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Rumi



image: https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/4/7417/Why-Rumi-is-a-favorite-author-

among-US-readers


Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī was a 13th century Persian poet and mystic whose poems are among the most popular in the modern world. Rumi's work has been a profound inspiration, teacher, & comfort for me. There depths of the soul that cannot be reached except through music & poetry. Rumi's poems reach the hidden depths of my soul like no other poems have.


The poems and excerpts below were translated & published by Coleman Barks, presented here without permission. https://www.colemanbarks.com/


An Awkward Comparison


This physical world has no two things alike.


Every comparison is awkwardly rough.


You can put a lion next to a man,


but the placing is hazardous to both.


Say the body is like this lamp.


It has to have a wick and oil. Sleep and food.


If it doesn't get those, it will die,


and it's always burning those up, trying to die.



But where is the sun in this comparison?


It rises, and the lamp's light


mixes with the day.


Oneness,


which is the reality, cannot be understood


with lamp and sun images. The blurring


of a plural into a unity is wrong.



No image can describe


what of our fathers and mothers,


our grandfathers and grandmothers, remains.



Language does not touch the one


who lives in each of us.


Tattooing in Qazwin



In Qazwin, they have a custom of tattooing themselves


for good luck, with a blue ink, on the back


of the hand, the shoulder, wherever.



A certain man there goes to his barber


and asks to be given a powerful, heroic blue lion


on his shoulder blade. "And do it with flair!


I've got Leo ascending. I want plenty of blue."



But as soon as the needle starts pricking,


he howls,


"What are you doing?"


"The lion."


"Which limb did you start with?"


"I began with the tail."


"Well, leave out the tail. That lion's rump


is in a bad place for me. It cuts off my wind."


The barber continues, and immediately


the man yells out, "Oooooooo! Which part now?"


"The ear."


"Doc, let's do a lion with no ears this time."


The barber


shakes his head, and once more the needle,


and once more the wailing,


"Where are you now?"


"The belly."


"I like a lion without a belly."


The master lion-maker


stands for a long time with his fingers in his teeth.


Finally, he throws the needle down.


"No one has ever


been asked to do such a thing! To create a lion


without a tail or a head or a stomach.


God himself could not do it!"



Brother, stand the pain.


Escape the poison of your impulses.