pleasure of this world
and the way to the next.

The threshed corn assumes your color;
All truth becomes one
under the stamping of your foot.
Every note of my song
longs to ring
with the sweetness of your voice.

Without you, the markets would be empty,
The gardens and the vineyards
would wash away in the rain.

You show trees how to sway in the wind.
You show wet branches how to weep.

The leaves and fruits get drunk
on your life-giving water.
If the vast gardens wished for one thing
During the eternal Spring
it would be for leaves, flying forever,
in this flower-wind of yours.

The lights of heaven and the moving planets
Think little of any star
that dares to shine
in this vast galaxy of yours.

O, what a promise you have made!
To serve joy instead of bread
to any soul who becomes a guest of yours. . . .
I went somewhere and I returned.
In a moment, as in a dream,
I was at the beginning and the end;
This elephant of a soul
saw the open plains of yours.

From all my plans I gained nothing.
In the end my heart broke its chains,
grabbed my soul,
and dragged it into your presence.
There I see no pettiness, no pain.
Every moment a new life enters,
born from the flowing compassion of yours.

O, the mountain looks small
beside your grandeur.
And the heart seems rude
beside your love . . .

You are holding every door wide open.
Doors in metal, in mountains, in stone!
Yet my heart crawls around like an ant
looking for its tiny hole.

I may sing till the end of time
Trying to describe your face
but I’ll always sound mute.
How can a person talk straight
when he is in love?
How can a person walk straight
when he is drowning
in this wine-filled ocean of yours?

~ Rumi
( Doors in Metal )
– Ghazal 2138
Version by Jonathan Star, based on a translation by
Shahram Shiva
“A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi”
Bantam Books, 1992
Art by Hannamonika

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Whatever love wants, it gets, not next year, Rumi

As everything changes overnight,
I praise the breaking of promises.
Whatever love wants, it gets,
not next year, now !

I swear by the one who never says tomorrow,
as the circle of the moon refuses to sell installments of light
It gives all it has, whatever that is at the moment.

How do fables conclude, and who will explain them?
Every story is ours. That is who we are,
from beginning to no-matter-how it ends.

Should I use the pronoun we?
the friend walks by, and bricks in the wall feel conscious.
Infertile women give birth. Beauty embodies itself.

Those who know the taste of a meal
are those who sit at the table and eat.

Lover and friend are one being,
and separate beings too,
as the polisher melts in the mirror’s face.

~ Rumi
From: Rumi ” Everything and Everyone Else"
Translated by Coleman Barks

you and Rumi

Happy is the moment, when we sit together,
With two forms, two faces, yet one soul,
you and I.

The flowers will bloom forever,
The birds will sing their eternal song,
The moment we enter the garden,
you and I.

The stars of heaven will come out to watch us,
And we will show them
the light of a full moon –
you and I.

No more thought of “you” and “I.”
Just the bliss of union –
Joyous, alive, free of care, you and I.

All the bright-winged birds of heaven
Will swoop down to drink of our sweet water –
The tears of our laughter, you and I.

What a miracle of fate, us sitting here.
Even at the opposite ends of the earth
We would still be together, you and I.

We have one form in this world,
another in the next.
To us belongs an eternal heaven,
the endless delight of you and I.

~ Rumi
– Version by Jonathan Star
(From a translation by Shahram Shiva)
“A Garden Beyond Paradise:
The Mystical Poetry of Rumi”
Bantam Books, 1992
Art by Anthea Slade

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

There's a Rumi

There's a street 
where the Beautiful one 
is known to take a stroll 

When a certain radience is noticed 
through the latticed windows
of that neighborhood,
people whisper,
The Beloved must be near,

Listen: open a window to Beloved
and breathe.
Delight yourself
with what comes through that opening.

The work of love is to create
a window in the heart,

for the breast is illumined
by the beauty of the Beloved.

Gaze incessantly on that Face!
Listen, this is in your power, my friend!

Find a way to submit your innermost secret.
Let no other perception distract you.

You,yourself, possess the elixir,
so rub it into your skin,

and by this alchemy
your inner enemies will become friends.

And as you are made beautiful,
the Beautiful One will become your own,
the intimate of your once lonely spirit.

~ Rumi
Art by Gnana Prakash Neel

We stood together hand in Rumi

We stood together hand in hand
in primordial time;
now at last, we are One again.

We are all of One soul,
struggling along one path,
and all drunk with the same wine.

From among the two worlds
we chose Love alone;
except for that Love,
there's nothing we adore.

What bitterness did
our souls suffer from separation!
At long last, we are free from separation.

A ray from the Sun came
in through an opening
and raised us up in dignity,
however low we were.

O Sunlight!
Don't withhold Your loving radiance
from us!
Aren't we sitting in the robes of your radiance?

By Your radiance
we are transformed into rubies;
it is because of You that we exist.

Dancing like particles before You;
in our yearning for You,
we abandon all our chains.

~ Rumi
From Divani Shamsi Tabrizi 1761

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Take the fire of the beloved and leap with joy. ~ Rumi

My dear heart
you're a fire worshiper
an explosive in flame

call on the cupbearer
to sprinkle the wine on you
to soothe your burn with water

that special cupbearer
the same one who sizzles
lives with wine and lips with kisses

the one who first calmed my mind
gave me a cup of fiery wine
and took me to a secret house
in that special house
dwelled a precious sweetheart
who offered me a choice

a tray full of gold
a tray full of flame
a few words i was told

this gold is soaked with fire
this fire is filled with gold
if you choose fire you'll end up with gold

if you choose the burden of gold
you'll lay heavy and cold
take the fire of the beloved and leap with joy.

~ Rumi
Ghazal 2523
Translated by Nader Khalili
Rumi, Fountain of Fire
Cal-Earth, September 1994

I live And life in me is what you Christopher Brennan

If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.

Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.

For who is there that lives and knows
The secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?.

Then seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.

~ Christopher Brennan
Art by Nicoletta Thomas

Monday, 5 September 2011

How Should the Cage-Bird Know About the Rumi

My being is but a goblet in the Beloved's hand
- look at my eyes, if you do not believe it.
I am like a goblet,
heart full of blood and body slender,
in the hand of Love,
which is neither pale nor lean nor slender.

This Love consumes nothing but Moslem blood;
come, I will tell it in your ear - amazing, it is not an infidel.
A thousand forms like Adam and Eve are born;
the world is full of His image, but He is not endowed with form.

He knows what is salutary for the desert sand-grain and the drop of the ocean,
and brings replenishment, for His knowledge is not deaf.
Every moment He binds and releases our hearts;
why should the heart not know Him by His actions,
if it is not an ass?

Through being bound and released by the hand of the ass-driver
the ass has become a gnostic,
and knows that he is, and none beside;
Seeing him, it moves its head and ear assishly;
it recognizes his call, for it is not disguised.

From his hand it has consumed sweet provender and water - amazing!
Do you not receive such provision from God?
A thousand times He has fettered you in pain,
and you have cried out;
why do you disapprove?

God is not constrained to release you.
Like the infidel you bow your head only in time of affliction;
not worth half a grain is the head that belongs not yonder.
A thousand spiritual forms are flying in the air like Ja'far-iTaiyar,
although they are not Ja'far;

But how should the cage-bird know about the air?
It supposes gloomily, "I have no wings.
Every moment it puts its head out of the fissure of the cage;
there is room for its head,
but not its body,
for the head is not the whole.

The fissure of your five senses is the fissure of that cage;
you see a thousand prospects,
but there is no way to the prospect.
Your body is dry tinder,
and that vision is fire;
when you look well into the matter,
all is nothing but flame.

Not tinder it is,
for it has become fire in burning;
know that the tinder is light, although it is not shining.
For the sake of the ears of those who shall come after me I speak and set down;
our life is not postponed;
For Love has seized them by the ear
and is bringing them by secret ways where reason is no guide.

Muhammad's eye has closed in sleep,
and the rebeck has become feeble;
sleep not - these words are a treasure of gold,
even if they are not gold in truth.

Mankind are stars, and Shams-i Tabrizi is the sun;
which star is there that is not illumined by his sun?

~ Rumi
Poem by Jalal al din Rumi, Poem #56 translated in "Jalal al din Rumi - Mystical Poems of Rumi" translated from the Persian by A.J. Arberry.
Art by © Misty R. Lemons -

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Oh soul, you worry too Rumi

Oh soul, you worry too much.
You say, I make you feel dizzy.
Of a little headache then, why do you worry?
You say, I am your antelope.
Of seeing a lion here and there why do you worry?
Oh soul, you worry too much.
You say, I am your moon-faced beauty.
Of the cycles of the moon and passing of the years,why do you worry?
You say, I am your source of passion, I excite you.
Of playing into the Devils hand, why do you worry?
Oh soul, you worry too much.
Since you met me, you have become a master singer,
and are now a skilled wrangler, you can untangle any knot.

Of life’s little leash why do you worry?
Your arms are heavy with treasures of all kinds.
About poverty, why do you worry?
You are Joseph, beautiful, strong, steadfast in your belief,
all of Egypt has become drunk because of you.

Of those who are blind to your beauty, and deaf to your songs, why do you worry?
Oh soul, you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less, why do you worry?
You are in truth the soul, of the soul, of the soul.
You are the security, the shelter of the spirit of Lovers.
Oh the sultan of sultans, of any other king,
why do you worry?

Be silent, like a fish, and go into that pleasant sea.
You are in deep waters now, of life’s blazing fire.
Why do you worry?

~ Rumi

Friday, 2 September 2011

Seek to be Rumi

If your knowledge of fire has been turned
to certainty by words alone,
then seek to be cooked by the fire itself.

Don't abide in borrowed certainty.
There is no real certainty until you burn;
if you wish for this, sit down in the fire.

~ Rumi
from Rumi:Daylight,
by Camille and Kabir Helminski

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Our Caravan Rumi

Do you hear
what the violin says
about longing?

The same as the stick.
I was once a green branch in the wind.

We are all far from home.
Language is our caravan bell.

Do not stop anywhere.
The moment you are attracted to a place,
you grow bored with it.

Think of the big moves you have already made,
from a single cell to a human being.

Stay light-footed
and keep moving.

Turkish, Arabic, Greek, any tongue
is a wind that was formerly water.

As a breeze carries the ocean inside it,
so within every sentence is,
Return to the source.

A moth does not avoid flame.
The king lives in the city.

~ Rumi
(Our Caravan Bell)

Come let's speak of our Rumi

Come let's speak
of our souls
let's even hide from
our ears and eyes

Like a rose garden
always keep a smile
like imagination
talk without a sound

Like the spirit
reigning the world
telling the secrets
uttering no word

Let's get away from
all the clever humans
who put words in our mouth
let's only say
what our hearts desire

Even our hands and feet
sense every inner move
let's keep silence
but make our hearts move

The mystery of destiny
knows the life of
speck after speck of dust
let's tell our story
as a particle of dust

~ Rumi
ghazal number 1540, Nader Khalili
Art by Autumn Skye Morrison