Happy 800th Birthday Rumi!

Rumi was born September 30, 1207. In honor of Rumi's 800th birthday, I will present a new poem daily for a month.

Zen is the mystical path of Buddhism. As such it has a close affinity with
the mystical paths of all other religions, and thus it is no surprise
to find the poetry of Rumi, a Sufi poet, here on these Zen pages.
All mystical traditions address the heart of the universe and all we need know,
devoid of the surface trappings of the outward rituals of specific religions.
Rumi says it all so perfectly, so beautifully!

All of the following poems are from the following three sources,
listed in order of addition to this site:

A (pink): Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstacy and Longing translated by Coleman Barks
(c. 2003) HarperCollins)

B (lilac): Rumi: Hidden Music translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin
(c. Element: 2001)

C (blue): Rumi: We Are Three, translated by Coleman Barks.

Added 10/31/07

That Quick

A lover looks at creekwater and wants to be
that quick to fall, to kneel, then all
the way down in full prostration.

A lover wants to die of his love
like a man with dropsy
who knows that water will kill him,
but he can't deny his thirst.

A lover loves death. Spill your jug
in the river! Your shame and fear
are like layers covering coldness.

Throw them off, and rush naked
into the joy of death.


Added 10/30/07

Reason has no way to say
its love. Only love opens
that secret.
If you want
to be more alive, love
is the truest health.


Added 10/29/07

In the slaughterhouse of love they kill only
the best, none of the weak or deformed.
Don't run away from this dying.
Whoever's not killed for love is dead meat.


Added 10/28/07

I Trust You

The soul is a newly skinned hide, bloody
and gross. Work on it with manual discipline,
and the bitter tanning acid of grief.

You'll become lovely and very strong.
If you can't do this work yourself, don't worry.
You don't have to make a decision one way or another.

The Friend, who knows a lot more than you do,
will bring difficulties and grief and sickness,
as medicine, as happiness, as the moment

when you're beaten, when you hear Checkmate,
and can finally say with Hallaj's voice,
I trust you to kill me.


Added 10/27/07

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression,a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture, still,
treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Added 10/26/07

Always check your inner state
with the lord of your heart.

Copper doesn't know it's copper,
until it's changing to gold.
Your loving doesn't know its majesty,
until it knows its helplessness.


Added 10/25/07

In complete control, pretending control,
with dignified authority, we are charlatans.
Or maybe just a goat's-hair brush in a painter's hand.
We have no idea what we are.


Added 10/24/07

With every word, you break my heart.
You see my story
written in blood on my face,
why do you ignore it,
do you have a heart of stone?


Added 10/23/07

I am hopelessly in love with you, no point
giving me advice.
I have drunk love's poison, no point
taking any remedy.
They want to chain my feet but
what's the point
when it is my heart that's gone mad!


Added 10/22/07

One day I feel confused and down,
the next I can reach the sky
without you I am never calm.
In your absence people ridicule me,
but when you come
I don't mind what they think or say.
I refuse to feast or be merry without my Beloved.
However he appears, I will follow.
If he comes as a cupbearer, I'll become one too
if he comes as an ascetic, I'll become a pious pilgrim.
If he pretends to be a madman, I'll become a perfect fool
if he tries to escape, I will become a mighty hunter.
Yet when I complain about my sleepless nights
he mocks me and says I do not pray enough,
when I ask him for a favor he sends me off.
What am I to do but surrender
to the will of my Beloved.


Added 10/21/07

My heart, sit only with those
who know and understand you.
Sit only under a tree
that is full of blossoms.
In the bazaar of herbs and potions
don't wander aimlessly
find the shop with a potion that is sweet.
If you don't have a measure
people will rob you in no time.
You will take counterfeit coins
thinking they are real.
Don't fill your bowl with food from
every boiling pot you see.
Not every joke is humorous, so don't search
for meaning where there isn't one.
Not every eye can see,
not every sea is full of pearls.
My heart, sing the song of longing
like a nightingale.
The sound of your voice casts a spell
on every stone, on every thorn.
First, lay down your head
then one by one
let go of all distractions.
Embrace the light and let it guide you
beyond the winds of desire.
There you will find a spring and
nourished by its sweet waters
like a tree you will bear fruit forever.


Added 10/20/07

My body pulled my soul from the higher planes
and I lost the company of saints and prophets.
Now wrapped in in my prison I've met a Moon
that fills my heart with dreams and visions.
Most people want to escape from prison
but why should I run away when my love is inside,
where else could I be alone with this love?
I look at myself and see such painful longing
I look at love and see how pleased she is watching me.
Once you are in that house of Beauty
abundant grace awaits you.

I overheard the stars whispering
that if ever one of them
caught a glimpse of that Beauty,
to tell the others at once.
But the lovers guard their secrets jealosly
for they know that when that Moon rises
everything will set.


Added 10/19/07

My heart is like a lute
each chord crying with longing and pain.
My Beloved is watching me
wrapped in silence.


Added 10/18/07

It seems a lifetime since
I have seen your enchanted garden.
You hide from the crowds invisible like devotion.
Oh, it has been so long since
I have seen your face.


Added 10/17/07

Deafened by the voice of desire
you are unaware the Beloved lives
in the core of your heart.
Stop the noise and
you will hear His voice
in the silence.


Added 10/16/07

I was going to tell you my story
but waves of pain drowned my voice.
I tried to utter a word but my thoughts
became fragile and shattered like glass.
Even the largest ship can capsize
in the stormy sea of love,
let alone my feeble boat
which shattered to pieces leaving me nothing
but a strip of wood to hold on to.
Small and helpless, rising to heaven
on one wave of love and falling with the next
I don't even know if I am or I am not.
When I think I am, I find myself worthless,
when I think I am not, I find my value.
Like my thoughts, I die and rise again each day
so how can I doubt the resurrection?
Tired of hunting for love int his world,
at last I surrender in the valley of love
and become free.


Added 10/15/07

Never linger too long with the ignorant,
throw stones at their talk.
Walk only with the lovers,
the mirror of the soul gets rusty when
dipped in muddy water.


Added 10/14/07

Here someone is hidden
who has taken hold of me and does not let me go.

Here someone is hidden
softer than the soul who led me to the garden of spirit
and made me homeless.

Here someone is hidden
a radiant face as delicate and fleeting
as the ephemeral moment before sleep.

Here someone is hidden
like sweetness in sugar cane,
an invisible magician who has captured my soul.

Hidden somewhere inside, my beloved and I
have dissolved in each other.

No beauty in the world can ever tempt me
for I see only the face of my Beloved.
Tired and in pain I searched the world for help
until I found in love the cure for my pain.

Here someone hidden whispered:
"Pass beyond your tears and
you will see the broken hearted lovers
are the lords in heaven."

Here someone hidden appeared
holding love's wine
and to him I've given all my vows.


Added 10/13/07

Die, die inside this love
and rise in Spirit.
Die, die and cut the ego's rope
that holds you a prisoner.
Take an axe to the wall and
dig a way out of the prison.
Die, die before the beautiful King
you will become mighty.
Die, die and rise out of this cloud
you will shine like the glorious moon.
Be silent, be silent,
for silence is the sure sign of death.
From your silence
Life will trumpet louder than sound.


Added 10/12/07

Looking into the Creek

The way the soul is with the senses and the intellect
is like a creek.

When desire weeds grow thick,
intelligence can't flow,

and soul creatures stay hidden.
But sometimes the reasonable clarity

runs so strong
it sweeps the clogged stream open.

No longer weeping
and frustrated, your being grows as powerful
as your wantings were before,

more so. Laughing
and satisfied, the masterful flow lets
creatures of the soul appear.

You look down,
and it's lucid dreaming.

The gates made of light
swing open.

You see in.


Added 10/11/07


Everyone can see how they have polished the mirror
of the self, which is done with the longings
we're given.

Not everyone wants to be king!
There are different roles and many choices
within each.

Troubles come. One person packs up
and leaves. Another stays and deepens in a love
for being human.

In battle, one runs fearing
for his life. Another, just as scared, turns
and fights more fiercely.


Added 10/10/07

Real value comes with madness,
Longing itself brings the cure.
matzoob below, scientist above.

Whoever finds love
beneath hurt and grief

disappears into emptiness
with a thousand new disguises.

*****Matzoobs= "crazy wisdom people*****

Added 10/9/07


Longing is the core of mystery.
Longing itself brings the cure.
The only rule is, Suffer the pain.

Your desire must be disciplined,
and what you want to happen
in time, sacrificed.


Added 10/8/07

The Sunrise Ruby

In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
to take a drink of water.

She asks, "Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth."

He says, "There's nothing left of me.
I'm like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no
resistance to sunlight."

The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.

Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don't think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who's there.


Added 10/7/07

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.


Added 10/6/07

I'm Not Saying This Right

You bind me, and I tear away in a rage
to open out into air, a round
brightness, a candlepoint,
all reason, all love.

This confusing joy, your doing,
this hangover, your tender thorn.

You turn to look, I turn.
I'm not saying this right.

I am a jailed crazy who ties up spirit-women.
I am Solomon.

What goes comes back. Come back.
We never left each other.

A disbeliever hides disbelief,
but I will say his secret.

More and more awake, getting up at night,
spinning and falling in love with Shams.


Added 10/5/07


The way of love is not
a subtle argument.

The door there
is devastation.

Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.

How do they learn that?
They fall, and falling,
they're given wings.


Added 10/4/07

The Friend has rejected me
He has broken my heart and shut the door.
Now my desolate heart and I
will sit patiently on his doorstep
for He loves those with a broken heart.


Added 10/3/07

I am in love not only
with his smile and radiant face
but also with his wrath and contempt.
He has asked for my head
I do not care if I lose it
what makes me ecstatic is
Him asking.


Added 10/2/07

Beloved, you are my salvation
my only companion, my retreat and guide,
but you are also the one who breaks my heart.
You are my Noah, my soul
the conquered and the conquerer.
Open my heart and sweep it clean
from all my secrets.
You are Grace enveloped in light,
kindness and wrath,
a drop in the vast ocean
how long will you torment me?
My Sun, my flicker of hope,
do not let me die of thirst
for you are the water and the cup
you are my pain and my cure.
Release me from the web of the body
and keep my heart by your side.


Added 10/1/07

One day your heart
will take you to your lover.
One day your soul
will carry you to the Beloved.
Don't get lost in your pain,
know that one day
your pain will become your cure.


Added 9/30/07

I have come to drag you out of your self
and take you into my heart.
I have come to bring out the beauty
you never knew you had
and lift you like a prayer to the sky.
If no one recognizes you, I do
because you are my life and soul.
Don't run away, accept your wounds and
let bravery be your shield.
It takes a thousand stages
for the perfect bein gto evolve.
Every step of the way I will walk with you
and never leave you stranded.
Be patient, do not open the lid too soon
simmer away until you are ready.
In this game I make the rules.
I roll you like a ball and chase you
when I choose.


Added 7/16/06

The guest of honor is no more
my cup is empty
no more intimacy of soul to soul.
His peircing look, his elegance and splendor,
his kindness and exquisite words
captured my heart.
Where is your love, he asked me,
what holds you back, where is your glory?
Why are you still absorbed by earthly concerns
when the hour of truth has arrived?

I drown in the sea of his generosity
clothes are a burden when swimming,
how heavy are my robe and turban!
It is the essence of the rose
that pulls me to the rose garden.
Only Love gives value to wealth and power.

My wise Master, you are a Lion,
you are my King, I am your humble servant
you can destroy me, you can create me anew.
My heart do not complain,
don't speak of this and that, go beyond
the impressions, look only
for the essence.


Added 7/16/06

From all that was familiar,
I broke away
Now I am lost, without a place,
With no music like a fool I dance
and clap my hands.
How am I to live without You?
You are everywhere but
I cannot see You


Added 12/24/05

Your earthly lover
can be very charming and coquettish
but never very faithful.
The true lover is the one who on your final day
opens a thousand doors

Added 12/24/05

My dear heart
never think you are better than others.
Listen to their sorrows with compassion.
If you want peace, don't harbor bad thoughts
do not gossip and
don't teach what you do not know.

Added 11/22/05

You've so distracted me,
your absence fans my love.
Don't ask how.

Then you come near.
"Do not..." I say, and
"Do not..." you answer.

Don't ask why
this delights me.

Added 11/22/05

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest
where no one sees you,

But sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.

Added 10/17/05

Come my Master, come don't turn away from me,
come my deceitful Moon!
Look at this forlorn and thirsty lover
come my drunken King!
You are my life, my senses, you are everything!
Be the rising Moon in my dark nights
I am thirsty for your light.
Use my hands, look through my eyes,
listen with my ears.
You are the soul of every living thing.
Come, come back dancing like the rays of the Sun
and chase away the shadows.
You are the banner of the New World
and the mind is at your feet.
Come back my love
My broken heart cannot bear more passion,
no more promises.
I've had enough of sleepless nights,
of my unspoken grief, of my tired wisdom.
Come my treasure, my breath of life
come and dress my wounds and be my cure.
Enough of words.
Come to me without a sound.

Added 10/17/05

When I see your face
I shut my eyes to others.
I am drunk with your presence.
To earn Soloman's seal
I have become supple as wax.
When I see your face
I surrender my will and
and become a sigh on your lips.
You were in my hand but I kept reaching out
like a blind man.
I was in your hand but kept asking questions
from those who are ignorant.
I must have been very drunk or naive
to steal my own gold,
I must've been mad to sneak in
and rob my own jasmine garden.
I've been twisted long enough by your might,
Shams of Tabriz!
But even in my sorrow I am joyous
like the crescent moon
at the beginning of the festival.

Added 10/7/05

I can be without anyone
but not without you.
You twist my heart, dwell in my mind
and fill my eyes, you are my joy
I can't be without you.
Sometimes you are kind, sometimes unfaithful,
you break my heart but
my love, my essence, do not go away
I can't be without you.
You are the head and I am the feet
You are the hand, I am our banner
if you leave, I will perish
I can't be without you.
You have erased my image, taken my sleep
you've torn me away from everybody but
I can't be without you.
I find no joy in life or relief in death.
Why don't you say it too
I can't be without you.

Added 7/22/05

Behind the blood-stained curtains of Love
there are fields of flowers
where the lovers wander.
While the mind sees only boundaries
Love knows the secret way there.
While the mind smells profit and quickly sets up shop
Love sees untold of treasures far beyond.
Lovers trust in the wealth of their hearts
while the all-knowing mind sees only thorns ahead.

To wander in the fields of flowers
pull the thorns from your heart.


Added 7/22/05

I will give up anything to win your love
but if you say no,
I will accept and walk away filled with
the sweetness of your denial.
I have come secretly to seize your flame for my soul
I have come to steal from the King's treasure
but if I do not succeed,
I will accept and walk away knowing
where the gold is hidden.
Play your tricks, pinch my hat if you like
but I will walk away with your golden belt!

Tempted for so long to have a vision of you
I myself have turned into a vision.
You have seized the fortress of my heart,
your love arrows can split even a mountain,
How can my poor heart ever escape them?
I don't even dare to mention your name
and call you "My Moon"
jealous that others may discover you.
This poem is for the time when you held
the cup before me saying,
"Drink, drink now because if you don't,
I will pass the wine to someone else."


Added 7/16/05

Bring back to me my fleeting lover
make up excuses, sing him beautiful songs,
convince this exquisite Moon
to come back home.

Do not be deceived by his charming promises
he can easily bewitch water
and tie air into a knot.
But when you see his sun-like face
watch how God's wonders appear!

My heart, go gently and when you find
my priceless treasure
offer him my absolute devotion.


Added 7/7/05

Don't take the cup away from me
before I've had enough to drink.
Your promises are charming
but I am not a fool.
Be more giving or I will have to rob you,
you raise your price to discourage me
but I am not naive and won't give up so easily.
Come out of hiding, open the door and let me in
I am at your mercy, the slave of your smile.
I put on airs to impress you,
even your scolding inflames my passion.
You are the music within music that stole my heart.
If I see beauty it's because I look through your eyes
but when I come back to myself
I find no one there.
Still you are not content, what more do you want?
My king, I am your falcon and when I hear your drum
I will spread my wings.
If you offer me your love I'll be drunk with joy,
but if you do not, I will accept,
lower my head and surrender.


On Anger. Added 6/20/05
When you see the face of anger
look behind it
and you will see the face of pride.
Bring anger and pride
under your feet, turn them into a ladder
and climb higher.
There is no peace until you become
their master.
Let go of anger, it may taste sweet
but it kills.
Don't become its victim.
You need humility to climb to freedom.

When Love comes suddenly and taps
on your window, run and let it in but first,
shut the door of your reason.
Even the smallest hint chases love away
like smoke that drowns the freshness
of the morning breeze.
To reason Love can only say,
the way is barred, you can't pass through
but to the lover it offers a hundred blessings.
Before the mind decides to take a step
Love has reached the seventh heaven.
Before the mind can figure how
Love has climbed the Holy Mountain.
I must stop this talk now and let
Love speak from its nest of silence.


Last night, full of longing, asking
the wine-woman for more, and then more.

She teased me so lovingly I fell
into her and disappeared. Then
she was there alone.



Yesterday was glory and joy.
Today, a blackened burn everywhere.
On the record of my life, these two days
will be put down as one.



I come to you, aching for you.
You say, "You're drunk. Go away."

I say, "No. I'm not drunk.
Please open the door." you say,
You are, you are...
Go away."



I went to the Doctor. "I feel lost,
Blind with love. What should I do?"
Give up owning things and being
somebody. Quit existing.



How could anyone resist sunlight?
Keep walking in this spaciousness
where the sun's flame is a white hawk.

But there is something flying higher.
Notice how you say not more.
Not this, not that. I do not know.

Negation points to affirmation.
Say rather what completely is.

***********(Mathnawi, VI, 634-641)**********