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Open Secret: Versions of Rumi by John Moyne

Open Secret: Versions of Rumi

by John Moyne

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I’ve always loved Rumi; his poems speak to me of love for his companion Shams and his oneness with the universe. They were written in what is now Afghanistan in the 13th century, but they transcend time and place and resonate with me, an American living today, all these years later.

Sometimes the line blurs between Rumi’s love for an individual and his love of humanity, all things, or “God”. I embrace this, it does not need to be either-or and is in fact more meaningful to me with the ambiguity. Besides, haven’t we all felt a little closer to the world and the rest of humanity in the euphoria of love?

Like Whitman’s writing in “Leaves of Grass” it’s clear to me Rumi was inspired and enlightened; this is a great collection. There are many longer poems that I love but which I will not extract (“Who Says Words With My Mouth”, “The Drunk and the Madman”); instead I offer quotes.

On love:
“I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.

Now my love is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let’s buy it.”

“Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?”

“You don’t have “bad” days and “good” days.
You don’t sometimes feel brilliant and sometimes dumb.
There’s no studying, no scholarly thinking having to do with love,
but there is a great deal of plotting, and secret touching,
and nights you can’t remember at all.”

“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.”

“During the day I was singing with you.
At night we slept in the same bed.
I wasn’t conscious day or night.
I thought I knew who I was,
but I was you.”

“Since we’ve seen each other, a game goes on.
Secretly I move, and you respond.
You’re winning, you think it’s funny.

But look up from the board now, look how
I’ve brought in furniture to this invisible place,
so we can live here.”

“The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.”

Lastly this one, which has a cozy feel to it:
“The news we hear is full of grief for that future,
but the real news inside here
is there’s no news at all.”

On brotherhood, enlightenment, and oneness:
“Inside the Great Mystery that is,
we don’t really own anything.
What is this competition we feel then,
before we go, one at a time, through the same gate?”

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.”

“The mystery does not get clearer by repeating the question,
nor is it bought with going to amazing places.

Until you’ve kept your eyes
and your wanting still for fifty years,
you don’t begin to cross over from confusion.”

“In pain, I breathe easier.
The scared child is running from the house, screaming.
I hear the gentleness.

Under nine layers of illusion, whatever the light,
on the face of any object, in the ground itself,
I see your face.”

“When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.”

On friendship:
“Stay in the company of lovers.
Those other kinds of people, they each
want to show you something.

A crow will lead you to an empty barn,
a parrot to sugar.”

“Spend less time with nightingales and peacocks.
One is just a voice, the other just a color.”

On going with the flow:
“Do you think I know what I’m doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it’s writing,
or the ball can guess where it’s going next.”

Lastly, on self-knowledge:
“For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.” ( )
1 vote gbill | Jul 28, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0939660067, Paperback)

Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) is considered by most to be the greatest of the Sufi mystical poets and one of the most highly regarded saints from any tradition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:50 -0400)

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