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).]