Photo: A young Kenyan woman holds her pet deer in Mombassa, March 1909. Photograph by Underwood and Underwood.
There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you’re full of food and drink, Satan sits
where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue
in place of the Kaaba. When you fast,
good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon’s ring. Don’t give it
to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you’ve lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents,
Expect to see it, when you fast, this table
spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.
Quote Source and Recommended Reading:
'The Illuminated Rumi'
By Jalal Al-Din Rumi (Author), Michael Green (Illustrator), Coleman Barks (Translator)
Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings...
In the mid-thirteenth century, in a dusty marketplace in Konya, Turkey, a city where Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist travelers mingled, Jelaluddin Rumi, a popular philosopher and scholar, met Shams of Tabriz, a wandering dervish. Their meeting forever altered the course of Rumi's life and influenced the mystical evolution of the planet. The bond they formed was everlasting--a powerful transcendent friendship that would flow through Rumi as some of the world's best-loved ecstatic poetry.
Rumi's passionate, playful poems find and celebrate sacred life in everyday existence. They speak across all traditions, to all peoples, and today his relevance and popularity continue to grow. In The Illuminated Rumi, Coleman Barks, widely regarded as the world's premier translator of Rumi's writings, presents some of his most brilliant work, including many new translations. To complement Rumi's universal vision, Michael Green has worked the ancient art of illumination into a new, visually stunning form that joins typography, original art, old masters, photographs, and prints with sacred images from around the world.
The Illuminated Rumi is a truly groundbreaking collaboration that interweaves word and image: a magnificent meeting of ancient tradition and modern interpretation that uniquely captures the spiritual wealth of Rumi's teachings. Coleman Barks's wise and witty commentary, together with Michael Green's art, makes this a classic guide to the life of the soul for a whole new generation of seekers.
'Rumi has, to the recent amazement of many people in the Western culture as well as the Islamic culture, been able to speak directly to contemporary readers. One of the greatest pieces of good luck that has happened recently in American poetry is Coleman Barks's agreement to translate poem after poem of Rumi. Rumi, like Kabir, is able to contain and continue intricate theological arguments and at the same time speak directly from the heart or to the heart. Coleman's exquisite sensitivity to the flavor and turns of ordinary American speech has produced marvelous lines, full of flavor and Sufi humor, as well as the intimacy that is carried inside American speech at its best.'