Lines by Rumi
The following selections of Rumi’s poetry are taken from “The Essential Rumi”, compiled and translated by Coleman Barks (1994).
Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
I try to stay
just above the surface, yet I’m already under
and living within the ocean.
Come to the orchid in Spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts
in the pomegranate flowers.
If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter.
Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded.
Someone sober will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.
Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love.
pale the wall.
Love moves away.
The light changes.
I need more grace
than I thought.
The wine we really drink is our own blood.
Our bodies ferment in these barrels.
We give everything for a glass of this.
We give our minds for a sip.
Thirst drove me down to the water
where I drank the moon’s reflection.
This is the sema of slavery and mastery
dancing together. This is not being.
Neither words, nor any natural fact
can express this.
Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
You kiss a beautiful mouth,
and a key turns the lock of your fear.
The friend comes into my body
looking for the center, unable
to find it, draws a blade,
I have a thirsty fish in me
that can never find enough
of what it’s thirsty for!
A night full of talking that hurts,
my worst held-back secrets.
Everything has to do with loving and not loving.
This night will pass.
Then we have work to do.
Just because you can’t drink all that falls
doesn’t mean you give up taking sips of rainwater.
If the nut of the mystery can’t be held,
at least let me touch the shell.
Do you pay regular visits to yourself?
Don’t argue or answer rationally.
Let us die,
and dying, reply.
Most people guard against going into the fire,
and so end up in it.
I saw you and became empty.
This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
existence thrives and creates more existence!
To praise is to praise
how one surrenders
to the emptiness.
We rarely hear the inward music,
but we’re all dancing to it nevertheless,
When the ocean surges,
don’t let me just hear it.
Let it splash inside my chest!
Friends are enemies sometimes,
and enemies friends.
But knowing depends
on the time spent looking!
Nightingales are put in cages
because their songs give pleasure.
Whoever heard of keeping a crow?
A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.
Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.