Friday, March 11, 2011

A Full Year of Rumi Readings

Was there a beginning to this journey? Is there an end?

I began to post daily readings here from the book A Year with Rumi on March 11, 2010. Odd, I know, to start in the third month of the year, but what can I say, I'm a late bloomer. I have now completed a full year of posts. Rumi said:

Do not grieve. Anything you lose
comes round in another form. 

As ever, I will continue at my main blog, the eclectic synch-ro-ni-zing, where I express my own deeply felt connections with the world, as well as at the blog that the artful and soulful Lorenzo of The Alchemist's Pillow and I co-host, A Year with Rilke, where the readings of poems and prose excerpts by Rainer Maria Rilke and commenter discussions are as spiritually resonant as anything I've found in Rumi. I heartily invite you to these blogs where you will be most welcome to read quietly or add to the discussions.

I have loved the quiet meditation of typing up Rumi's words via Coleman Barks' earthy and sublimely unpretentious translations, and I will miss the practice. But now, I can come and read them again, meeting them like new friends.

You can still read daily. You can enter a date in the search box on the sidebar to find the reading for a given day of the year.  I have formatted the archives daily, so you can click on 2010, then October, then October 11, for example. This way, you can continue to read Rumi daily if you wish. Search poem titles, words and phrases in the "Search the Archives" box on the sidebar. Unfortunately, you can't search dates, since they are not in the text of the posts, and therefore dates such as "October 11" are not searchable.

I feel obliged to plug the book these readings are from. Click on the book on the sidebar to go to the publisher's page. The book is available online and on land in local bookstores.

Thank you for riding with me here in this caravan of rubies and sunrises, in which we stop off each evening in a different caravanserai . . .

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, idolator, worshipper of fire, come even though
you have broken your vows a thousand times,
Come, and come yet again. Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi

The lines above are inscribed
on Rumi's shrine in Konya, Turkey.
Followers of Rumi call the day he passed away,
December 17, 1273,
his "Wedding Night"
because he was united with the Beloved.

This epitaph is also there,
and again are his words:

When we are dead,
seek not our tomb in the earth,
but find it in the hearts of men.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


 I saw you and became empty.
This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
existence thrives and creates more existence.

To praise is to praise
how one surrenders to the emptiness.

To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.

So the sea-journey goes on, and who knows where?
Just to be held by the ocean is the best luck
we could have. It is a total waking-up.

Why should we grieve that we have been sleeping?
It does not matter how long we've been unconscious.
We are groggy, but let the guilt go.

Feel the motions of tenderness
around you, the bouyancy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The You Pronoun

Someone asked once, What is love?

Be lost in me, I said. You will know love when that happens.

Love has no calculating in it. That is why it is said to be a quality of God and not of human beings.
God loves you is the only possible sentence. The subject becomes the object so totally that it can't be turned around. Who will the you pronoun stand for if you say, You love God?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Lame Goat

Goat sculpture from found objects, by Picasso

You have seen a herd of goats
going down to the water.

The lame and dreamy goat
brings up the rear.

There are worried faces about that one,
but now they're laughing,

because look, as they return,
that one is leading.

There are many different ways of knowing.
The lame goat's kind is a branch
that traces back to the roots of presence.

Learn from the lame goat,
and lead the herd home.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Tender Agony of Parting

A craftsman pulled a reed from the reedbed,
cut holes in it, and called it a human being.

Since then, it has been wailing
a tender agony of parting,
never mentioning the skill
that gave it life as a flute.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Milk of Millenia

I am part of the load
not rightly balanced.
I drop off in the grass
like the old cave-sleepers, to browse
wherever I fall.

For hundreds of thousands of years I have been dustgrains
floating and flying in the will of the air,
often forgetting ever being
in that state, but in sleep
I migrate back. I spring loose
from the four-branched, time-and-space cross,
this waiting room.

I walk out into a huge pasture.
I nurse the milk of millenia.

Everyone does this in different ways.
Knowing that conscious decisions
and personal memory
are much too small a place to live,
every human being streams at night
into the loving nowhere, or during the day,
in some absorbing work.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Strange Frenzy

There is a strange frenzy in my head,
of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the one I love everywhere?

Friday, March 4, 2011

This World Which is Made of Our Love for Emptiness

Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence.
Existence: this place made from our love
for that emptiness!

Yet somehow comes emptiness,
this existence goes.
Praise to that happening over and over.

For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.
Then one swoop, one swing of the arm,
that work is over.
Free of who I was, free of presence, free
of dangerous fear, hope, free
of mountainous wanting.

These words I am saying so much begin to lose meaning.
Existence, emptiness, mountain, straw.
Words and what they try to say,
swept out the window, down the slant of the roof.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Tent

Outside, the freezing desert night.
This other night inside grows warm, kindling.
Let the landscape be covered with thorny crust.
We have a soft garden in here.
The continents blasted,
cities and little towns, everything
become a scorched, blackened ball.

The news we hear is full of grief for that future,
but the real news inside here
is there's no news at all.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There is Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling.

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.

Close the language-door
and open the love-window.

The moon won't use the door,
only the window.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Have Five Things to Say

I have five things to say,
five fingers to give into your grace.

First, when I was apart from you,
this world did not exist, nor any other.
Second, whatever I was looking for was always you.
Third, why did I ever learn to count to three?
Fourth, my cornfield is burning!
Fifth, this finger stands for Rabia, and this
is for someone else. Is there a difference?

Are these words or tears?
Is weeping speech? What shall I do, my love?
So he speaks, and everyone around
begins to cry with him, laughing crazily,
moaning in the spreading union of lover and beloved.

This is the true religion. All others
are thrown-away bandages beside it.
This is the sema of slavery and mastery
dancing together. This is not-being.

I know these dancers. Day and night
I sing their songs in this phenomenal cage.