If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
If anyone wants to know what "spirit" is,
or what "God’s fragrance" means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.
Like this. Like this.
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, the returns.
When someone doesn’t believe that,
walk back into my house.
When lovers moan,
they’re telling our story.
I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.
When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
How did Joseph’s scent come to Jacob?
How did Jacob’s sight return?
A little wind cleans the eyes.
When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he’ll put just his head around the edge
of the door to surprise us
From ‘The Essential Rumi’, Translations
by with John Moyne
Everything other than love for the most beautiful God
though it be sugar-eating.
What is agony of the spirit?
To advance toward death without seizing
hold of the Water of Life.
Masnawi I 3686-87
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden's beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.
Kulliyat-e Shams, 2114
I hear a drum in my soul's ear
coming from the depths of the stars.
Our camel driver is at work;
the caravan is being readied.
He asks that we forgive him
for the disturbance he has caused us,
He asks why we travelers are asleep.
Everywhere the murmur of departure;
the stars, like candles
thrust at us from behind blue veils,
and as if to make the invisible plain,
a wondrous people have come forth.
The Divani Shamsi Tabriz, XXXVI
He is the knower and the known,
the seer and the seen;
No eye but His own
has ever looked upon this Universe.
His every quality finds an expression:
Eternity becomes the verdant field of Time and Space;
Love, the life-giving garden of this world.
Every branch and leaf and fruit
Reveals an aspect of His perfection.
The cypress give hint of His majesty,
The rose gives tidings of His beauty.
Whenever Beauty looks,
Love is also there;
Whenever beauty shows a rosy cheek
Love lights Her fire from that flame.
When beauty dwells in the dark folds of night
Love comes and finds a heart
entangled in tresses.
Beauty and Love are as body and soul.
Beauty is the mine, Love is the diamond.
They have together since the beginning of time-
Side by side, step by step.
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
Let go of your worries
and be completely clear-hearted,
like the face of a mirror
that contains no images.
If you want a clear mirror,
and see the shameless truth,
which the mirror reflects.
If metal can be polished
to a mirror-like finish,
what polishing might the mirror
of the heart require?
Between the mirror and the heart
is this single difference:
the heart conceals secrets,
while the mirror does not.
The Divani Shamsi Tabriz, XIII
This is love:
to fly toward a secret sky,
to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First, to let go of live.
In the end, to take a step without feet;
to regard this world as invisible,
and to disregard what appears to be the self.
Heart, I said, what a gift it has been
to enter this circle of lovers,
to see beyond seeing itself,
to reach and feel within the breast.
The Divani Shamsi Tabriz, XII
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
In every moment I shape an idol.
But then, in front of you, I melt them down.
I can rouse a hundred forms
and fill them with spirit,
but when I look into your face,
I want to throw them in the fire.
My souls spills into yours and is blended.
Because my soul has absorbed your fragrance,
I cherish it.
Every drop of blood I spill
informs the earth,
I merge with my Beloved
when I participate in love.
In this house of mud and water,
my heart has fallen to ruins.
Enter this house, my Love, or let me leave.
The Divani Shamsi Tabriz, XXXIV
Passion makes the old medicine new:
Passion lops off the bough of weariness.
Passion is the elixir that renews:
how can there be weariness
when passion is present?
Oh, don't sigh heavily from fatigue:
seek passion, seek passion, seek passion!
Mathnawi VI, 4302-4304
All three become one when
your talisman is shattered.
That oneness you can't know
Mathnawi II, 716-718
I am only the house of your beloved,
not the beloved herself:
true love is for the treasure,
not for the coffer that contains it.
The real beloved is that one who is unique,
who is your beginning and your end.
When you find that one,
you'll no longer expect anything else:
that is both the manifest and the mystery.
That one is the lord of states of feeling,
dependent on none;
month and year are slaves to that moon.
When he bids the "state,"
it does His bidding;
when that one wills, bodies become spirit.
Mathnawi III, 1417-1424
The sea becomes full of pearls,
the salt marsh becomes sweet as kauthar,
the stone becomes a ruby from the mine,
the body becomes wholly soul.
Intellectuals plan their repose;
lovers are ashamed to rest.
The lover is always alone.
even surrounded by people;
like water and oil, he remains apart.
The man who goes to the trouble
of giving advice to a lover
get nothing. He's mocked by passion.
Love is like musk. It attracts attention.
Love is a tree, and the lovers are its shade.
Kulliyat-e Shams, 21
the five senses and the six directions:
its goal is only to experience
the attraction exerted by the Beloved.
Afterwards, perhaps, permission
will come from God:
the secrets that ought to be told with be told
with an eloquence nearer to the understanding
that these subtle confusing allusions.
The secret is partner with none
but the knower of the secret:
in the skeptic's ear
the secret is no secret at all.
When the rose is gone and the garden faded
Mathnawi I, 23-31
Because I cannot sleep
I make music at night.
I am troubled by the one
whose face e has the color of spring flowers.
I have neither sleep nor patience,
neither a god reputation nor disgrace.
A thousand robes of wisdom are gone.
All my good manners have moved a thousand miles away.
The heart and the mind are left angry with each other.
The starts and the moon are envious of each other.
Because of this alienation the physical universe
is getting tighter and tighter.
The moon says, "How long will I remain
suspended without a sun?"
Without Love's jewel inside of me,
let the bazaar of my existence by destroyed stone by stone.
O Love, You who have been called by a thousand names,
You who know how to pour the wine
into the chalice of the body,
You who give culture to a thousand cultures,
You who are faceless but have a thousand faces,
O Love, You who shape the faces
of Turks, Europeans, and Zanzibaris,
give me a glass from Your bottle,
or a handful of bheng from Your Branch.
Remove the cork once more.
The we'll see a thousand chiefs prostrate themselves,
and a circle of ecstatic troubadours will play.
Then the addict will be breed of craving.
and will be resurrected,
and stand in awe till Judgement Day.
Those who don't feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don't drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don't want to change,
let them sleep.
This Love is beyond the study of theology,
that old trickery and hypocrisy.
I you want to improve your mind that way,
I've given up on my brain.
I've torn the cloth to shreds
and thrown it away.
If you're not completely naked,
wrap your beautiful robe of words
"Like This, Rumi; , Maypop Books
your own deep sleep. Tonight you turn
and turn. I say,
"You and I will be together
till the universe dissolves."
You mumble back things you thought of
when you were drunk.
Like This, Rumi, Coleman Barks, Maypop Books
Now the candleflame is out, the wine spilled,
and the lovers have withdrawn
somewhere beyond my squinting.
The amount I thought I'd won, I've lost.
My prayers becomes bitter and all about blindness.
How wonderful it was to be for a while
with those who surrender.
Others only turn their faces on way,
then another, like pigeon in flight.
I have known pigeons who fly in a nowhere,
and birds that eat grainlessness,
and tailor who sew beautiful clothes
by tearing them to pieces.
(Mathnawi, V. 346-353) Like This,
Rumi, Coleman Barks, Maypop Books
He said, "Who is at my door?"
I said, "Your humble servant."
He said, "What business do you have?"
I said, "To greet you, 0 Lord."
He said, "How long will you journey on?"
I said, "Until you stop me."
He said, "How long will you boil in the fire?"
I said, "Until I am pure.
"This is my oath of love.
For the sake of love
I gave up wealth and position."
He said, "You have pleaded your case
but you have no witness."
I said, "My tears are my witness;
the pallor of my face is my proof.'
He said, "Your witness has no credibility;
your eyes are too wet to see."
I said, "By the splendor of your justice
my eyes are clear and faultless."
He said, "What do you seek?"
I said, "To have you as my constant friend."
He said, "What do you want from me?"
I said, "Your abundant grace."
He said, "Who was your companion on the 'ourney?
I said, "The thought of you, 0 King."
He said, "What called you here?"
I said, "The fragrance of your wine."
He said, "What brings you the most fulfillment?"
I said, "The company of the Emperor."
He said, "What do you find there?"
I said, "A hundred miracles."
He said, "Why is the palace deserted?"
I said, "They all fear the thief."
He said, "Who is the thief?"
I said, "The one who keeps me from -you.
He said, "Where is there safety?"
I said, "In service and renunciation."
He said, "What is there to renounce?"
I said, "The hope of salvation."
He said, "Where is there calamity?"
I said, "In the presence of your love."
He said, "How do you benefit from this life?"
I said, "By keeping true to myself
Now it is time for silence.
If I told you about His true essence
You would fly from your self and be gone,
and neither door nor roof could hold you back!
Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved, Jonathan Star
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997
Don't go anywhere without me.
Let nothing happen in the sky apart from me,
or on the ground, in this world or that world,
without my being in its happening.
Vision, see nothing I don't see.
Language, say nothing.
The way the night knows itself with the moon,
be that with me. Be the rose
nearest to the thorn that I am.
I want to feel myself in you when you taste food,
in the arc of your mallet when you work,
when you visit friends, when you go
up on the roof by yourself at night.
There's nothing worse than to walk out along the street
without you. I don't know where I'm going.
You're the road, and the knower of roads,
more than maps, more than love.
The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks
Oh my tiny fool, look smart, show a lil wit
How can you be the guide if you never traveled the road
To learn about the truth you must adopt love as your guide
So now listen son and someday you too may be a father
All this feasting and sleeping, only made you fat and lazy
Alas today deprived and depraved you may learn something yet
Take-heart, it’s never too late to earn her shine
Greet love with your heart, and you may outshine the sun
Wash your hands off all the dust and copper
Take and tender love with a gilded touch today
Don’t sit and wait
Get out there, feel life
Touch the sun, and immerse in the sea
You’ll never know a thing if you only imagine how it feels
To know the fire; step into the flame
To know the water; bathe in the lake
Those who know her; see her only in clarity
No haze or fog to cloud their eyes
No doubts to rain on the parade
Braced by her love, you’ll never need nor ever want
In times of frolic or tragedy, no gain or loss
May ever wane the beauty
Oh dear Hafiz if you seek to reunite with the beloved
Be as dirt at the doorway to the wise, and speak from the heart.
Listen for the stream
that tells you one thing.
Die on this bank. Begin in me
the way of rivers with the sea.
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Threshold Books, 1984
"The Many Objects of Desire"
Oh, the many objects of desire,
The many reflections of His .
How can you turn away from such eyes?
Where, where will you turn?
A thousand praises!
A thousand hearts of gratitude!
For your love has given wings to the world.
Wanting to see the dawn of your eternal light,
This old world recites your Name each morning.
You have shared your love;
You have ruled with kindness.
How can there be justice
without your purity and compassion?
I heard that Joseph did not sleep for ten years;
The prince of virtue kept praying to God
for the sake of his brothers:
O God, forgive them –
if not, I'll cry a hundred tears.
Do not punish them
for they truly regret the evil act
they so suddenly committed.
Joseph's feet swelled from standing all night:
His eyes burned from tears and torment.
His cries echoed through the heavens
and rocked the flight of angels;
It caused the Sea of Compassion to boil
and overflow its bounds . . .
Such is the way of spiritual masters –
they work day and night to release mankind
from its pain and moral decay.
After helping one soul, they move on,
and God alone knows
of their great compassion.
Masters always ask God
to rescue those who are lost.
They take away despair,
and replace it with joy;
They remove the tattered clothes of life
and dress everyone in silk.
Enough for now!
I'll tell you the rest tomorrow . . .
Now look how the beauty of the moon
Shows only through a dark night.
-- Ode 929
Version by Jonathan Star
"A Garden : The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992
"The Oxus has become the Sea"
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The Oxus, which had begun to flow because of the love for
the Sea, has become the Sea – the Oxus has been obliterated.
When it reached Love, it saw an ocean of blood – intellect
sat in the blood's midst.
The waves of blood crashed down upon its head and took
it away from all six directions toward the Directionless,
Until it lost itself completely and became nimble and well
proportioned in Love.
While lost, it reached a place where the earth and the
heavens did not exist.
When it wanted to go forward, it had no feet – but if it
had sat, it would have suffered great loss.
Suddenly it saw from the other side of both obliteration
and the universe an Ineffable Light.
One banner and a hundred thousand spears. It became
enthralled by the Gentle Light:
Its feet had been stuck but began to move; forward it
went in the incredible plain,
Hoping to pass Yonder and be delivered from self and
Two valleys appeared upon its path, one full of fire and
the other roses.
A call came, "Go into the fire and find yourself in the
rosegarden of ease!
But if you enter the rosary, you will find yourself in fire
Either fly to the heavens like Jesus, or fall to the depths
Flee and seek the sanctuary of the spirit's king so that
you may escape every snare
That Sun of Religion and Pride of Tabriz, who is greater
than any attribute you give him!
*Korah, one of Moses' people, is said to have been the richest
man alive. According to the Koran he was swallowed up by the
earth for his sins and arrogance (XXVIII 81 and other passages).
-- Ghazal (Ode) 1931
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983
i've travelled around
raced through every city
while i knew all along
no place could be found
like the city of love
if i could have known
to value what i owned
i would not have suffered
like a fool
the life of a vagabond
i've heard many tunes
all over the globe
as a kettledrum
except the music of love
it was the sound of
that hollow drum
that made me fall
from the heavens
to this mortal life
i used to soar
like a heart's flight
winglessly roaming and
i used to drink
like a flower that drinks
without lips or throat
of the wine that overflows
with laughter and joy
i was summoned by love
to prepare for a journey
to the temple of
i cried desperately
i begged and pleaded
and shredded my clothes
not to be sent
to this world
just the way i fear now
to the other world
i was frightened then
to make my descent
love asked me to go
with no fear to be alone
promising to be close
everywhere i go
closer than my veins
love threw its spell
its magic and allure
using coyness and charm
i was totally sold and
bought everything with joy
who am i to resist
love's many tricks
and not to fall
while the whole world
takes love's bait
love showed me
a path but then
lost me on the way
if i could have resisted
i would have found my way
i can show you my friend
surely how you can get there
but here and now
my pen has broken down
before telling you how
-- Ghazal (Ode) 1509
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Burning Gate Press, , 1994.
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