Posts Tagged ‘Rumi’

The child inside me is spinning. She
loves the way her skirt rises
as she twirls. She knows nothing
of the Coriolis force
that acts on objects
in motion. She knows only
that she is in motion. She knows
her skirt rises higher and whirls more
the faster she goes, and she
likes it, the way it ripples
and flows, how it swirls around
her legs in a happy yellow
froth. She likes it so much
that she spins and spins
until she is dizzy and
stumbling, spins ’til she drops
in a laughing yellow heap on
the floor. She loves her new
discovery. She is eager and
silly, alive in her body. She jumps up
and spins again. And what of the woman
with graying hair, the woman
sitting quietly in the soft green
chair. She appears still, but
what no one can see—on
the inside she spins like
a dervish, a hypnotic whirling
born of grief that helps her meet
the illusion of separation, she
spins like the earth itself is spinning, spins
while her center stays still, and
what rises is peace, flaring
around her in long white waves
and she doesn’t lose her balance, and
the laughter of fifty years ago escapes
through her lips and
ripples, amazed, through
the silence.

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explicating the love poem—

only later realizing

I’ve been stained red

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The spam email was simple. Subject: Why?

Body: Answer me. And I thought of Einstein,

who wrote a brief letter to Miss Marion Block,

a woman who had written first to him,

overcome as she was by two world wars.


He wrote: The question “Why” in the human sphere

is easy to answer: to create satisfaction

for ourselves and for other people.


Almost 800 years earlier,

Rumi answered the same question, saying,

Oh soul, you worry too much.


I, too, like Miss Block, like the spammer,

like the soul, I, too, have stood beneath the stars

and asked Why, Why?

And this week, I received in the mail

a typed letter signed from The Universe,

saying, You know this, but may have forgotten:

you have been given a special task

to complete on Earth … the world needs you.


And the words from The Universe

leap from the page to form new constellations

inside me and I see so clearly

that I am one of many, many stars,

no longer capable of thinking I’m in this for myself,

certain that we shine for each other.


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too much furniture
in here for dancing said God
handing me the match


my shine could get more
bang for the buck said the sun if
you’d act more moon-ish


a ship you have made
of my soul with you the mast,
the current, the sail

(from Rumi’s Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, XVIII)

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robbing ninety banks
I’d still come up short to buy
this pearl love gives me

(Divan, x)


on this ladder each
rung its own destination—
it’s time, love, to climb

(Divan, xii)


rather to wear
this scratchy wool slip of love
than all the silks of pride

(Divan, xiii)


is that True Love
you’re sipping? quick, bartender,
make mine a triple

(Divan, xiii)


I put all I love
in a canoe, love sank it—
now everything is possible

(Divan, xiii)

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Let’s talk about something besides weather. Let’s talk about life, the miraculous body, the wonders of the heart, the agony of loss. And what is spirit? And what is love? And what are we here for, anyway?

That’s right. Let’s talk about all the things you’re yearning to talk about, but you’re not sure how to bring them up. Join local poet and scholar Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for this three-part series on the Sufi poets Hafiz, Rabia and Rumi.

The workshops will take place three consecutive Thursdays, May 1, 8 and 15 at 6 p.m. The workshops are free and open to everyone. The last workshop will feature Middle Eastern food and music and a celebration of the mystic poets and the Muslim Journeys series, of which this series is a part.

Wilkinson Public Library was one of just 125 libraries and humanities councils in the US to receive an American Library Association/National Endowment for the Humanities grant to present Muslim Journeys , a scholar-led reading and discussion program designed to foster opportunities for community conversations about the histories, faith and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the United States. WPL’s program began in January.

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Again Again

Your prayer should be, “Break the legs of what I want to happen. Humiliate my desire. Eat me like candy.
It’s spring and finally I have no will.”
— Mathnawi, III (4391 – 4472), “Feeling the Shoulder of the Lion,” by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

I was supposed to pray
for broken legs. Instead,
I prayed for a train to take
me anywhere but here.
Years went by. The train
never came. Rabbit brush
and salt brush pushed up between the rails.
So I thought perhaps I should
pray instead for a horse, but remembered
soon after that I am afraid of horses
and don’t really know how to ride.
So I prayed for car and felt
pretty clever that I remembered
to pray that it come with a full tank of gas.
But the only road out of here
is so muddy, so slippery, so steep,
so riddled with rocks
that any car would soon be stuck.
So I started to pray for strong, strong
legs to carry my weight and take me
far. And I began to walk and grew stronger,
and walked and felt fulfilled, and
the more I thought I was finally in control,
the less I thought I needed to pray. But nowhere
I went was a place that I wanted
to stay. I ran faster and faster
from here to here, out of breath
and dizzy from searching, feet blistered,
body weary, I found a new prayer:
Break the legs of what I want to happen.
Humiliate my desire. You know how it is.
I was still. And it worked for a while—
the sweet release of failure. And then, in the quiet
spring of surrender, the sound came
far off but clear, the whistle of the train
just coming through a tunnel
on its way to somewhere.

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What if, while wandering the park feeling sorry for yourself, you met a Sufi mystic on the merry go round? A video poem.

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with a quote from “On Letting Go,” by Rumi, Ghazal (Ode) 323
Translation by Nader Khalili

They’re all brown now,
the leaves that last week
rained soft gold. Brown.
No, there is nothing soft
about the way they crunch
and crackle underneath my feet
as I weave inconsistent paths
around the park.
I find me wishing impossible things,
a longing for the way things were,
such soft gold leaves, the warmth, the light,
and feel some queer delight in wanting
the impossible. “Fall in love with the agony
of love,” says Rumi. “Not the ecstasy.”
He is circling on the merry go round,
his head flung back to the sky.
“Really,” I say.
“Yeah, really,” he says.
“Shit,” I say.
“Yeah,” he says. “I knew that’s what you’d say.”
Shit. I think to myself. He smiles.
The sky turns darker gray.
“But,” I say.
“Yeah,” says Rumi. “I knew you’d say that, too.”
Inside me, I notice something brown.
Something crackling toward dust.
“Okay,” I say.
“Okay,” he says.
And we say nothing for a long, long time.
The naked trees show no impatience.
The leaves show no remorse.
He offers me an empty swing.
I take it. I know this isn’t really flying.
But for a moment, I feel perhaps
what the leaves feel, the small thrill of falling,
the rush of what comes next as part of me
lets go, even as my hands grip
tighter on the chains.

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“Sir”, says the volunteer,
“you need to stay on the trail.”
But Rumi, running in blue Adidas
continues to find his way down
through the boulder field and cliffs.
“There is a moving palace that floats in the air,”
Rumi shouts back toward the road,
“with balconies and clear water
flowing through, infinity everywhere.”
The volunteer shouts after him.
“But sir, these cliffs aren’t safe!”
Rumi laughs. “The anger of police is willfulness.
Now see the invisible.”
The volunteer shouts,
“But the rules!”
And Rumi becomes
a field of open sunlight,
a field of open sunlight
in blue Adidas shoes.
He is a river moving.
The volunteer doesn’t
know what to do.
He turns to tell the woman
beside him about
the whole strange thing,
then thinks the better of it,
and pours another cup of Gatorade.

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