sharing my love of books with you

Tag: Rumi (Page 1 of 2)

Remembered Music, by Rumi

'Tis said the pipe and lute that charm our ears
Derive their melody from rolling spheres;
But Faith, overpassing speculations bound
Can see what sweetens every jangled sound.

We, who are parts of Adam, heard with him
The song of angels and of seraphim.
Our memory, though dull and sad, retains
Some echo still of those unearthly strains.

Oh, music is the meat of all who love,
Music uplifts the soul to realms above.
The ashes glow, the latent fires increase;
We listen and are fed with joy and peace.

("Remembered Music" translated by R.A. Nicholson, Rumi, printed 2006)

A Quatrain by Rumi

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

A Quatrain by Rumi, Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

The World of Time, by Rumi

Every instant thou art dying and returning.  "This world is but a
     moment," said the Prophet.
Our thought is an arrow shot by Him: how should it stay in the air?
     It flies back to God.
Every instant the world is being renewed, and we unaware of its
     perpetual change.
Life is ever pouring in afresh, though in the body it has the
     semblance of continuity.  
From its swiftness it appears continuous, like the spark thou whirlest
     with thy hand.
Time and duration are phenomena produced by the rapidity of Divine
As a firebrand dexterously whirled presents the appearance of a long
     line of fire.

("The World of Time", translated by R.A. Nicholson, Rumi, printed 2006)

The Necessary Foil, by Rumi

Privation and defect, wherever seen,
Are mirrors of the beauty of all that is.
The bone-setter, where should he try his skill
But on the broken limb?  The tailor where?
Not, surely, on the well-cut finished coat.
Were no base copper in the crucible,
How could the alchemist his craft display?

("The Necessary Foil" translated by R.A. Nicholson, Rumi, printed 2006)

From My Library: Rumi

The last time I went to Barnes & Noble, I decided my main goal was to find a few more books of poetry to add to my library. Mary Oliver highly recommends Rumi, and I can see why. There is a sweetness in his writings, as well as reverence for God and desire to teach his fellow men.

I decided to start my collection of Rumi’s writings with this lovely hardback from Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets collection. It is a little book, maybe four inches by six, but it is packed with poems. You can see in the picture above, the dust jacket looks like an old Persian painting, and there is a picture of Arabic writing on the front too. The cover and the binding make the book feel extra special, almost luxurious. And there is also a little yellow ribbon bookmark too.

The first poem is “The Guest House”, which I shared with you here. It’s like a welcome mat, a sample of the other poems you will find in this volume. In my opinion, that was an excellent choice for first poem. There is also an introduction that explains who Rumi was, which helped me understand some of his writings. I am so glad this is my first volume of Rumi. I will definitely be looking for more.

Solomon’s Crooked Crown, by Rumi

Solomon was busy judging others,
when it was his personal thoughts 
that were disrupting the community.

His crown slid crooked on his head.
He put it straight, but the crown went 
awry again.  Eight times this happened.

Finally he began to talk to his headpiece.
'Why do you keep tilting over my eyes?'

'I have to.  When your power loses compassion,
I have to show what such a condition looks like.'

Immediately Solomon recognized the truth.
He knelt and asked forgiveness.
The crown centered itself on his crown.

When something goes wrong, cause yourself first.
Even the wisdom of Plato or Solomon
can wobble and go blind.

Listen when your crown reminds you
of what makes you cold toward others,
as you pamper the greedy energy inside.

("Solomon's Crooked Crown" translated by Coleman Barks, Rumi, printed 2006)

The Evil in Ourselves, by Rumi

The Lion took the Hare with him: they ran 
     together to the well and looked in.
The Lion saw his own image: from the water appeared 
     the form of a lion with a plump hare beside him.
No sooner did he espy his enemy than he left the Hare 
     and sprang into the well.
He fell into the pit which he had dug: his iniquity 
     recoiled on his own head.

O Reader, how many an evil that you see in others is 
     but your own nature reflected in them!
In them appears all that you are - your hypocrisy, 
     iniquity, and insolence.
You do not see clearly the evil in yourself; else you 
     would hate yourself with all your soul.
Like the Lion who sprang at his image in the water,
     you are only hurting yourself, O foolish man.
When you reach the bottom of the well of your own nature, 
     then you will know that the wickedness is in you.

("The Evil in Ourselves" translated by R. A. Nicholson, Rumi, printed 2006)

The Grammarian and the Boatman, by Rumi

  A grammarian once embarked in a boat.  Turning to the boatman with a self-satisfied air he asked him:
  'Have you ever studied grammar?'
  'No,' replied the boatman.
  'Then half your life has gone to waste,' the 
grammarian said.
  The boatman thereupon felt very depressed, but he answered him nothing for the moment.  Presently the wind tossed the boat into a whirlpool.  The boatman shouted to the grammarian:
  'Do you know how to swim?'
  'No,' the grammarian replied, 'my well-spoken, handsome fellow.'
  'In that case, grammarian,' the boatman remarked, 'the whole of your life has gone to waste, for the boat is sinking in these whirlpools.'

  You may be the greatest scholar in the world in you time, but consider, my friend, how the world passes away - and time!

("The Grammarian and the Boatman" translated by A. J. Arberry, Rumi, printed 2006)

Reality and Appearance, by Rumi

'Tis light makes colour visible: at night
Red, green, and russet vanish from thy sight.  
So to thee light by darkness is made known:
All hid things by their contraries are shown.
Since God hath none, He, seeing all, denies
Himself eternally to mortal eyes.

From the dark jungle as a tiger bright, 
Form from the viewless Spirit leaps to light.
When waves of thought from Wisdom's Sea profound
Arise, they clad themselves in speed and sound.
The lovely forms a fleeting sparkle gave,
Then fell and mingled with the falling wave.
So perish all things fair, to re-adorn
The Beauteous One whence all fair things were born.

("Reality and Appearance" translated by R. A. Nicholson, Rumi, printed 2006)

It took me a few times to grasp this lovely poem. If you don’t think you understand it, I encourage you to read it again. Then again. And again, until you think you see what Rumi is saying. Here what I see:

As light displays colors, so night covers them. In the darkness, all things are hidden, and must be known by things other than what is seen in the light, called “contraries”. But God has no “contraries”, no darknesses, so He remains invisible to human eyes eternally. He must be known by other means, described in the second part of the poem. I love the line about Wisdom’s Sea and the waves of that sea becoming speech and sound. Then in the end, all things fair come from God, The Beauteous One.

October has been a Blur

My dear readers, thank you for your patience with my lack of updates and posts this October. My family had an unexpected emergency, and though I was still able to read in quiet moments, I had very little time to write on this blog. I am hoping November offers me a little more time for my books and for telling you about them.

What is coming up?

  • I finished Five Children and It, so I will be posting a summary of that book soon. It was a short book, an easy read, and I think you will enjoy learning the lesson the five children did.
  • I started reading a poetry book by Rumi, a twelfth century Islamic monk. Mary Oliver highly recommends the writings of Rumi, and I was glad to find a lovely copy at Barnes and Noble this month. Even though I have posted a few of his poems, I still want to do a From My Library post because the book itself is as lovely as its contents.
  • I still have a few Sherlock Homes words and quotes to share with you, even though I finished Holmes a month ago.
  • I am still reading through Herlock Sholmes, though I have slowed down this month since I finished Sherlock Holmes. Expect more quotes and adventures with Sholmes and Jotson.
  • I finished reading Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook, but then I decided as an amateur poet, I needed to immediately reread the book and begin practicing some of her lessons. I plan to give you all a few of her poetry writing tips. Most importantly, Oliver states that a writer of poetry must be an avid reader of poetry.

Wow, that feels like a lot to accomplish in the next few weeks. It does feel good to list it all out for you and for me so that I have a goal to write toward. I promise, I will do my best to make it a fun and exciting ride. Because reading is amazing!

« Older posts