Rumi

There’s been some drama happening in my area during the past hour and a half. Police presence is not unusual around here but the arrival of the London Air Ambulance is. The air ambulance circled over the building so low that my brother and I (out on the roof) could almost touch it. It landed in the park across the road, sirens came from every direction and Old Bill were running about on the streets below. After half an hour or so, the helicopter then moved from the park to the railway station car park, and stayed there for another half hour. It’s gone now but the sirens keep on coming.

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I’ve been reading the works of Rumi this afternoon. I know Rumi is really popular in the USA (which I find mildly ironic) but no British person has ever recommended him or even mentioned him to me, not at school, not at university, not in conversation, not through cyberspace. He was introduced to me by a Turkish friend and I’m grateful that I know his work.

Just in case you have no idea who I’m on about, I stole this from the glorious centre of knowledge that is Wikipedia:

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (Persian: جلال‌الدین محمد رومی‎), more popularly known simply as Rūmī (1207 – 17 December 1273), was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic.

I can’t believe how ahead of his time he was, I see so much of the Modernist movement in his work. His poetry is more relevant now than ever before. I tend to prefer his “short and sweet” meditative poems over the longer, religious narratives. It’s hard to whittle it down but these are my three favourite pieces by Rumi:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

*

Don’t let your throat tighten
with fear. Take sips of breath
all day and night, before death
closes your mouth.

*

Pale sunlight,
pale the wall.

Love moves away.
The light changes.

I need more grace
than I thought.

Taken from ‘The Essential Rumi: New Expanded Edition’ translated by Coleman Barks (HarperCollins, USA: 2004)

Happy Friday everyone! xx

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