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. W age 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.

“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'

"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

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..