I’ve taken to reading some pages of mystics’ poetry just before drifting off to sleep. What a wonderful way to end my days! I come across many, many, many that I want to share. But, this one by Rumi last night was just perfection. (Translation by Coleman Banks).
Love has taken away my practices
and filled me with poetry.
I tried to keep quietly repeating
No strength but yours, but I couldn’t.
I had to clap and sing.
I used to be respectable, chaste and stable,
but who can stand in this strong wind
and remember those things?
A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That is how I hold your voice.
I am scrap wood thrown in your fire,
quickly reduced to smoke and ash.
I saw you and became that empty.
This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
existence thrives and creates more existence.
The sky is blue.
The world is a blind man sitting beside the road.
But whoever sees your emptiness
sees beyond the blue and the blind man.
A great soul hides, like Muhammad or Jesus,
moving through a crowd in a city where no one knows him.
To praise is to praise
how one surrenders to the emptiness.
To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.
So the journey goes on,
and no one knows where.
Just to be held by the ocean
is the best luck we could have.
It is a total waking up.
Why should we grieve that we have been sleeping?
It does not matter how long we have been unconscious.
We are groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness around you.