A wine bottle fell from a wagon
And broke open in a field.
That night hundred beetles and all their cousins
And did some serious binge drinking.
They even found some seed husks nearby
And began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.
Then the 'night candle' rose into the sky
And one drunk creature, laying down his instrument
Said to his friend - for no apparent
"What should we do about that moon?"
Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music
Tackling such profoundly useless
From: ‘The Gift – Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master’
translations by Daniel Ladinsky
Last night's storm was a journey to the Beloved.
I surrender to that, the wind that
is my Friend, and my work.
Each night, the lightning flashes.
Every morning, a breeze.
Not in some protected place, but in the flood
of the heart's pumping, in the wind
of a rosebud's opening out,
that puts a small crown on each narcissus.
A tired hand collapses, exhausted,
that in the morning holds your hair again.
Peace comes when we are friends together,
remembering. Hafiz! Your honest desire
and your benevolence free the soul
to emerge as what it is.
From: 'The Hand of Poetry' Trans. Inayat Khan/Coleman Barks
I love the sun when it appears,
since it reminds me of the appearance of matchless love
And no star is seen when she comes forth,
either from above or from below
And so, O Maya,
you have appeared in the eye of my heart,
and everything other than you has disappeared
So I see you in whatever is not you,
and I don’t see other than you whenever I see you.
—Shaykh Manna Abba “Shaykhānī” wuld Muḥammad al-Ṭulbā, (modified from the translation by Muṣṭafā Okon-Briggs)
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
"You owe me."
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.
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.
I looked for my self, but my self,
but my self was gone.
The boundaries of my being
had disappeared in the sea.
Waves broke. Awareness rose again,
And a voice returned me to myself
It always happens like this.
Sea turns on itself and foams,
and with every foaming bit
another body, another being takes form.
And when the sea sends word,
each foaming body
melts back to ocean-breath.
Poetry reveals that there is no empty space.
When your truth forsakes its shyness,
When your fears surrender to your strengths,
You will begin to experience
That all existence
Is a teeming sea of infinite life.
In a handful of ocean water
You could not count all the finely tuned
Who are acting stoned
For very intelligent and sane reasons
And of course are becoming extremely sweet
In a handful of the sky and earth,
In a handful of God,
We cannot count
All the ecstatic lovers who are dancing there
Behind the mysterious veil.
True art reveals there is no void
There is no loneliness to the clear-eyed mystic
In this luminous, brimming
the clouds of love have gathered,
raining over me,
my soul soaked within,
green woods around.
do not be proud,
seeing your mansion.
tomorrow you will lie beneath the earth,
tufts of grass over you.
those who do not love God
know no joy –
like a guest in an empty house,
they come and depart.
Your God dwells within you
like fragrance in the flower,
musk lies within the deer,
yet seeks it afar.
Worlds pass away reading scriptures,
none the wiser.
he who understands the word `Love’
is the wise one.
The Hindu says Ram is supreme
the Muslim, Rahim.
both die fighting each other,
neither knowing the Truth.
Remembering You ever
egoless, I have merged with You.
no more the cycle of births and deaths,
wherever the eye goes I see You.
Brimming with devotion to God I am.
this world tires me no more.
a pitcher once baked, says Kabir,
needs no potter’s wheel again.
Tired of Speaking Sweetly
Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.
If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.
Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth
That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,
Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.
God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.
The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:
Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.
But when we hear
He is in such a “playful drunken mood”
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.
Rumi from ‘The Gift’
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
Has sprouted beneath a golden leaf
In a dark forest.
This seed is seriously contemplating
Seriously wondering about
The moseying habits
Of the Elephant.
In this lucid, wine-drenched tale
The Elephant is really —
Who has His big foot upon us,
Upon the golden leaf under which lies
We are all a little concerned
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