Rumi: Rubaiyat at Random

You walk among the spirits of flying dervishes and the whispers of their mystical joy on the anniversary of Rumi’s death. How many lives have been loved, how many loves have been lived, how many flying hearts have turned and danced in his land since 17 December 1273? How many dances have been danced, how many poems have been cherished, by the lovers that he has inspired since?

Perhaps you ponder these questions as you walk near the ground where he walked centuries ago, in search of his Beloved, in the far away land that you tread today.

Quiet and still in Brooklyn, I open a translation of his Rubaiyat and choose, at random, quatrains to read. They speak to me, as if in your voice. I hear the timbre of your being in every verse.

511

With the Beloved's life-giving waters,
there is no disease.
In the Beloved's garden of Union,
there are no thorns. 
They say between our hearts
there's a shutter we can open,
but what is there to open if no walls 
    remain?

556

O daylight break, so particles may 
    resound,
so the atmosphere and the heavens 
    will turn,
and so souls, headless and legless, 
    will dance. 
Let me whisper into your ear where 
    this all goes on.

569  

The way the Beloved can fit in my
       heart,  
two-thousand lives could fit in this body 
      of mine.   
One kernel could contain a thousand
       bushels,  
and a hundred worlds pass  
through the eye of a needle. 

[Translations by Kabir Helminski from The Pocket Rumi (Boulder: Shambala, 2008).]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s