Sunday, July 21, 2013

I never knew it


By day I praised you
And never knew it.
By night I stayed with you
And never knew it.

I always thought that I was me – but no,
I was you
and never knew it!


Version by Jonathan Star and Shahram Shiva
A Garden Beyond Paradise
Bantam Books, 1992

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Monday, July 01, 2013

A Children's Game



Listen to the poet Sanai, who lived secluded:
 "Don't wander out on the road in your ecstasy. Sleep in the tavern."

When a drunk strays out to the street,
children make fun of him.
He falls down in the mud.
He takes any and every road.
The children follow,
not knowing the taste of wine, or how
his drunkenness feels. All people on the planet
are children, except for a very few.
No one is grown up except those free of desire.

God said,
"The world is a play, a children's game,
and you are the children."
God speaks the truth.
If you haven't left the child's play, how can you be an adult?
Without purity of spirit,
if you're still in the middle of lust and greed
and other wantings, you're like children
playing at sexual intercourse.
They wrestle and rub together, but it's not sex!

The same with the fightings of mankind.
It's a squabble with play-swords.
No purpose, totally futile.

Like kids on hobby horses, soldiers claim to be riding
Boraq, Muhammad's night-horse, or Duldul, his mule.

Your actions mean nothing, the sex and war that you do.
You're holding part of your pants and prancing around,
Dun-da-dun, dun-da-dun.

Don't wait till you die to see this.
Recognize that your imagination and your thinking
and your sense-perception are reed canes
that children cut and pretend are horsies.

The Knowing of mystic Lovers is different.
The empirical, sensory, sciences
are like a donkey loaded with books,
or like the makeup woman's makeup.
It washes off.
But if you lift the baggage rightly, it will give you joy.
Don't carry your knowledge-load for some selfish reason.
Deny your desires and willfulness,
and a real mount may appear under you.

Don't be satisfied with the name of HU,
with just words about it.

Experience that breathing.
From books and words come fantasy,
and sometimes, from fantasy, comes union.

  Mathnawi I: 3426-3454
Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995
 
 
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