Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273)


A craftsman pulled a reed from the reedbed,
cut holes in it, and called it a human being.

Since then, it's been wailing a tender agony
of parting, never mentioning the skill
that gave it life as a flute.

               (translated by Coleman Barks)


I have lived on the lip
of insanity
knocking on the door.

It opens.

I have been knocking from the inside.

               (translated by Coleman Barks)


Don't let your throat tighten
with fear. Take sips of breath
all day and night. Before death
closes your mouth.

There's no love in me without your being,
no breath without that. I once thought 

I could give up this longing, then thought again,
But I couldn't continue being human.

               (translated by Coleman Barks)

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Revised: June 13, 1997