Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rumi: Beyond Love Stories


Love comes with a knife,
not some shy question,
and not with fears for its reputation.

I say these things disinterestedly.
Accept them in kind.

Love is a madman,
working his wild schemes,
tearing off his clothes,
drinking poison, and now quietly
choosing annihilation.

A tiny spider tries to wrap
an enormous wasp. Think of the spiderweb
woven across the cave where Muhammed slept.

There are love stories,
and there is obliteration into love.

You have been walking the ocean's edge,
holding up your robes to keep them dry.

You must dive deeper under,
a thousand times deeper.

Love flows down. The ground
submits to the sky and suffers what comes.

Is the ground worse for giving like that?
Do not put blankets over the drum.
Open completely.

Let your spirit ear listen
to the green dome's passionate murmur.

Let the cords of your robe be untied.
Shiver in this new love
beyond all above and below.

The sun rises,
but which way does the night go?

I have no more words.
Let the soul speak
with the silent articulation of a face.
~ Rumi


steven said...

"i say these things disinterestedly.
accept them in kind".... really?! i wonder what it was like to have known this person. steven

The Solitary Walker said...

Absolutely fantastic. And absolutely true. Love. Wild, crazy, mad, obliterating, dangerous, destructive, wounding, all-enveloping, uncompromising, naked, and quite, quite wonderful. Rarely cosy, rarely safe. It makes the world go round and makes it stop at the same time. The foul rag and bone shop of the heart. Love is all there is.

erin said...

i wonder how many people love like this. it looks like people around me are loving cozy and safe. i wonder if everyone around me is walking obliterated.

what obliterates us is the thing we don't want to say: need.

i often wonder how it is that we are created as one half of a whole, always searching for that other. it is in our make-up to not be alright alone. why? why not a life alone? strictly biological? and if so, who are we to write poetry at all? and if not, to what end or purpose?

more coffee. yes, plese, more coffee. and love, always love, a balm to the open face of my aching half.


Grandmother said...

"You must dive deeper under, a thousand times deeper." And risk drowning but to not do so risks never finding that which passions our spirit. Pray for the strength to do this. Pray for passion.

annell said...


Louise Gallagher said...

"but which way does the night go?"

To love with such passion. To obliterate all sense of reason. To drown in the murmur of the green dome.


Love the photo!

George said...

How can I do anything else with this day other than think of this poem and what it means to me? Yes, I have been guilty of walking the ocean's edge, holding up my robe to keep it dry. Yes, I know we must all dive deeper, a thousand times deeper. Yes, I know that we must not put blankets on the drums, that we must open completely to what we love. As Robert says, love is a thousand things, few of which are rational and many of which are exasperating, perhaps terrifying. In the end, however, its all we have, isn't it? Perhaps we are nothing more than what and who we love.

Brendan said...

I heard a guy once say he liked a woman who could drink like he did and take a punch. Shame on him, but Rumi's muse is saying the same thing here. As Mick Jagger sang in "Midnight Rambler," "Honey, this ain't no rock n roll show." And the mystical sea beast Love dives to the depths upon is a killer whale. Good boy. Stay. - Brendan

distracted by shiny objects said...

Wow. is right, yet it all sounds so...Un-American. And, un-modern. We pass out pills for this kind of stuff and advertise them nightly on TV with a list of side effects that are somehow preferable to feeling.
"walking along the ocean's edge, holding up our robes)

Ruth said...

Steven, I have read of such ego detachment and doubt that I will ever achieve it, and to tell the truth, I'm not sure I want to. But, as you wonder, how did that 'disinterest' feel in person? (He who also writes of such passion, for Shams.)

Ruth said...

Robert, the terrible, the raw, the annihilating . . . without them I wonder if love can, or could, encompass as much.

Ruth said...

Erin, there is fear of not being needed, while needing too much. What happens when the need is unmet? Is this love?

I think of the annihilation he writes of as selflessness, drinking poison as saying I'm not going to hold anything back. Coming back again and again and saying I love you when it hurts too much to say it.

What would we be alone? We would not know this. We would not feel this pain. Or the joy on the other side.

I've often wondered why we are built this way, wanting union. An old Bible verse says "where two or more are gathered together, there I am in the midst of them," and it was always used to coerce us into going to church. But now I think of it when I am alone with a friend or loved one, because together we are complete. In conversation we close the gap. Looking into each other's eyes, we are a circle. What is God but completeness?

(And that's not even talking about sex, which is the obvious union.)

Ruth said...

Mary, be careful what you ask for, someone said. Depths do not come without testing. What is left when the pretty stuff is burned up?

Ruth said...

Annell, yes. Sometimes I think poetry is deceptively beautiful.

Ruth said...

Louise, I think this kind of love takes hold of you and doesn't let go. There isn't a thing you can do about it. I don't think it's a choice.

Ruth said...

George, maybe it's submission? What is this ocean? What is he talking about? I don't know if it's diving so much as being carried under by the tow, that Black Sea undertow that is irresistible. (I've swum there, in terror, before coming to my senses.) I think once you've tasted this kind of love, you keep getting pulled under, deeper, no more resistance. Yes, maybe . . . nothing more than what and who we love, what pulls us under, into the core of our being. How could we resist?

hedgewitch said...

I like this Ruth. It resonates much for me right now. We are so afraid, so afraid of making a mistake, and think we can drain everything dangerous within ourselves into a sealed bottle. Perhaps we can, but that doesn't make it right. Such a war we wage to let the soul speak, with desire, control, destruction, faith, security all battling in the fray. Love does flow down, though. I've seen it.

Ruth said...

Brendan, sometimes I wonder how we survive just living with another person, let alone rising and falling on this ocean-riding beast with 20-foot swells!

Ruth said...

Distracted, you're right! Haha! We'd be thinking "full moon" craziness!

Ruth said...

Hedgewitch, it is a strange thing, I think, that we have come to this, with safety nets. I feel like it came with suburbs and Avalon, and margarine, homogenization. We moved away from center. We protect our kids, as if mistakes will ruin them, when what mistakes do is build their ability to fail, and come through it well enough to face failure again.

Amy@Souldipper said...

We want to love and be loved - so much - yet are so afraid of it. Rumi challenges me fiercely in the love department.

Ruth said...

Amy, yes, Rumi is a constant source of [at times infuriating] opposites and challenges. Just when I think I've got the love thing figured out, he pops a doozy and reminds me I have to go back to square one.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Dare we unblanket the drum and heed its pounding message? Risk annihilation? Down the poison? Clasp that knife with whitening knuckles? Let the uncorded robe slide down into the ocean? Probably not, but Rumi is an exquisite stand-in for doing so.

Ginnie said...

This reminds me of what Nelson often quotes from C.S. Lewis: "Higher up and deeper in!"

Terresa said...

Read this yesterday, in between many other things, wanted to say thank you for it, it spoke to me (as Rumi does) in many ways.

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, you're right. Poems, especially certain poems by Rumi, Rilke, and the others we turn to, lift the heart into possibility, like a bar too high we're convinced we can jump, or too low we could limbo under. The sea keeps calling, the deeps are there, and the other side, if we could just swim across it.

Ruth said...

Boots, yes, good old Reepicheep. :-)

Ruth said...

Terresa, amazing how the impossibility of it does not prevent its drawing us in.

Susan said...

I don't know...I think I would feel enveloped and overwhelmed by that kind of love....dare I say, smothered?