Sometimes I forget completely
what companionship is.
Unconscious and insane, I spill sad
energy everywhere. My story
gets told in various ways: a romance,
a dirty joke, a war, a vacancy.
Divide up my forgetfulness to any number,
it will go around.
These dark suggestions that I follow,
are they a part of some plan?
Friends, be careful. Don’t come near me
out of curiosity, or sympathy.
You are a sign, and a seeker after a sign; there is no better sign than the seeker after a sign. – Rumi
Your life is like a purse of gold:
day and night are like money changers.
Continually Time counts out that gold,
until your purse is emptied and death is here.
If you dig away at a mountain
and don’t replace anything of what you’ve taken
a desolate land is left behind.
So for every breath you breathe out,
put another in its place.
Fall in worship and draw near
so you may reach your aim.
Imagine a man selling his donkey
to be with Jesus.
Now imagine him selling Jesus
to get a ride on a donkey.
This does happen.
Jesus can transform a drunk into gold.
If the drunk is already golden,
he can be changed to pure diamond.
If already that, he can become the circling
planets, Jupiter, Venus, the moon.
Never think that you are worthless.
God has paid an enormous amount for you,
and the gifts keep arriving.
A lion took a wolf and a fox with him on a hunting excursion, and succeeded in catching a wild ox, an ibex, and a hare. He then directed the wolf to divide the prey. The wolf proposed to award the ox to the lion, the ibex to himself, and the hare to the fox. The lion was enraged with the wolf because he had presumed to talk of “I” and “Thou” and “My share” and “Thy share,” when it all belonged of right to the lion, and he slew the wolf with one blow of his paw. Then, turning to the fox, he ordered him to make the division. The fox, rendered wary by the fate of the wolf, replied that the whole should be the portion of the lion. The lion, pleased with his self-abnegation, gave it all up to him, saying, “Thou art no longer a fox, but myself.”
“Till man destroys ‘self’ he is no true friend of God.”
Once a man came and knocked at the door of his friend.
His friend said, “Who art thou, O faithful one?”
He said, “‘Tis I.” He answered, “There is no admittance.
There is no room for the ‘raw’ at my well-cooked feast.
Naught but fire of separation and absence
Can cook the raw one and free him from hypocrisy!
Since thy ‘self’ has not yet left thee,
Thou must be burned in fiery flames.”
The poor man went away, and for one whole year
Journeyed burning with grief for his friend’s absence.
His heart burned till it was cooked; then he went again
And drew near to the house of his friend.
He knocked at the door in fear and trepidation
Lest some careless word might fall from his lips.
His friend shouted, “Who is that at the door?”
He answered, “‘Tis Thou who art at the door, O Beloved!”
The friend said, “Since ‘tis I, let me come in,
There is not room for two ‘I’s in one house.”
The house without a window is Hell:
to make a window is the foundation of true religion.
Don’t thrust your axe upon every thicket:
come, use your axe to cut open a window.
Photo: Assisi 2005
A Mystic and a Drunk – Rumi
The universe turns on an axis.
Let my soul circle around a table
like a beggar, like a planet
rolling in the vast, totally helpless and free.
The Knight and the castle move jaggedly
about the chessboard, but they’re actually
centered on the king. They circle.
If love is your center, a ring
gets put on your finger.
Something inside the moth
is made of fire.
A mystic touches the annihilating tip
of pure nothing.
A drunkard thinks peeing is absolution.
Lord, take these impurities from me.
The lord replies, First, understand
the nature of impurity. If your key is bent,
the lock will not open.
I fall silent.
King Shams has come.
Always when I close, he opens.
Photo: Alba Street, Portland, ME – September 2013
The Lame Goat – Rumi
You’ve seen a herd of goats
going down to the water.
The lame and dreamy goat
brings up the rear.
There are worried faces about that one,
but now they’re laughing,
because look, as they return,
that goat is leading!
There are many different kinds of knowing.
The lame goat’s kind is a branch
that traces back to the roots of presence.
Learn from the lame goat,
and lead the herd home.