Love is a Stranger, by Jalaluddin Rumi, tr. by Kabir Helminski

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Published by Threshold Books

Excerpts from Love is a Stranger

Poetry of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi
Translated by Kabir Helminski

 

The Root of the Root of Your Self

Don’t go away, come near.
Don’t be faithless, be faithful.
Find the antidote in the venom.
Come to the root of the root of yourself.

Molded of clay, yet kneaded
from the substance of certainty,
a guard at the Treasury of Holy Light —
come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

Once you get hold of selflessness,
You’ll be dragged from your ego
and freed from many traps.
Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

You are born from the children of God’s creation,
but you have fixed your sight too low.
How can you be happy?
Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

You were born from a ray of God’s majesty
and have the blessings of a good star.
Why suffer at the hands of things that don’t exist?
Come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

You are a ruby embedded in granite.
How long will you pretend it’s not true?
We can see it in your eyes.
Come to the root of the root of your Self.

You came here from the presence of that fine Friend,
a little drunk, but gentle, stealing our hearts
with that look so full of fire; so,
come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

Our master and host, Shamsi Tabrizi,
has put the eternal cup before you.
Glory be to God, what a rare wine!
So come, return to the root of the root of your Self.

The Intellectual

The intellectual is always showing off;
The lover is always getting lost.
The intellectual runs away, afraid of drowning;
the whole business of love is to drown in the sea.
Intellectuals plan their repose;
lovers are ashamed to rest.
The lover is always alone, even surrounded with people;
like water and oil, he remains apart.
The man who goes to the trouble
of giving advice to a lover
gets nothing. He’s mocked by passion.
Love is like musk. It attracts attention.
Love is a tree, and lovers are its shade.

Buy Me From My Words

Before now I wanted
to be paid for what I said,
but now I need you
to buy me from my words.
The idols I used to carve
charmed everyone. Now I’m drunk
on Abraham and tired of idols.
An idol with no color or scent
ended my whole career.
Find someone else for the job.
A happy madman without a thought,
I have swept the shop clean.
If something enters my mind,
I say, “Leave. You’re a distraction.”
Whatever is coarse and heavy, I destroy.
Who should be with Layla?
Someone who can be Majnun.
The man holding up this waving flag
actually belongs to the other side.

 

2017-01-29T15:57:21+00:00