The Mystical Poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi

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view of alps mountain


Why boast of your strength?
The same wind that can topple a tree
caresses the grass.

Allowing For Love

Let lovers be crazy, disgraceful, and wild
Those who fret about such things
aren’t in love.

“What I had thought of before as God,” Rumi said, “I met today in a human being.”


The one my soul is searching for
is not here. Where has he gone?
The one lit like a candle,
like a seat with roses growing around it.
Our eyes look for that one first,
but I do not see him today.
Say his name. If anyone here
has kissed his hand, give us your blessing.
I do not know whether to be more grateful
for the existence of his face
or for what is inside that.
There is no one like him in the world.
But if there is no form for that now,
how is it everything turns
with the motion of his love?
Say all the possible nicknames
for Shams Tabriz.
Do not hide anything from one
who wants only to be in his presence.

A Mixed-Breed Apple

A little mixed-breed apple,
half red, half yellow,
tells this story.

The lover and beloved get separated.
Their being apart was one thing,
but they have opposite responses.

The lover feels pain and grows pale.
The beloved flushes and feels proud.

I am a thorn next to my master’s rose.
We seem to be two, but we are not.

Secret Places

Lovers find secret places
inside this violent world
where they make transactions
with beauty.

Reason says, Nonsense.
I have walked and measured the walls here.
There are no places like that.

Love says, There are.

Reasons sets up a market
and begins doing business.
Love has more hidden work.

Hallaj steps away from the pulpit
and climbs the stairs of the gallows.

Lovers feel a truth inside themselves
that rational people keep denying.

It is reasonable to say, Surrender
is just an idea that keeps people
from leading their lives.

Love responds, No. This thinking
is what is dangerous.

Using language obscures
what Shams came to give.

Every day the sun rises
out of the low word-clouds
into burning silence.

Come back my soul, how much longer
will you linger in the garden of deceit?
I have sent you a hundred messages
I have shown you a hundred ways
either you never read them
or you ignore my advice.
Come back my soul, do not waste
time with the cold-hearted
they do not know your worth.
Why do you seek water
when you are the stream?
Have you forgotten? You are
the king’s falcon, you are a ray
of the Beloved, a divine wonder!

“Tell me,” my lover asked me tenderly,
“how could you live without me?”
I said, “without you I am lost
like a fish out of water.”
He smiled, “This is only your own fault.”

Only ignorance keeps a bird encaged.
The Masters have fled from their cage
and have become guides, showing that
the only way out of ignorance is faith.

Questioning cannot unravel the secret of truth
nor giving away your wealth and position.
Mere words do not exalt the heart
pain is the price that the heart has to pay.

You may be proud and conceited but
you cannot impress the sun by flirting.
Stop walking in your own shadow
wallowing in your foolish thoughts.
Raise your head, look at the sun, walk
among the flowers, become a human being.
Do not dwell in darkness like a night bird
prey for the monsters of your imagination.
Get up and seek the light, look toward the sun.

This body is a guesthouse
each morning someone new arrives.
Welcome them all for they may be
messengers from the invisible.
Do not feel burdened by them
or they may go back to non-existence.
Each time a thought enters your heart
treat it as an honored guest, your worth
is shown by the thoughts you entertain.
Embrace sorrowful thoughts for they
sweep the house of your heart clean,
scatter the withered leaves, and pull out
the twisted roots, preparing the ground
for the new shoots of joy.
What sorrow takes away from the heart
it replaces with something better.
Without the fury of thunder and lightening
the plants will be scorched by the sun.
Be grateful for all you receive,
good and bad alike, for it may be a gift
from the treasury of Spirit that will bring
the fulfillment of your most secret desires.

I wish that grief and sorrow would
shatter your heart, disloyal lover,
and deprive you of everything
you value in the world.
As no one remembers me but sorrow
I bless it a thousand times a day.

Let the dust under your feet
settle on my eyelashes.
When you torment me, I rejoice
for it is a sign of your loyalty.

“Give up the known, give up your life
for the mystery of Love’s eternal wine.”
“But before I die,” I said, “I would like to know you.”
“Once you know me there will be no more dying.”

Proud scholar
step down and become a fool!
Become humble like dust
walk with everyone
good and bad, young and old
so one day
you may become a king.

You carry a basket full of bread, yet
you beg for crumbs from door to door.
You are up to your knees in water, yet
you beg for a drink from everyone you see.
Why are you so blind and stubborn?
Beg at the door of your heart instead.

Heart, be considerate
soul, be tolerant
patience, run if you cannot bear grief
reason, go and play your childish games.

The night is blind to the glory of dawn
man is blind to the glory of the lovers.
He who complains of burning is not a lover
for the lover’s heart is constantly on fire.

False words disturb the beast
only truth brings peace.
False words are like straw stuck in the mouth
that the heart tries desperately to spit out.

Separation bends the back of hope
cruelty ties the hands of longing
yet the lover never despairs.
For a committed heart
everything is possible.

My heart twisted with passion
in the fire of your words.
Now I see what I saw as fire was only ice
what I saw as water, only a mirage
and our story, an old forgotten dream.

You have become as hard as rock.
What can a rock do to a heart of glass but
shatter it to pieces?
You laugh as dawn laughs at the stars
surrendering their lives.
You burst open the door of my heart and
all thoughts escaped, my patience, defeated,
following in haste.
With reason and patience gone nothing is left
except mad passion, feverish and weeping,
singing ecstatic songs.
Love is the call and poetry the voice
but I will speak no more for on the subject of love
words shatter.

When a true lover appears
calamities blaze up.
I like a heart that can stir the seven seas
fearlessly withstanding the waves.
I like a lover with a fiery heart
burning even hell to ashes.
I like a heart that can wrap the universe
around its hand, catching the eternal light
hanging it like an icicle.
I like a lover with a heart as large as the world
who fights like a lion, not only with others
but with himself, a lover who shatters
the veils of all hearts with the blazing light of Truth.

Following you, I threw
my heart to the winds.
One day your scent filled the air
my heart swelled in gratitude
and scattered in the wind.

To be a dervish and to be in love
is to be the king of the world.
The sorrow of love is a hidden treasure.
I ruined the house of my heart
with my own hands because I knew
the treasure lies hidden in me being ruined.

Put your thoughts to sleep
let them now cast a shadow
over the moon of your heart.
Drown them in the sea of love.

A spark from a burning heart
the sigh of a broken heart
always reach the Beloved.

When you bury your secret deep in your heart
your wish will come through more quickly.
The secret of seeds buried in the ground
manifest in the flourishing garden.
If gold and silver were not hidden
how could they age in the mine?

In love, ask for madness
give up reasoning, give up life
look for dangerous adventures
in deserts filled with blood and fire.

One page of our book will bewilder you forever.
One real moment at the feet of the heart
will turn you from teachers to disciples.

Love rushed into my veins
emptying me of myself.
Now filled with the Beloved
my only possession is my name.

In the mirror of my soul, my love,
I see now only your luminous face
my soul and yours are one.
My mind was the master of my house once
now it is only your servant.
My spirit was love-struck from the start
though a bit concerned by your earthly form.
And now that they mud has settled and
my clarity has returned
this you and I is no more.

There is another language beyond language
another place beyond heaven and hell.
Precious gems come from another mine
the heart draws light from another source.

I became the sea
and each atom flamed out of me in glory
and I became fire
and each moment I became an eternity…

Works Cited

Rūmī, Jalāl Al-Dīn, and Coleman Barks. Rumi: Bridge to the Soul. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007. Print.

Råumåi, Jalåal Al-Dåin, Maryam Mafi, and Azima Melita. Kolin. Rumi’s Little Book of Life: The Garden of the Soul, the Heart, and the Spirit. United States: Hampton Roads, 2016. Print.