Evening Poetry, August 8

From “The Tent” by Rumi

(found in the collection The Essential Rumi)

Friend, our closeness is this:

anywhere you put your foot, feel me

in the firmness under you.

How is it with this love,

I see your world and not you.

Evening Poetry, April 8

From The Essential Rumi

by Rumi

Some nights stay up till dawn,

as the moon sometimes does for the sun.

Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way

of a well, then lifted out into light.

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, March 21

Spring

(by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks)

Again, the violet bows to the lily.
Again, the rose is tearing off her gown!

The green ones have come from the other world,
tipsy like the breeze up to some new foolishness.

Again, near the top of the mountain
the anemone’s sweet features appear.

The hyacinth speaks formally to the jasmine,
“Peace be with you.” “And peace to you, lad!
Come walk with me in this meadow.”

Again, there are sufis everywhere!
The bud is shy, but the wind removes
her veil suddenly, “My friend!”

The Friend is here like water in the stream,
like a lotus on the water.

The narcissus winks at the wisteria,
“Whenever you say.”

And the clove to the willow, “You are the one
I hope for.” The willow replies, “Consider
these chambers of mine yours. Welcome!”

The apple, “Orange, why the frown?”
“So that those who mean harm
will not see my beauty.”

The ringdove comes asking, “Where,
where is the Friend?

With one note the nightingale
indicates the rose.

Again, the season of Spring has come
and a spring-source rises under everything,
a moon sliding from the shadows.

Many things must be left unsaid, because it’s late,
but whatever conversation we haven’t had
tonight, we’ll have tomorrow.

You can find this in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, March 7

From The Essential Rumi

by Rumi

When I remember your love,

I weep, and when I hear people

talking of you,

something in my chest,

where nothing much happens now,

moves as in sleep.

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, March 3

My Worst Habit

by Rumi

My worst habit is I get so tired of winter

I become a torture to those I’m with.

If you’re not here, nothing grows.

I lack clarity. My words

tangle and knot up.

How to cure bad water? Send it back to the river.

How to cure bad habits? Send me back to you.

When water gets caught in habitual whirlpools,

dig a way out through the bottom

to the ocean. There is a secret medicine

given only to those who hurt so hard

they can’t hope.

The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.

Look as long as you can at the friend you love,

no matter whether that friend is moving away from you

or coming back toward you.

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, December 17

How We Move in Grace

by Rumi

Doing prayer and meditation at a particular time,

fasting, and going on pilgrimage

are outward statements of inner intention.

Giving to charity and giving up jealousy

are ways to say how it is inside us.

Serving food and welcoming guests into your house

are actions that mean, I feel close to you.

Any time you exert yourself by going somewhere,

giving money, or taking time to pray,

you are saying, There is a priceless jewel inside me.

Fasting says, I have not eaten

even what is permitted.  I must want no connection

to what is not.  Giving to the poor says,

I am distributing my own property.

Certainly, I will not steal from others.

There are, though, fowlers who throw out grain

to snare birds, and cats who pretend to fast,

fast-asleep, when really they are peeking

through eye-slits to ambush prey.

They give generosity a bad name.

But despite all crookedness,

water comes from the star Arcturus

to wash even the hypocrites.

When our water here

becomes saturated with pollution,

it gets led back to the original water, the ocean.

After a year of receiving starlight,

the water returns, sweeping new robes along.

Where have you been?  In the ocean of purity.

Now I’m ready for more cleaning work.

Give me your demons.  I’ll take them to sea.

If there were no impurity, what would water do?

It shows its glory in how it washes a face,’

and in other qualities as well,

the way it grows the grass

and how it lifts a ship across to another port.

Every medicinal ointment derives essence

from water, as every pearl and every seed.

A river is a shop of salves,

food for the abandoned, movement

for those who are stuck.

When the river slows with the weight of silt

and corruption, it grows sad and prays,

Lord, what you gave me I gave others.

Is there more?  Can you give more?

Clouds then draw up the riverwater,

and dissolve it in the ocean.

What this means is

we often need to be refreshed.

Mingling with surroundings, the soul falls ill.

It calls out to the first caller-out, Bilal,

revive us.  Beat the drum that glides us along.

As the body stands at prayer,

the soul says, Peace, my friend,

then leaves for a while.

When it comes back, you don’t have to do ablutions

with sand anymore or guess which way

to point the prayer rug.

Water is the story of how we are helped.

Hot baths prepare us to enter the fire.

Only salamanders can go directly in

without an intermediary, salamanders and Abraham.

The rest of us need guidance from water.

Satisfaction comes from God,

but to get there you need to eat bread.

Beauty comes from the presence,

but those of us in bodies

must walk in a garden to feel it.

When this body-medium goes, we will see directly

the light that lives in the chest.

The qualities of water show

how we move inside grace.

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, November 20

From The Essential Rumi

by Rumi

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.

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, August 17

The Waterwheel

by Rumi

Stay together, friends,

Don’t scatter and sleep,

Our friendship is made

of being awake.

The waterwheel accepts water

and turns and gives it away,

weeping.

That way it stays in the garden,

whereas another roundness rolls

through a dry riverbed looking

for what it thinks it wants.

Stay here, quivering with each moment

like a drop of mercury.

You can find this in the collection The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, July 28

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.

There is a way between voice and presence

where information flows.

In disciplined silence it opens.

With wandering talk it closes.

Evening Poetry, July 22

The Guest House

by Rumi

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 honorably.

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.

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.