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.

Evening Poetry, July 17

As Ripeness Comes

by Rumi

What souls desire arrives.
We are standing up to our necks
in the sacred pool. Majesty is here.

The grains of the earth take in something
they do not understand.

Where did this come from?
It comes from where your longing comes.

From which direction?
As ripeness comes to fruit.

This answer lights a candle
in the chest of anyone who hears.

Most people only look for the way when they hurt.
Pain is a fine path to the unknowable.

But today is different.
Today the quality we call splendor
puts on human clothes, walks through the door,
closes it behind, and sits down with us
in this companionship.

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, July 15

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.

The minute I heard my first love story

I started looking for you, not knowing

ho blind that was.

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.

They’re in each other all along.

Evening Poetry, July 8

You can find this poem in The Essential Rumi.

In your light I learn how to love.

In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest,

where no one else sees you,

but sometimes I do,

and that sight becomes this art.

Evening Poetry, June 28

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 poem in The Essential Rumi.

Evening Poetry, June 27

Poem by Rumi from collection The Essential Rumi.

A night full of talking that hurts,

my worst held-back secrets. Everything

has to do with loving and not loving.

This night will pass.

Then we have work to do.