|One day I feel confused and down, |
the next I can reach the sky
without you I am never calm.
In your absence people ridicule me,
but when you come
I don't mind what they think or say.
I refuse to feast or be merry without my Beloved.
However he appears I will follow.
If he comes as a cupbearer, I'll become one too;
if he comes as an ascetic, I'll become a pious pilgrim.
If he pretends to be a madman, I'll become a perfect fool;
if he tries to escape, I will become a mighty hunter.
Yet, when I complain about my sleepless nights
He mocks me and says I do not pray enough,
when I ask him for a favor he sends me off.
What am I to do but to surrender
to the will of my Beloved.
~ Rumi Translation by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
"Rumi: Hidden Music"
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001
|Though you read |
a hundred volumes without a pause,
You won't remember
a single point without the Divine decree;
But if you serve God
and read not a single book,
You'll learn rare sciences
within your own heart.
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
|Before such spirit-bestowing Beauty, |
I not die ?
I not go mad and seize hold of
Thy chainlike tresses?
When I drink Thy wine,
I not be obliterated?
Thou art wine and I am water,
Thou art honey and I am milk.
Open Thy mouth, that infinite candy --
if Thou acceptest not my excuses, well,
I accept Thy blandishments!
Dost Thou know why I laugh?
Because of my own high aspiration
in the city of Thy Love,
I am the prince of lovers!
I and eternal Love were born into the world
from a single womb
though I appear as a new lover,
by God I am exceedingly ancient!
If you open your own eye,
you will be fitting only for yourself.
But if you find this vision,
you will know that I am peerless.
Like Men, I fire up the stove of all those
who are cold; and within the stove of warm spirits,
my dough is cooked to the greatest perfection!
In my gentleness, I am like milk
I never become caught in the throat.
Make no mistakes, though
I be salty like cheese!
In my love for Beloved Shams , I am a sultan
wearing a crown
but when he comes to the throne,
I am his vizier*.
From Rumi's "Diwan-e Shams"
Translation by Professor William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983
*A vizier is a high executive officer of various Muslim
countries and especially of the Ottoman Empire.
Art by Michelle Scott
|At the last you vanished, gone to the Unseen.|
Strange the path you took out of this world.
Strange how your beating wings demolished the cage,
and you flew away to the world of the soul.
You were some old woman’s favorite falcon
but when you heard the Falcon Drum
you escaped to the placeless .
You were a drunken nightingale among owls,
but when the scent of the rose garden reached you,
you were gone.
The bitter wine you drank with us left it’s headache,
but at last you entered a timeless tavern.
Like an arrow you went straight for the target of bliss,
straight to the mark like an arrow from a bow.
Like a ghoul, the world tried to deceive you,
with it’s false clues-
but you ignored the clues,
and went straight to that which has no clue.
Now that you are the sun, what good is a crown?
and how do you tie your belt
now that you have no middle?
Heart, what a rare bird you are,
that in your yearning for heaven’s attention.
you flew to the spear-point like a shield!
The rose flees autumn,
but what a foolhardy rose you are,
seeking the autumn wind.
You were rain from another world
that fell upon this dusty earth.
You ran in all directions
and escaped down the gutter.
Be silent. Be free
of the pain of speech.
Don’t sleep since you took refuge
with so loving a friend.
From The Pocket Rumi,
Edited by Kabir Helminsky,
published by Shambala Pocket Classics
|The wine of divine Grace is limitless.|
All limits come only
from the limitation of the cup.
Moonlight floods the whole sky
from horizon to horizon,
How much it can fill your room
depends on its windows.
Grant a great dignity, my friend,
to the cup of your life;
Love has designed it
to hold His eternal wine.
Wine and Cup
Teachings of Rumi
by Andrew Hervy
|Join yourself to friends|
and know the joy of the soul.
Enter the neighborhood of ruin
with those who drink to the dregs.
Empty the glass of your desire
so that you won’t be disgraced.
Stop looking for something out there
and begin seeing within.
Open your arms if you want an embrace.
Break the earthen idols and release the radiance.
Why get involved with a hag like this world?
You know what it will cost.
And three pitiful meals a day
is all that weapons and violence can earn.
At night when the Beloved comes
will you be nodding on opium?
If you close your mouth to food,
you can know a sweeter taste.
Our Host is no tyrant. We gather in a circle.
Sit down with us beyond the wheel of time.
Here is the deal: give one life
and receive a hundred.
Stop growling like dogs,
and know the shepherd’s care.
You keep complaining about others
and all they owe you?
Well, forget about them;
just be in His presence.
When the earth is wide,
why are you asleep in a prison?
Think of nothing but the source of thought.
Feed the soul; let the body fast.
Avoid knotted ideas;
unite yourself in a higher world.
Limit your talk
for the sake of timeless communion.
Abandon life and the world,
and find the life of the world.
(Empty the Glass of Your Desire )
From Love Is a Stranger
Trans by Kabir Helminski
|You watch the sensuous movements of the veil.|
Do you know there's a Chinese girl behind it
whose face you can't see?
You see a reflection of the real moon
in all the stones that lie at your feet.
You're a leaf scattered by an invisible wind.
Don't you know something's moving you?
Unless some thought stirs that wind, you don't stir.
If the wind isn't still, you're not.
Constellations, planets, your inmost states
are like camels in a row. You're the last.
Curl up and drink in the blood
like a child in heaven's womb.
You feel a pain in the sphere of your heart,
but when you lift your head it's gone.
Your ninth month is the Beloved Shams' face,
you, who have been trusted with the secret of both worlds.
O heart, be patient in this blood
until the ninth month.
(The Ninth Month)
From Love is a Stranger,
Trans by by Kabir Helminski
|The wilderness way Moses took|
was pure need and desolation.
Remember how you cried when you were a child?
Joseph's path to the throne room of Egypt
where he distributed grain to his brothers
led through the pit his brothers left him in.
Don't look for new ways
to flee across the chessboard.
Listen to hear the checkmate
spoken directly to you.
Mice nibble. That's what they need
to be doing. What do you need?
How will you impress the one
who gave you life?
If all you can do is crawl,
You have a hundred cynical fantasies
about God. Make them ninety-nine!
If you can't pray a real prayer, pray
hypocritically, full of doubt
it were real !
Translated by Coleman Barks
"The Illuminated Rumi"
|With my very own hands |
I laid my little daughter to rest because she is of my very flesh,
Thus am I constrained to submit to the rule of parting,
so that my hand is now empty and contains nothing.
Bound to this moment we are in, caught between the yesterday that has gone
and the tomorrow that is yet to come.
This flesh of mine is as pure silver,
while my inner reality is as pure gold.
Like a bow have I grown, and my true posture is as my rib.
My Lord it is who says that He has created me in a state of suffering and loss.
How then can I possibly hope for any rest,
dwelling as I do in such a place and state?
~ Ibn 'Arabi
|My soul, |
why do you tarry so long in the land of exile?
Return from this exile;
how long will you be dispersed?
I sent a hundred letters, I signaled a hundred ways; either
you do not know the way or you do not read the letter.
If you do not read the letter, the letter itself reads you; and
if you do not know the way,
you are in the grip of Him who knows the way.
Return, for in this prison no one knows your worth; sit not
with the stonyhearted, for you are a gem of this mine.
You who have escaped from heart and soul,
washed your hands of heart and soul,
leaped forth from the snares of the world
return, for you are one of the falcons.
You are both water and stream and are seeking for water;
you are both lion and deer and are better than they.
How far is it from you to the Soul?
Are you more remarkable than the Soul?
Are you commingled with the Soul,
or a ray of the Beloved?
From Mystical poems of rumi
by A.J Arberry
| Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,|
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
~ William Butler Yeats