How does a part of the world leave the world?
How can wetness leave water?
Don’t try to put out a fire
by throwing on more fire!
Don’t wash a wound with blood!
No matter how fast you run,
your shadow more than keeps up.
Sometimes, it’s in front!
Only full, overhead sun
diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
I can explain this, but it would break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there’s no fixing that.
You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.
When from that tree, feathers and wings sprout
on you, be quieter than a dove.
Don’t open your mouth for even a cooooooo.
When a frog slips into the water, the snake
cannot get it. Then the frog climbs back out
and croaks, and the snake moves toward him again.
Even if the frog learned to hiss, still the snake
would hear through the hiss the information
he needed, the frog voice underneath.
But if the frog could be completely silent,
then the snake would go back to sleeping,
and the frog could reach the barley.
The soul lives there in the silent breath.
And that grain of barley is such that,
when you put it in the ground,
Are these enough words,
or shall I squeeze more juice from this?
Who am I, my friend?
(Taken from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks)
Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi was a 13th-century poet, jurist, scholar and theologian. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages.
None of the translations are perfect; the Farsi version is riddled with fabrication as well as the translations. The good news is that a true lover of Rumi’s work can easily collect the gems from the dirt.
The major themes of Rumi’s poems are that of LOVE for God, spiritual states and progression.
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