Saturday, September 01, 2007

wean yourself

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.
From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, "The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding."

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.
Listen to the answer.

There is no "other world."
I only know what I've experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

- "Wean Yourself" by Rumi, from The Essential Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks, p. 70-71

Jelaluddin Balkhi, better known as Rumi, was born on September 30, 1207. I was born on September 30, 1977. So we both have important birthdays coming up. Over the next month, I'm planning to post and write about a lot of Rumi's poetry - you won't have to read any of my poetry.

I started reading Rumi several months ago, after hearing this radio program about him, and so far I've only read a small fraction of his work. So if anyone else has read Rumi and wants to suggest a poem, I would be very happy to read it. I'm hoping to get lots of people excited about reading Rumi, and maybe to arrange a little Rumi party to read his poems aloud. And maybe blow out some candles too.

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