Showing posts from September, 2011

Wage Peace

by Judyth Hill

Judyth's poem follows the form of the Tibetan Buddhist meditation, Tonglen. Try it with your own breath, "Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees." Or make it your own.

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Make soup.
Learn to knit and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don't wait another minute.

“You don’t owe me.”

by Hafiz

Even after all this time
the Sun never says to the Earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.

For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..

A Man Talking To His House

by Jelelludin Rumi

I say that no one in this caravan is awake
and that while you sleep, a thief is stealing

the signs and symbols of what you thought
was your life. Now you're angry with me for

telling you this! Pay attention to those who
hurt your feelings telling you the truth.

Giving and absorbing compliments is like
trying to paint on water, that insubstantial.

Here is how a man once talked with his house,
“Please, if you're ever about to collapse,

let me know.” One night without a word the
house fell. “What happened to our agreement?”

The house answered, “Day and night I've been
telling you with cracks and broken boards and

holes appearing like mouths opening. But you
kept patching and filling those with mud, so

proud of your stopgap masonry. You didn't
listen.” This house is your body always

saying, I'm leaving; I'm going soon. Don't
hide from one who knows the secret. Drink

the wine of turning toward God. Don't examine
your urine. Examine instead how you praise,

what …

"Dolls That Pull the Stuffing Out of Each Other"

by Rumi

You that give nourishment and steadiness and freedom,
give the bent soul strength
to stand up straight in the work it knows it's here
to do. Give us patience and
generosity and clarity to see through the images that
appear. There is a coarse
desire that wants world-power; there are armies that
kill their own relatives;
and there is the bitter pleasure of dolls that pull the
stuffing out of each other.
Read the passionate love stories again. Notice how
everyone perishes in what is
not love. Love is when the holy nothingness loves itself.
Jealousies come as kindness
turns cruel. If there were no legal punishment, no threat
of prison, people would shred
their enemies, the so-called lovers. Envy connects deeply
with the old ambition of fallen
angels, who do exist, and they have human helpers who try
to destroy anyone who
has loved and received wisdom from a teacher.

Mathnawi V: 1197-1225
Version by Coleman Barks
"The Soul of Rumi" HarperSanFra…

My Brilliant Image

by Hafiz

One day
the sun admitted,
“I am just a shadow.
I wish I could show you
The infinite Incandescence
That had cast my brilliant image!”

“I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being!”

For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..

A King Dressed As a Servant

by Jelalludin Rumi

A sweet voice calls out,
"The caravan from Egypt is here!"
A hundred camels with what amazing treasure!

Midnight, a candle and someone quietly
waking me, "Your friend has come."

I spring out of my body, put a ladder
to the roof, and climb up to see if
it's true.

Suddenly, there is a world within this world!
An ocean inside the water jar!
A king sitting with me wearing
the uniform of a servant!
A garden in the chest of the gardener!

I see how love has "thoughts,"
and that these thoughts are circulating
in conversation with majesty.
Let me keep opening this moment
like a dead body reviving.

Shamsi Tabriz saw the placeless one
and from That, made a place.

(Ghazal 2730, Version by Coleman Barks)

For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..

A Zero-Circle

by Jellaludin Rumi

Be helpless and dumbfounded,
unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come
from grace to gather us up.
We are too dulleyed to see the beauty.
If we say "Yes we can," we'll be lying.
If we say "No, we don't see it,"
that "No" will behead us
and shut tight our window into spirit.
So let us not be sure of anything,
besides ourselves, and only that, so
miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero-circle, mute,
we will be saying finally,
with tremendous eloquence, "Lead us."
When we've totally surrendered to that beauty,
we'll become a mighty kindness.

(Mathnawi IV, 3748-3754, translated by Coleman Barks)

For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..


by Hafiz

We have not come here to take prisoners,
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.

We have not come into this exquisite world
To hold ourselves hostage from love.

Run my dear,
From anything
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.

Run like hell my dear,
From anyone likely
To put a sharp knife
Into the sacred, tender vision
Of your beautiful heart.

We have a duty to befriend
Those aspects of obedience
That stand outside of our house
And shout to our reason
"O please, O please,
Come out and play."

For we have not come here to take prisoners
Or to confine our wondrous spirits,

But to experience ever and ever more deeply
Our divine courage, freedom and

from "The Gift ~ versions of Hafiz" by Daniel Ladinsky

For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..

The Guest House

by Jelalludin Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, 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.

Coleman Barks trans.

For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..

This is not a courtroom anymore!

by Hafiz
For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..

This is not a courtroom anymore!

The time of judging who's drunk or sober, who's right or wrong, who's closer to God or farther away, all that's over.

This caravan is led instead by a great Delight, the simple joy that sits with us now, that is the grace.

Hafiz, it may be that you've just poured a toast that will wash love clean of all it's pictures.

Come, come, whoever you are

by Jelalludin Rumi

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you've broken your vow
a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come.

Coleman Barks trans.

For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..

The Shop

by Rumi

Lightning falling on the helpless,
a surge of pearl out of the rock
covering the rock, this life torn into a hundred pieces,
and one of those pieces a ticket
to let me back into my life.

A spirit world divided into eight sections, one a scroll.
Eight scrolls in the parchment of your face.
What kind of bird am I becoming, kneeling like a camel,
pecking at the fire like an ostrich?

You and I have worked in the same shop for years.
Our loves are great fellow workers.
Friends cluster there, and every moment we notice
a new light coming out in the sky.
Invisible, yet taking form, like Christ coming through
Mary. In the cradle, God.
Shams, why this inconsistency
that we live with love,
and yet we run away?

Coleman Barks trans.

For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..

I've Broken Through To Longing

by Jellaludin Rumi

I've broken through to longing
Now, filled with a grief I have
Felt before, but never like this.
The center leads to love.
Soul opens the creation core.
Hold on to your particular pain.
That too can take you to God.

Coleman Barks trans.

For more poems by Hafiz and Rumi..

Cast All Your Votes For Dancing

by Hafiz
for Morgan

I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way
And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
And Love.

Whenever you say God's name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!