Sunday, 27 November 2011

Listen, O drop....by Rumi

Listen, O drop, 
give yourself up without regret,
and in exchange gain the Ocean.

Listen, O drop, 
bestow upon yourself this honor,
and in the arms of the Sea be secure.

Who indeed should be so fortunate ?
An Ocean wooing a drop !

In God’s name, in God’s name,
sell and buy at once!

Give a drop,
and take this Sea full of pearls.

~ Rumi

My heart became like a pen that’s in the Beloved’s fingers...by Rumi

My heart became like a pen
that’s in the Beloved’s fingers:

Tonight he may write a Z,
perhaps tomorrow, a B.

He cuts and prepares his pen well
to write in riqa and naskh;*

The pen says: “Lo, I obey,
for you know best what to do.”

Sometimes he blackens its face,
he wipes it then in his hair,

He holds it now upside down,
sometimes he writes with it too. . .

~ Rumi
Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
“I Am Wind, You are Fire”
Shambhala, 1992
*riqa and naskh: two styles of writing Persian.

We should turn to the source....by Rumi

Thirst is angry with water. 
Hunger bitter with bread.

The cave wants nothing 
to do with the sun. 
This is dumb,
the self- defeating way we've been.

A gold mine is calling us into its temple.
Instead, we bend
and keep picking up rocks
from the ground.

Every thing has a shine like gold,
but we should turn to the source!

The origin is what we truly are.
I add a little vinegar to the honey I give.

The bite of scolding makes ecstasy more familiar.

But look, fish, you're already in the ocean:
just swimming there
makes you friends with glory.

What are these grudges about?
You are Benjamin.
Joseph has put a gold cup in your grain sack
and accused you of being a thief.

Now he draws you aside and says,
'You are my dear.
I am a prayer. You're the amen.'

We move in eternal regions, yet
worry about property here.

This is the prayer of each:

You are the source of my life.
You separate essence from mud.

You honor my soul. You bring rivers from the
mountain springs. You brighten my eyes.

The wine you offer
takes me out of myself
into the self we share.
Doing that is religion.

~ Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi


My heart will never seek another heart...by Rumi

My heart 
will never seek another heart,

Or smell another flower, 
knowing you.

Your love has made
heart's field a desert waste;

No love other than yours
grows in that place !

~ Rumi

Show not Shams-I Tabrizi’s coin to him who has not our fineness...by Rumi

This caravan is not bringing our baggage 
it has none of the fire of our Friend.

Though the trees have all turned green, 
they have caught no scent of our spring.

Your spirit may be a rose garden, but
its heart has not been wounded by our thorn.

Your heart may be an ocean of realities, but
its boiling does not compare with that of our shore.

Although the mountains are very steady
by God, they do not have our steadiness.

The spirit drunk with the morning wine
has not even caught a scent of our winesickness.

Venus herself, the minstrel of heaven,
has not the capacity for our work.

Ask us about the lion of God
every lion has not our backbone.

Show not Shams-I Tabrizi’s coin to him
who has not our fineness !

~ Rumi
– Ghazal (Ode) 695
Translation by William C. Chittick
“The Sufi Path of Love”
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

My religion is to live through Love...by Rumi

My religion is
to live through Love:

a life created from my own
small mind and self
would be a disgrace.

The blade of Love cuts away
what covers the lover’s soul;
Love’s sword severs sins.

When the bodily grime is gone,
a shining moon appears:

Spirit’s moon in a wide-open sky.

I’ve beat this drum of Love
for so long, for you whom I adore,
singing: “My life depends upon my dying”

This keeps my body and soul alive.
I dream but I do not sleep.

The seagull fears no shipwreck.
Her feet love to touch the ocean..

~ Rumi 
Mathnawi VI, 4059-4064
Art by MeAlbena Vatcheva

I am going....by Rumi

Toward the gardens,
Toward the orchards,
I am going.

If you want to stay here,
Stay here
I am going!

My day is dark without His Face,
Toward that bright flame
I am going.

My soul is racing ahead of me.
It says, The body is too slow for me
I am going.

The smell of apples arises
from the orchard of my soul.
One whiff and I am gone
Toward a feast of apples
I am going.

A sudden wind won't blow me over.
Toward Him, like a mountain of iron,
I am going.

My shirt is ripped open
with the pain of loss.
Searching for a new life,
with my head held high,
I am going.

I am fire, though I seem like oil
Seeking to be the fuel of His fire,
I am going.

I appear as a steady mountain
Yet bit by bit,
Toward that tiny opening
I am going.

~ Rumi

Whenever you meet someone deep drunk...by Rumi

Whenever you meet
someone deep drunk
yet full of wisdom
be aware and watch
this person is enthralled
only by love

Anytime you see
someone who seems gone
tipsy and happy
filled with rapture
be sure and observe
this is the condition
of someone in love

If you see a head
happy and thrilled
filled with joy
every night and day
this head was fondled
by the fingers of love

Every moment
someone is blessed
a tree sprouts
an angel flies
even a monster
leaps with delight

When your body
feels together
when your soul
wants to unite
you are chosen
for a blissful love

~ Rumi

– Ghazal 2132
Translation by Nader Khalili
“Rumi, Fountain of Fire”
Burning Gate Press, Los Angeles, 1994



Saturday, 26 November 2011



call of your soul’s Friend...by Rumi

Listen to your essential self, the Friend: 
When you feel longing, be patient,

and also prudent, moderate with eating and drinking. 
Be like a mountain in the wind.
Do you notice how little it moves?

There are sweet illusions that arrive
to lure you away. Make some excuse to them,
“I have indigestion,” or “I need to meet my cousin.”

You fish, the baited hook may be fifty
or even sixty gold pieces, but is it really worth
your freedom in the ocean?

When traveling, stay close to your bag.
I am the bag that holds what you love.
You can be separated from me.

Live carefully in the joy of this friendship.
Don’t think, “But those others love me so.

Some invitations sound like the fowler’s whistle
to the quail, friendly,
but not quite how you remember
the call of your soul’s Friend

~ Rumi
Art by Elle Nicolai

O my friends, What can you tell me of Love...by Mirabai

O my friends,
What can you tell me of Love,
Whose pathways are filled with strangeness ?

When you offer the Great One your love,
At the first step your body is crushed.
Next be ready to offer your head as his seat.

Be ready to orbit his lamp 
like a moth giving in to the light,
To live in the deer 
as she runs toward the hunter's call,

In the partridge 
that swallows hot coals for love of the moon,
In the fish that, kept from the sea, happily dies.

Like a bee trapped for life 
in the closing of the sweet flower,

Mira has offered herself to her Beloved.
She says, the single Lotus will swallow you whole.

~ Mirabai 
from The Enlightened Heart: 
An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, by Stephen Mitchell

Friday, 25 November 2011

When my Beloved comes ....by Kabir

THE Lover who is parted from her Beloved 
spins at the spinning wheel.

The city of the body arises in its beauty; 
and within it the palace of the mind has been built.

The wheel of love revolves in the sky, 
and the seat is made of the jewels of knowledge:

What subtle threads the lover weaves, 
and makes them fine with love and reverence !

Kabîr says: 
"I am weaving the garland of day and night. 
When my Beloved comes 
and touches me with His kiss, 
I shall offer Him my tears."

~ Kabir 
The Songs of Kabir, 
tr. by Rabindranath Tagore
Art by Ekaterina Prozheyko

Enough Words....by Rumi

How does a part of the world leave the world ?
How can wetness leave water ?

Don't try to put out a fire
by throwing on more fire!
Don't wash a wound with blood!

No matter how fast you run,
your shadow more than keeps up.
Sometimes, it's in front!

Only full, overhead sun
dimishes your shadow.

But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.

I can explain this, but it would break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there's no fixing that.

You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

When from that tree, feathers and wings sprout
on you, be quieter than a dove.
Don't open your mouth for even a cooooooo.

The soul lives there in the silent breath.

And that grain of barley is such that,
when you put it in the ground,
it grows.

Are these enough words,
or shall I squeeze more juice from this ?
Who am I, my friend ?

~ Rumi
(Enough Words)
translated by Coleman Barks

Thursday, 24 November 2011

MY heart cries....by Kabir

MY heart cries aloud for the house of my lover; 
the open road and the shelter of a roof are all one to her 
who has lost the city of her Beloved.

My heart finds no joy in anything: 
my mind and my body are distraught.
His palace has a million gates, 
but there is a vast ocean between it and me:
How shall I cross it, O friend? 
for endless is the outstretching of the path.

How wondrously this lyre is wrought! 
When its strings are rightly strung, 
it maddens the heart: 
but when the keys are broken 
and the strings are loosened, 
none regard it more.

I tell my friends with laughter 
that I must go to my Beloved in the morning; 
They are angry, for they do not want me to go, 
and they say: 
"She thinks she has gained such dominion over her Beloved 
that she can have whatsoever she wishes; 
and therefore she is impatient to go to him."

Dear friend, lift my veil lightly now; 
for this is the night of love.

Kabîr says: 
"Listen to me! 
My heart is eager to meet my lover: 
I lie sleepless upon my bed. 
Remember me early in the morning!"

~ Kabir 
The Songs of Kabir, 
tr. by Rabindranath Tagore
Art by Natalia Tejera

When you Lose...by Rumi

When you don’t lose yourself, the beloved is like a thorn
When you lose yourself, the beloved is the purest gold

When you don’t lose yourself, a fly can fell you
When you lose yourself, elephants fall before you

When you don’t lose yourself, you’re a cloud of grief
When you lose yourself, mist and fog parts for you

When you don’t lose yourself, the beloved turns away
When you lose yourself, the sweetest wine comes your way

When you don’t lose yourself, you’re as dispirited as autumn
When you lose yourself, your January is like spring

All your restlessness is out of your desire for stillness
Just desire restlessly, then, love will fill and still you

All your unhealthiness is out of your desire for health,
Just abandon health, then, even poison will heal you…

~ Rumi
Translated by Nilou Mobasser

As you are, so I am....

Writing in Code....by Hafiz

O morning breeze, 
bring your happy face 
as soon as you can
To the Beloved’s Street !

You are the Messenger of Mystery,
and now I know
I am on the Right path.
So don’t give me orders,
but urge me gently on.

Winebringer,
give me some of your reddest wine,
As my soul is slipping from my hands.

Let me tie all my hope
to Your woven gold belt.
This diet of reason
I've been on has led me nowhere.

That waistline of Yours traces
a divine subtlety. Now I know.

From where I sit,
the sight of Your sword
is a sure sign of drought,
So take me captive
and slay me with water
and buckets of ice.

I have written these words in code,
made only for Your eyes.
Please take them, and read them right away!

For Hafiz,
speaking Turkish and Arabic
are like talking in the same tongue:

He tells Love’s story
in every language that he knows !

~ Hafiz
(Writing in Code)
Thomas Rain Crowe
from Drink on The Wine of The Beloved
Shambhala, 2001.

O Pilgrim....by Hafiz

O Pilgrim. 
Come and look 
into the mirror of this glass of wine !

And pick up your net, 
the Pure Bird can never be caught.
There is nothing in this cage but wind.

Live for the moment ! 
When the water in the lake dried up,
Even Adam left the Garden of Safe Joy.

At the Mardi Gras of Life, 
have one or two cups of wine, then leave.
Don’t hang around 
waiting for an enlightened drunk!

Say to your heart: “My youth is gone.”
Even though you have picked no roses, 
use your old head skillfully,
then do the right thing.

The puritan know-it-all never sees the drunkard
Or secrets hidden behind the veil.

O Wise One, those of us 
who sit all day on Your threshold 
have more than Earned our pay. 
For service rendered, 
to pay Your slaves in pity is OK.

When I handed the reins of my heart to You,
I gave up, forever, 
any hope of becoming anything other than a horse.

O student of the cup of Hafiz: drink! 
And then go like the wind
To the Beloved, 
and tell him the story of this great wine !

~ Hafiz 
(O Pilgrim)
from: Drunk on The Wine of The Beloved
Thomas Rain Crowe
Art by Tim Thorpe

Cast All Your Votes For Dancing...by Hafiz

Cast All Your Votes For Dancing..

I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way
And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
And Love.

Whenever you say God's name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

O keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter

And from the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,
Be wise.
Cast all your votes for Dancing!

~ Hafiz
(Cast All Your Votes For Dancing)
From I Heard God Laughing -
Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky

Not With Wings....by Hafiz

Here soar
Not with wings,

But with your moving hands and feet
And sweating brows 

Standing by your Beloved's side
Reaching out to comfort this world

With your cup of solace
Drawn from your vast reservoir of Truth.

Here soar
Not with your eyes and senses

That turn their backs
On the earth's sweet stumbling dance
Which needs you.

Here love, O here love,
With your mouth tender and open upon your lover,

And with your heart on duty
To the souls of rivers, children, forest animals,
All the shy feathered ones and laughing, jumping,
Shining fish.

O here, pilgrim,
Love
On this holy battleground of life

Where there are bleeding men
Who are calling for a sacred drink,
A gentle word or touch from man
or God.

Hafiz, why just serve and play with angels ?
They are already content.

Brew your knowledge well for men
With aching minds and guts,

And for those wayfarers who have gained
The rare courageous thirsts
That can never be relinquished
Until Union!

Hafiz,
Leave your recipes in golden drums.

Tie those barrels to the backs of camels
Who will keep circumambulating the worlds,

Giving nourishment
To all our tender wondrous spheres.

O here love, O love right here.
Find your happiness, dear wayfarer,

With your beautiful lips and body
So sweetly opened,

Yielding their vital gifts upon
This magnificent
Earth.

~ Hafiz
(Not With Wings)
From The Subject Tonight is Love
- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky

O Beloved, You are so gracious......by Hafiz

O Beloved, 
You are so gracious. 

After all these years 
You still remember 
who I am:
the one who wears the dust
of Your door like a crown.

Tell me,
who taught You
to be so generous to Your slaves?

Don't worry,
I won't tell those spies
who are watching Your every move.

O Holy Bird, please bless this path I'm on,
For I'm new to this traveling,
and it's a long way I have to go.

O morning breeze,
take my prayers to the Beloved,
And tell Him that each day
I am on my knees at dawn.

I yearn for the day
when I will leave this house
and head out on the road.
When that day comes,
friends will wonder where I've gone.

O give me the secret map to the
place where I can drink wine with You,
For in that place only can I be drunk,
and in my drunkenness be free.

Only great poems can capture
the hearts of those who don't read;
So poets, sing !

Let the God-of-Oceans fill
your mouth with pearls.

O Hafiz,
if you are seeking the pearl of union,
do this:

From tears,
make yourself an ocean
and then dive !

~ Hafiz
Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved: 100 Poems of Hafiz
(translated by Thomas Rain Crowe)
Shambala, Boston, 2001

LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY....by Hafiz

LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY....

The beauty of this poem is beyond words.
Do you need a guide to experience the heat of the sun ?

Blessed is the brush of the painter who paints
Such beautiful pictures for his virgin bride.

Look at this beauty. There is no reason for what you see.
Experience its grace. Even in nature there is nothing so fine.

Either this poem is a miracle, or some sort of magic trick,
Guided either by Gabriel or the Invisible Voice, inside.

No one, not even Hafiz, can describe with words the Great Mystery.
No one knows in which shell the priceless pearl will hide.

~ Hafiz
(LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY....)