Ah, my friends. Forgive me for the unconventional post. I sit awake here at the hospital, in a bit of a bad place with my mom. Lo, it's Wednesday, and I see no better place to turn than my favorite spiritual well-spring. So I have been on a bit of a Rumi scavenger hunt, gathering the bits and pieces from the corners and letting the current take me. It's my version of a spiritual 'treasure map', or ecstatic prayer ties, I think.
If I hold you with my emotions,
you'll become a wished-for companion.
If I hold you with my eyes,
you'll grow old and die.
So I hold you where we
both mix with the infinite.
I went inside my heart to see how it was. Something there makes me hear the whole world weeping.
Go, rest your head on a pillow, leave me alone;
leave me ruined, exhausted from the journey of this night,
writhing in a wave of passion till the dawn.
Either stay and be forgiving,
or, if you like, be cruel and leave.
Flee from me, away from trouble;
take the path of safety, far from this danger.
We have crept into this corner of grief,
turning the water wheel with a flow of tears.
While a tyrant with a heart of flint slays,
and no one says, "Prepare to pay the blood money."
Faith in the king comes easily in lovely times,
but be faithful now and endure, pale lover.
No cure exists for this pain but to die,
So why should I say, "Cure this pain"?
In a dream last night I saw
an ancient one in the garden of love,
beckoning with his hand, saying, "Come here."
On this path, Love is the emerald,
the beautiful green that wards off dragonsnough, I am losing myself.
If you are a man of learning,
read something classic,
a history of the human struggle
and don't settle for mediocre verse.
On the Deathbed, Kulliyat-i-Shams 2039
Our death is our wedding with eternity.
What is the secret? "God is One."
The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house.
This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes;
It is not in the juice made from the grapes.
For he who is living in the Light of God,
The death of the carnal soul is a blessing.
Regarding him, say neither bad nor good,
For he is gone beyond the good and the bad.
Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible,
So that he may place another look in your eyes.
It is in the vision of the physical eyes
That no invisible or secret thing exists.
But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God
What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?
Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light
Don't call all these lights "the Light of God";
It is the eternal light which is the Light of God,
The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh.
...Oh God who gives the grace of vision!
The bird of vision is flying towards You with the wings of desire.
Our Death is Our Wedding, Mystic Odes 833
God has given us a dark wine so potent that,
drinking it, we leave the two worlds.
God has put into the form of hashish a power
to deliver the taster from self-consciousness.
God has made sleep so
that it erases every thought.
God made Majnun love Layla so much that
just her dog would cause confusion in him.
There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.
Don't think all ecstacies
are the same!
The Many Wines, excerpt
if the heavens don't go round
to my heart's desire
i'll crush its wheels and
pull out its roots
you have set up
a colorful table
calling it life and
asked me to your feast
but punish me if
i enjoy myself
what tyranny is this
excerpt of untitled?
come on sweetheart
let's adore one another
before there is no more
of you and me
a mirror tells the truth
look at your grim face
brighten up and cast away
your bitter smile
a generous friend
gives life for a friend
let's rise above this
and be kind to one another
spite darkens friendships
why not cast away
malice from our heart
once you think of me
dead and gone
you will make up with me
you will miss me
you may even adore me
why be a worshiper of the dead
think of me as a goner
come and make up now
since you will come
and throw kisses
at my tombstone later
why not give them to me now
this is me
that same person
i may talk too much
but my heart is silence
what else can i do
i am condemned to live this life
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.
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 expanding
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
Life freezes if it doesn't get a taste
of this almond cake.
The stars come up spinning
every night, bewildered in love.
They'd grow tired with that revolving, if they weren't.
They'd say, "How long do we have to Do this!"
God picks up the reed-flute world and blows.
Each note is a need coming through one of us,
a passion, a longing-pain.
Remember the lips
where the wind-breath originated,
and let your note be clear.
Don't try to end it .
BE Your Note.
I'll show you how it's enough.
Go up on the roof at night
in the city of the soul.
Let Everyone climb on their roofs
and sing their notes!
Each Note, excerpt
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.
'Spirit, go a journey,'
Love's voice said:
'Lo, a home of travail
I have made.'
Much, much I cried:
'I will not go';
Yea, and rent my raiment
And made great woe.
Even as now I shrink
To be gone from here,
Even so thence
To part I did fear.
'Spirit, go thy way,'
Love called again,
'And I shall be ever nigh thee
As they neck's vein.'
Much did love enchant me
And made much guile;
Love's guile and enchantment
Capture me the while.
In ignorance and folly
When my wings I spread,
From palace unto prison
I was swiftly sped.
Now I would tell
How thither thou mayst come;
But ah, my pen is broke
And I am dumb.
you mustn't be afraid of death
you're a deathless soul
you can't be kept in a dark grave
you're filled with God's glow
be happy with your beloved
you can't find any better
the world will shimmer
because of the diamond you hold
when your heart is immersed
in this blissful love
you can easily endure
any bitter face around
in the absence of malice
there is nothing but
happiness and good times
don't dwell in sorrow my friend
Translated by Nader Khalili "Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Cal-Earth Press, 1994
Why cling to one life
till it is soiled and ragged?
The sun dies and dies
squandering a hundred lives
God has decreed life for you
and He will give
another and another and another
When someone asks what it means
to "die for love," point
If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.
The soul sometimes leaves the body, then returns.
When someone doesn’t believe that,
walk back into my house.
Like This, excerpt
I swear, since seeing Your face,
the whole world is fraud and fantasy
The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf
or blossom. The distracted birds
can't distinguish the birdseed from the snare.
A house of love with no limits,
a presence more beautiful than venus or the moon,
a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.
The Divani Shamsi Tabriz XV
Love is reckless; not reason.
Reason seeks a profit.
Love comes on strong,
consuming herself, unabashed.
Yet, in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone,
hard surfaced and straightforward.
Having died of self-interest,
she risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.
Without cause God gave us Being;
without cause, give it back again.
Mathnawi VI, 1967-1974
Last night you left me and slept
your own deep sleep. Tonight you turn
and turn. I say,
"You and I will be together
till the universe dissolves."