I made a post last week asking about everyone’s favorite Rumi poem. There were such gorgeous poems shared, and I really loved seeing everyone’s choices.
Today’s post is also a little different, which I hope is ok with everyone, and it springs out of discussion in that post on Rumi’s healing through his loss. I mentioned that I’m often moved by the depth that comes through when Rumi writes for his beloved friend and mentor Shams of Tabriz. It’s great how you can look at his collected works and see his journey through the grief process, from his feelings of emptiness and longing to his ultimate healing in realizing that the Friend and the Beloved are one.
I was looking for examples of his healing, and I found so many beautiful passages that I thought I’d compile them for today’s installment. My main source is The Essential Rumi, although many of them popped into mind from a great book that I think was just titled The Love Poems of Rumi. The ‘On Rumi’ introduction in The Essential Rumi and Wikipedia’s entry on Rumi are both good reading if you’re interested in the history of their ecstatic relationship.
The theme of union is so breathtakingly executed in Rumi’s poetry; it’s what originally drew me to his works. For Rumi, it was Shams of Tabriz; much of Rumi’s poetry was inspired by him, and one of Rumi’s books was actually titled The Works of Shams of Tabriz. I read these poems and think of beloved friends and Elders I have lossed, but mostly for me it echos my greater longing to become one with Spirit. I eagerly await the day I can embody such grace and wisdom, and experience a true ecstatic union. I read these declarations of love and I hear the echo of namasté - the divinity in me greets the divinity in you. With every relationship we form, we have the opportunity to experience this. Ecstatic indeed!
These are some of my favorite passages. I hope you enjoy. I’ve linked to the whole poem wherever I could.
Friend, our closeness is this:
anywhere you put your foot, feel me
in the firmness under you.
How is it with this love,
I see your world and not you?
What was in that candle's light
that opened and consumed me so quickly?
Come back, my friend.
The form of our love is not a created form.
Nothing can help me but that beauty.
There was a dawn I remember when my soul
heard something from your soul.
I drank water from your spring,
and felt the current take me.
Water From Your Spring
Someone who goes with half a loaf of bread
to a small place that fits like a nest around him,
someone who wants no more, who’s not himself
longed for by anyone else,
He is a letter to everyone. You open it.
It says, Live.
In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.
Friend sits by Friend, and the tablets appear.
They read the mysteries
off each other's foreheads.
But one day the mouse complains, “There are times
when I want sohbet, and you’re out in the water,
jumping around where you can’t hear me.
We meet at this appointed time,
but the text says, Lovers pray constantly.
Once a day, once a week, five times an hour,
is not enough. Fish like we are
need the ocean around us!”
Do camel bells say, Let’s meet back here Thursday night?
Ridiculous. They jingle
talking while the camel walks.
Do you pay regular visits to yourself?
an excerpt from one of my very favorites, A Mouse and a Frog
A certain person came to the Friend's door
The Friend answered, "Go away. There's no place
for raw meat at this table."
The individual went wandering for a year.
Nothing but the fire of separation
can change hypocrisy and ego. The person returned
walked up and down in front of the Friend's house,
"Who is it?"
"Please come in, my self,
there's no place in this house for two…”
excerpt from Two Friends
Start walking toward Shams. Your legs will get heavy
and tired. Then comes a moment
of feeling the wings you’ve grown,
excerpt, from Unfold Your Own Myth
Your grief for what you’ve lost holds a mirror
up to where you're bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look and instead,
here's the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expand
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated