Excerpt from "Poems of Rumi" read by Coleman Barks and Robert BlyPosted November 04 2012
We are delighted to offer this excerpt from "The Poems of Rumi" as read by Coleman Barks, leading scholar and translator of Rumi poetry, and Robert Bly, poet, author, and leader of the men's movement. Jalaluddin Rumi is a beloved as a spiritual master and one of the greatest poets of all time.
The dictionaries have no entry for the sort of love we have. If you can define a road, it’s not the lover’s road. The high branches of love shoot up into the air that exists before eternity and the roots grow down into the earth after eternity. This tree doesn’t stand around isolated on the earth. We have pulled the sober watcher from his throne. We’ve moved the said rules for animal and instinctual life. The kind of love that we know of is too great for this sober watcher, and for this simple instinctual life. Now, if you believe that your need can be met and you’re wanting, satisfied from the outside, you are really a tiger or a cougar. You pray any longer to wooden idols, then why do you keep praying to your desire? If you become the one you long for, what will you do with your longing? The captain stalks on the deck of his ship. The planks are his spears of the bad things that may happen, and the wood is his longing for marvelous things to happen. When the captain and the board both sink, nothing remains but the drowning. The teacher I love is the ocean and also the pearl deep in the ocean. His personality is the one secret the holy one never gave away.
Once a sheikh and a disciple were walking quickly toward a town where it’s known there is very little to eat. The disciple says nothing but he is constantly afraid of going hungry. The teacher knows what the student thinks. How long will you be frightened of the future because you love food? You have closed the eye of self-denial and forgotten who provides. Don’t worry, you’ll have your walnuts and raisins and special deserts. Only the true favorites get hunger for their daily bread. You’re not one of those. Whoever loves the belly is brought bowl after bowl from the kitchen. When such a person dies, the bread itself comes to the funeral and makes a speech. “O corpse, you almost killed yourself with worrying about food. Now you’re gone and food is still here, more than enough. Have some free bread. Bread is more in love with you than you with it. It sits and waits for days. It knows you have no will. If you could fast, bread would jump into your lap as lovers do with each other. Be full with trusting, not with these childish fears of famine.”