The Silent Articulation of a Face

It’s Valentines Day.  Whether you love or hate the celebration, I thought a little Rumi was appropriate.  If you’re unfamiliar with him, he was a Sufi mystic and poet, most noted for his extreme love and devotion towards his mentor Shams of TabrizNPR host, Jean Feraca, from Here on Earth had a whole discussion with Coleman Barks, one of the lead translators of Rumi’s poetry and a Sufi studier for over three decades.  I absolutely encourage you to check out Jean’s site and listen to some podcasts of her programs; they are always very moving.  While driving in the car today, I listened to caller after caller read their favorite Rumi poem, share how they knew Rumi, and why his work makes him the most beloved and best selling poet in America.

I first discovered Rumi through my sister.  She learned about him in college and brought one of his books home for me to read knowing how much I liked poetry.  I immediately devoured his words and watched a documentary about his life which interviews prominent Rumi translators and the differences these authors have on his works.  It’s really interesting how one poet has inspired many others to interpret his work.  Some is very proper and written in an older english style, while Coleman Barks brings about more of Rumi’s spirit in his translations, rather than a literal translation.  I’ve returned to Rumi poems throughout my life at different times.  Sitting by my parent’s garden, I read his love of the land poems.  And when I was too young to know any better I read his love poems and yearned for the intense emotions he wrote of.  Now, for Valentines Day, I share with you two different Rumi poems that I think are beautiful.  Enjoy!

Do you have a story to share about Jalaluddin Rumi?  Do you have a favorite Rumi poem?  I’d love to hear it!

The Silent Articulation of a Face

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,

running through the mountains, 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 Muhammad slept! There are love stories,

and there is obliteration into love.

You’ve been walking the ocean’s edge,

holding up your robes to keep them dry.

You must dive naked under and deeper under,

a thousand times deeper! Love flows down.

The ground submits to the sky and suffers

what comes. Tell me, is the earth worse

for giving in like that?

Don’t 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 night go? I have no more words.

Let soul speak with the silent

articulation of a face.

Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want

with our whole lives, the touch

of spirit on the body. Seawater

begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately

it needs some wild darling!

At night, I open the window and ask

the moon to come and press its

face against mine.

Breathe into me. Close

the language-door and open the love-window.

The moon won’t use the door,

only the window.

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11 responses

  1. Thanks for posting those poems. I love Rumi and it was a great idea. Of course, today is just another day for me, but there’s no bad day for a little appreciation for Rumi.

    1. Exactly, never a bad day to appreciate a little Rumi.

  2. That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  3. I love Rumi’s poetry. Thank you for the rememberance.

  4. “Close the language-door and open the love-window.
    The moon won’t use the door,
    only the window.”

    It’s amazing that he seems to be saying love can’t be put into words, yet his poems are built with words that convey love in such a rich way. It’s humbling, isn’t it?

    1. Isn’t it so breathtaking and moving? I read this poem to my honey on Valentine’s Day. It reminded me how I feel closest when we can just be staring at each other or giving a good hug after time apart, those moments that don’t need words and cannot find words that are right, but you feel it. Love this poem.

  5. I’ve never heard of Rumi before, but I’m really digging both those poems. He uses very sharp imagery – love it!

    1. Yah, these are just the tip of the iceberg. He has so many wonderful poems, definitely check him out. You should pick one and read it to your girlfriend, bet she’ll love it!

  6. Charles, stop stealing my comments. 🙂

    Jess, here’s one that speaks to me:

    The minute I heard my first love story,
    I started looking for you, not knowing
    how blind that was.

    Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
    they’re in each other all along.

    1. That’s beautiful! I love how his work describes everything we stumble putting into words. It captures spirit of love, it really does. Beautiful!

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