Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Turning Night

This moment, this love, comes to rest in me,
many beings in one being.

In one wheatgrain a thousand sheaf-stacks.
Inside the needle's eye, a turning night of stars.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How We Move Inside Grace (2)

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 are showing us
how we move inside grace.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How We Move Inside Grace (1)

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 am ready for more cleaning work.
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 lifts a ship across to another port.

When the river slows with the weight of silt
and corrruption, it grows sad and prays,
Lord, what you gave me I gave others.
Is there more? Can you give more?

Clouds draw the water up to become rain;
the ocean takes the river back into itself.

What this means is
we often need to be refreshed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Joseph has come, the handsome one of this age,
a victory banner floating over spring flowers.

Those of you whose work it is to wake the dead,
get up. This is a work day.

The lion that hunts lions charges into the meadow.
Yesterday and the day before are gone.
The beautiful coin of now slaps down in your hand.

Start the drumbeat. Everything we have said
about the Friend is true. The beauty of that
peacefulness makes the whole world restless.

Spread your love-robe out to catch
what sifts down from the ninth level.

You heart closed up in a chest, open,
for the Friend is entering you.

You feet, it is time to dance.
Don't talk about the old man.

He is young again. And don't mention
the past. Do you understand?
The beloved is here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Wished-For Song

You are song, a wished-for song.
Go through the ear to the center,
where the sky is, where wind,
where silent knowing.

Put seeds and cover them.
Blades will sprout
where you do your work.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Orchard

Come to the orchard in spring.
There is light and wine and sweethearts
in the pomegranate flowers.

If you do not come, these do not matter.
 If you do come, these do not matter.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Bowl

Imagine the time the particle you are
returns where it came from.

The family darling comes home. Wine,
without being contained in cups,
is handed around.

A red glint appears in a granite outcrop,
and suddenly the whole cliff turns to ruby.

At dawn I walked along with a monk
on his way to the monastery.

We do the same work, I told him.
We suffer the same.

He gave me a bowl, and I saw.
The soul has this shape.

Shams, and actual sunlight, help me now,
being in the middle of being
partly in myself, and partly outside.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


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 the meadow.

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

The ringdove comes asking, Where,
where is the Friend? With one note
the nightingale indicates the rose.

Many things must be left unsaid because it is late,
but whatever conversation we have not had 
 tonight, we will have tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Sun is Love

The sun is love. The lover,
a speck circling the sun.

A spring wind moves to dance
any branch that isn't dead.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You are covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you have died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon
comes out now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring is Christ

Everyone has eaten and fallen asleep.
The house is empty.

We walk out to the garden to let the apple
meet the peach, to carry messages
between rose and jasmine.

Spring is Christ,
raising martyred plants from their shrouds.

A leaf trembles. I tremble
in the wind-beauty like silk from Turkestan.
The censer fans into flame.

This wind is the Holy Spirit.
The trees are Mary.
Watch how husband and wife play subtle games
with their hands. Strings of cloudy pearls
are thrown across the lovers,
as is the marriage custom.

We talk about this and that. There is no rest
except on these branching moments.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Waterwheel

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,

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.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dissolver of Sugar

Dissolver of sugar, dissolve me,
if this is the time.
Do it gently with a touch of a hand, or a look.
Every morning I wait at dawn. That's when
it has happened before. Or do it suddenly
like an execution. How else 
can I get ready for death?

You breathe without a body, like a spark.
You grieve, and I begin to feel lighter.
You keep me away with your arm,
but the keeping away is pulling me in.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


When I see you and how you are,
I close my eyes to the other.
For your Solomon's seal I become wax
throughout my body. I wait to be light.
I give up opinions on all matters.
I become the reed flute for your breath.

You were inside my hand.
I kept reaching around for something.
I was inside your hand, but I kept asking questions
of those who know very little.

I must have been incredibly simple or drunk or insane
to sneak into my own house and steal money,
to climb over my own fence and take my own vegetables.
But no more. I have gotten free of that ignorant fist
that was pinching and twisting my secret self.

The universe and the light of the stars come through me.
I am the crescent moon put up
over the gate to the festival.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Morning Water and a Poet

We learn this from a drunken king,
who wakes up hungover and sick,
asking for two things, a morning drink of water,
and Let it be brought by a poet.

There is a tradition that the wine
of nonexistence makes us God-drunk.
Intoxicated that way, we are purified.

There is a kind of poet
whose poetry pours that wine,

and there is another poet who makes us want
the red wine and the white.
The two poets may even have the same name.

Look inside form. Read with your soul
this Masnavi. Let it bring you
morning water and a poet.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Humble Living

Humble living does not diminish. It fills.
Going back to a simpler self gives wisdom.

When a man makes up a story for his child,
he becomes a father and a child
 together, listening.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Poem in a Letter

Before death takes away what you are given,
give away what is there to give.

No dead person grieves for his death. He mourns only what
he didn't do. Why did I wait? Why did I not . . . ? Why did I
neglect to . . . ?

I cannot think of better advice to send. I hope you like it.
May you stay in your infinity.


"One hundred and forty-seven of Rumi's letters survive. Many of them contain lines of poetry composed while writing the letters."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flood Residue

The taste of today is not that of yesterday.
A pot boils over.

A watchman calls down the ladder,
Did you hear the commotion last night
from the seventh level?

Saturn turns to Venus and tells her
to play the strings more gently.
Taurus milk runs red. Leo slinks from the sky.

Strange signs, because of a word
that comes from the soul
to help us escape from speaking and concepts.

I answer the nightwatchman,
You will have to assign meanings
for these ominous events.

I have been set free from the hunt,
the catching and the being caught,
to rest in these dregs
of flood residue, pure and empty.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sufi Masters (2)

The open sky drinks from their circling cup.
The sun wears the gold of their generosity.
When two of them meet, they are no longer two.
They are one, and six hundred thousand.
The ocean waves are their closest likeness
when wind makes from unity the numerous.

This happened to the sun, and it broke into rays.
The disc of the sun does exist, but if you see
only the ray-bodies, you may have doubts.
The human-divine combination is a oneness.
Plurality, the apparent separation into rays.

Friends, we are traveling together.
Throw off your tiredness. Let me show you
one tiny spot of the beauty that cannot be spoken.
I am like an ant that has gotten into the granary,
ludicrously happy, and trying to lug out
a grain that is way too big.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sufi Masters (1)

Sufi masters are those
whose spirits existed before the world.
Before the body, they lived many lifetimes.
Before seeds went into the ground, they harvested wheat.
Before there was an ocean, they strung pearls.
While the great meeting was going on about bringing
human beings into existence, they stood up to their chins
in wisdom water. When some of the angels opposed creation,
the Sufi sheikhs laughed and clapped among themselves.

Before materiality, they knew what it was like
to be trapped inside matter. Before there was a night sky,
they saw Saturn. Before wheat grains, they tasted bread.
With no mind, they thought. Immediate intuition to them
is the simplest act of consciousness, what to others
would be epiphany. Much of our thought is of the past,
or the future. They are free of those.

Before a mine is dug, they judge coins.
before vineyards, they know the excitements to come.
In July, they feel December. In unbroken sunlight,
they find shade. In fana, the state where all objects
dissolve, they recognize objects.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Locked Out of Life

Again it happens in my sleep.
A core of wakefulness opens.
But I have ways of ignoring that.

You say, How long will you beg from others,
when there are things born of you
that emperors want?

Why waste time in meanness?
Who else can say what you say to me?

If I could repeat it, people passing by
would be enlightened and go free.

You are an ocean in my chest
where everyone changes places,
believer-unbeliever, cynic-lover,

Last night you came to my sleep
asking, How are you?

Locked out of life, waiting, weeping.