Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

Spring Giddiness -- Jalaluddin Rumi

(Poem #472) Spring Giddiness
 Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
 and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
 and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
 Let the beauty we love be what we do.
 There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

 The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
 Don't go back to sleep.
 You must ask for what you really want.
 Don't go back to sleep.
 People are going back and forth across the doorsill
 where the two worlds touch.
 The door is round and open.
 Don't go back to sleep.

 I would love to kiss you.
 The price of kissing is your life.
 Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
 What a bargain, let's buy it.

 Daylight, full of small dancing particles
 and the one great turning, our souls
 are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
 Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?

 All day and night, music,
 a quiet, bright
 reedsong. If it
 fades, we fade.
-- Jalaluddin Rumi
(Excerpted from The Essential Rumi, translations by Coleman Barks with John
Moyne, 1995. )

I just got hold of 'A Meeting by the River', the collaboration between Ry Cooder
and Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. Yes, it won a Grammy, but don't let that mislead you
- the album is actually very very good. Cooder is, of course, a brilliantly
eclectic guitarist; in this recording he infuses Bhatt's liquid tones with a
wonderful Southern style (Cajun and Latin and bluesy all at the same time). My
favourite track is 'Ganges Delta Blues' - the title says it all.

Anyway. The point of this digression is to mention that one of the inspirations
for this particular collaboration was a common love for the poetry of Rumi; the
first verse above features on the album cover, and every piece seems imbued with
an air of Persian mysticism...


[Minstrels Links]

Other wonderful Persian/Urdu poets to have featured on the Minstrels are Hafiz
and Faiz; check out
'My Sweet Crushed Angel': poem #447
and 'A Prison Evening': poem #118

The latter, submitted by Vikram Doctor, has a very nice
essay on the language and emotion of Urdu poetry; herewith, an extract:

"Urdu poetry fascinates me. It is so packed with emotion. Urdu poets always seem
to feel things with such intensity - love, longing, melancholy. Its all
supercharged to the extent that just a bit more and it would be over the top.
But the best poetry seems to contain it just in time, so it works, quivering
with intensity and drenched in beautiful images."

        -- Vikram Doctor

[from EB]

Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi

also called Mawlana
born c. Sept. 30, 1207, Balkh, Ghurid empire [now in Afghanistan]
died Dec. 17, 1273

... the greatest Sufi mystic and poet in the Persian language, famous for his
lyrics and for his didactic epic Masnavi-ye Ma'navi ("Spiritual Couplets"),
which widely influenced Muslim mystical thought and literature. After Rumi's
death, his disciples were organized as the Mawlawiyah order, called in the West
the Whirling Dervishes...

 ... his experience of love, longing, and loss turned Rumi into a poet. His
mystical poems - about 30,000 verses and a large number of roba'iyat
("quatrains") - reflect the different stages of his love, until, as his son
writes, "he found Shams in himself, radiant like the moon." The complete
identification of lover and beloved is expressed by his inserting the name of
Shams instead of his own pen name at the end of most of his lyrical poems. The
Divan-e Shams (The collected Poetry of Shams) is a true translation of his
experiences into poetry; its language, however, never becomes lost in lofty
spiritual heights or nebulous speculation. The fresh language, propelled by its
strong rhythms, sometimes assumes forms close to popular verses. There would
seem to be cause for the belief, expressed by chroniclers, that most of this
poetry was composed in a state of ecstasy, induced by the music of the flute or
the drum, the hammering of the goldsmiths, or the sound of the water mill in
Meram, where Rumi used to go with his disciples to enjoy nature. He found in
nature the reflection of the radiant beauty of the Sun of Religion and felt
flowers and birds partaking in his love. He often accompanied his verses by a
whirling dance.

        -- EB