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RUMI, Jalaluddin


He set the world aflame,

And laid me on the same;

A hundred tongues of fire

Lapped round my pyre.

And when the blazing tide

Engulfed me, and I sighed,

Upon my mouth in haste

His hand He placed.

I sought a soul in the sea

And found a coral there;

Beneath the foam for me

An ocean was all laid bare.

Into my heart's night

Along a narrow way

I groped; and lo! the light,

An infinite land of day.

How long

how long

can I lament

with this depressed

heart and soul

how long

can I remain

a sad autumn

ever since my grief

has shed my leaves

the entire space

of my soul

is burning in agony

how long can I

hide the flames

wanting to rise

out of this fire

how long can one suffer

the pain of hatred

of another human

a friend behaving like an enemy

with a broken heart

how much more

can I take the message

from body to soul

I believe in love

I swear by love

believe me my love

how long

like a prisoner of grief

can I beg for mercy

you know I'm not

a piece of rock or steel

but hearing my story

even water will become

as tense as a stone

if I can only recount

the story of my life

right out of my body

flames will grow

Trough Love

Through love all that is bitter will sweet

Through Love all that is copper will be gold.

Through Love all dregs will turn to purest wine

Through Love all pain will turn to medicine.

Through Love the dead will all become alive.

Through Love the king will turn into a slave!

I’ve come again

I've come again

like a new year

to crash the gate

of this old prison

I've come again

to break the teeth and claws

of this man-eating

monster we call life

I've come again

to puncture the

glory of the cosmos

who mercilessly

destroys humans

I am the falcon

hunting down the birds

of black omen

before their flights

I gave my word

at the outset to

give my life

with no qualms

I pray to the Lord

to break my back

before I break my word

how do you dare to

let someone like me

intoxicated with love

enter your house

you must know better

if I enter

I'll break all this and

destroy all that

if the sheriff arrives

I'll throw the wine

in his face

if your gatekeeper

pulls my hand

I'll break his arm

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

This Marriage

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.

May it be sweet milk,

this marriage, like wine and halvah.

May this marriage offer fruit and shade

like the date palm.

May this marriage be full of laughter,

our every day a day in paradise.

May this marriage be a sign of compassion,

a seal of happiness here and hereafter.

May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,

an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.

I am out of words to describe

how spirit mingles in this marriage.
Come, come, whoever you are.

I am part of the load

I am part of the load

Not rightly balanced

I drop off in the grass,

like the old Cave-sleepers, to browse

wherever I fall.

For hundreds of thousands of years I have been dust-grains

floating and flying in the will of the air,

often forgetting ever being

in that state, but in sleep

I migrate back. I spring loose

from the four-branched, time -and-space cross,

this waiting room.

I walk into a huge pasture

I nurse the milk of millennia

Everyone does this in different ways.

Knowing that conscious decisions

and personal memory

are much too small a place to live,

every human being streams at night

into the loving nowhere, or during the day,

in some absorbing work.

Come, come, whoever you are.

Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.

It doesn't matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow

a thousand times

Come, yet again, come, come.

When I die

When I die

when my coffin

is being taken out

you must never think

I am missing this world

don't shed any tears

don't lament or

feel sorry

I'm not falling

into a monster's abyss

when you see

my corpse is being carried

don't cry for my leaving

I'm not leaving

I'm arriving at eternal love

when you leave me

in the grave

don't say goodbye

remember a grave is

only a curtain

for the paradise behind

you'll only see me

descending into a grave

now watch me rise

how can there be an end

when the sun sets or

the moon goes down

it looks like the end

it seems like a sunset

but in reality it is a dawn

when the grave locks you up

that is when your soul is freed

have you ever seen

a seed fallen to earth

not rise with a new life

why should you doubt the rise

of a seed named human

have you ever seen

a bucket lowered into a well

coming back empty

why lament for a soul

when it can come back

like Joseph from the well

when for the last time

you close your mouth

your words and soul

will belong to the world of

no place no time

The Silk Worm

I stood before a silk worm one day.

And that night my heart said to me,

“I can do things like that,

I can spin skies,

I can be woven into love that can bring warmth to people;

I can be soft against a crying face,

I can be wings that lift,

and I can travel on my thousand feet throughout the earth,

my sacks filled with the sacred.”

And I replied to my heart,

“Dear, can you really do all those things?”

And it just nodded, “Yes” in silence.

So we began and will never cease.

I died as a mineral and became a plant

I died as a mineral and became a plant,

I died as plant and rose to animal,

I died as animal and I was Man.

Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?

Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar

With angels blest; but even from angelhood

I must pass on: all except God doth perish.

When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,

I shall become what no mind e'er conceived.

Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence

Proclaims in organ tones, 'To Him we shall return.'

Translated by A.J. Arberry

What Shall I Be

I have again and again grown like grass;

I have experienced seven hundred and seventy moulds.

I died from minerality and became vegetable;

And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.

I died from animality and became man.

Then why fear disappearance through death?

Next time I shall die

Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels:

After that soaring higher than angels –

What you cannot imagine. I shall be that.

Because I cannot sleep

Because I cannot sleep

I make music at night.

I am troubled by the one

whose face has the color of spring flowers.

I have neither sleep nor patience,

neither a good 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 stars 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 be 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 being from Your Branch.

Remove the cork once more.

Then we'll see a thousand chiefs prostrate themselves,

and a circle of ecstatic troubadours will play.

Then the addict will be freed of craving.

and will be resurrected,

and stand in awe till Judgement Day.


Inside this new love, die.

Your way begins on the other side.

Become the sky.

Take an axe to the prison wall.


Walk out like someone suddenly born into colour.

Do it now.

You're covered with thick cloud.

Slide out the side. Die,

and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign

that you've died.

Your old life was a frantic running

from silence.

The speechless full moon

comes out now.

Who am I?

What is to be done, O Moslems? For I do not recognize myself.

I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Gabr, nor Moslem.

I am not of the East, nor of the West, nor of the land, nor of the sea;

I am not of Nature’s mint, nor of the circling heavens.

I am not of earth, nor of water, nor of air, nor of fire;

I am not of the empyrean, nor of the dust, nor of existence, nor of entity.

I am not of India, nor of China, nor of Bulgaria, nor of Saqsín;

I am not of the kingdom of Irãqain, nor of the country of Khorãsãn.

I am not of this world, nor of the next, nor of Paradise, nor of Hell;

I am not of Adam, nor of Eve, nor of Eden and Rizwãn.

My place is the Placeless, my trace is the Traceless;

‘Tis neither body nor soul, for I belong to the soul of the Beloved.

I have put duality away, I have seen that the two worlds are one;

One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I call.

He is the first, He is the last, He is the outward, He is the inward;

I know none other except ‘Yã Hú’ and ‘Yã man Hú.’

I am intoxicated with Love’s cup, the two worlds have passed out of my ken;

I have no business save carouse and revelry.

If once in my life I spent a moment without thee,

From that time and from that hour I repent of my life.

If once in this world I win a moment with thee,

I will trample on both worlds, I will dance in triumph for ever.

O Shamsi Tabríz, I am so drunken in this world,

That except of drunkenness and revelry I have no tale to tell.

A Moment Of Happiness

A moment of happiness,

you and I sitting on the verandah,

apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.

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.

I swear

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.

In your light

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.

Drumsound rises on the air,

its throb, my heart.

A voice inside the beat says,

"I know you're tired,

but come. This is the way."

Are you jealous of the ocean's generosity?

Why would you refuse to give this joy to anyone?

Fish don't hold the sacred liquid in cups!

They swim the huge fluid freedom.”

I Am and I am Not

I'm drenched

in the flood

which has yet to come

I’m tied up

in the prison

which has yet to exist

Not having played

the game of chess

I’m already the checkmate

Not having tasted

a single cup of your wine

I’m already drunk

Not having entered

the battlefield

I’m already wounded and slain

I no longer

know the difference

between image and reality

Like the shadow

I am


I am not

With Passion


passion pray. With

passion work. With passion make love.

With passion eat and drink and dance and play.

Why look like a dead fish

in this ocean



My Burning Heart

My heart is burning with love

All can see this flame

My heart is pulsing with passion

like waves on an ocean

my friends have become strangers

and I'm surrounded by enemies

But I'm free as the wind

no longer hurt by those who reproach me

I'm at home wherever I am

And in the room of lovers

I can see with closed eyes

the beauty that dances

Behind the veils

intoxicated with love

I too dance the rhythm

of this moving world

I have lost my senses

in my world of lovers

Who makes these changes?

Who makes these changes?

I shoot an arrow right.

It lands left.

I ride after a deer and find myself

Chased by a hog.

I plot to get what I want

And end up in prison.

I dig pits to trap others

And fall in.

I should be suspicious

Of what I want.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

On the Deathbed

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.

I choose to love you in silence…

I choose to love you in silence…

For in silence I find no rejection,

I choose to love you in loneliness…

For in loneliness no one owns you but me,

I choose to adore you from a distance…

For distance will shield me from pain,

I choose to kiss you in the wind…

For the wind is gentler than my lips,

I choose to hold you in my dreams…

For in my dreams, you have no end.

How did you get away?

How did you get away?

You were the pet falcon of an old woman.

Did you hear the falcon-drum?

You were a drunken songbird put in with owls.

Did you smell the odor of a garden?

You got tired of sour fermenting

and left the tavern.

You went like an arrow to the target

from the bow of time and place.

The man who stays at the cemetery pointed the way,

but you didn't go.

You became light and gave up wanting to be famous.

You don't worry about what you're going to eat,

so why buy an engraved belt?

I've heard of living at the center, but what about

leaving the center of the center?

Flying toward thankfulness, you become

the rare bird with one wing made of fear,

and one of hope. In autumn,

a rose crawling along the ground in the cold wind.

Rain on the roof runs down and out by the spout

as fast as it can.

Talking is pain. Lie down and rest,

now that you've found a friend to be with.