Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Emma and I are working on things, but she’s moved out of the nightstand. She’s admitted she has feelings for Frank Churchill and I’ve seen how she looks at Mr. Knightley. She says it's all for Henry's sake, but I have my doubts. There was even talk of us ending it altogether, but we’ve decided to slow things down until we know where our relationship is headed. We’re still seeing each other a couple times a week for lunch or drinks after work, but I haven’t told her I’m reading another book. 

It’s a book of poetry originally written in Persia during the thirteenth century, by Rumi, poet, sage, student, Sufi, whirling dervish. The collection I’m reading now and read often when I feel myself swimming too hard in the wrong direction, or too hard in what I think is the right direction for that matter, is “The Essential Rumi”, translated by Coleman Barks.  
Do people even read poetry any more? Should I have admitted I do?

Reading Rumi is reading about love, the vast deep what-we’re-made-of  kind. It’s about letting go and occasionally it's about laughing at our egos, our smallest self. The titles alone make me smile: Love Dogs, Chickpea to Cook, Dissolver of Sugar, Unfold Your Own Myth, Where Everything is Music These are, for the most part, beautiful poems, but there are pieces in this collection that are better passed over if you're squeamish. 

The allegories Rumi uses are sometimes very crude. He talks about the pitfalls of unbridled physical attachments to things, including bodies very graphically and is occasionally coarse in an effort to make his point strongly. An example of this is The Dervish at the Door, who takes it upon himself to turn a selfish, hoarding man’s home into a temporary privy. It makes perfect sense to the dervish to “fertilize” since nothing vital or living or bounteous is  happening in the place, otherwise, why would the man have denied him dry bread, gristle or water. I cringe occasionally, but read on, knowing anything that has lasted almost eight hundred years must have merit. I also read on because the majority of the works are like this untitled piece:

"The way of love is not
a subtle argument, 

The door there
is devastation. 

Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom. 

How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling,
they’re given wings."


  1. I love the cover of this book! Though I don't have the patience to sit and truly soak up poetry. I need to work on that... = )

  2. I suspect you just haven't found the poet that does it for you. Meander through some until you do. :)

  3. I love Rumi. I have a copy of his poems and have a CD with Martin Sheen reading Rumi. I have say Rumi has away of calming me down. Enjoy your poems and remember yes, there are people who still read poetry:)

  4. Sari, I knew there had to be people out there who did, but it's just so good to have it confirmed!

  5. Poetry is often like greek to me. When I do 'get it', first I am surprised and second I usually like it. So I never choose to read it-- but I am intrigued.

    Something I have discovered about myself is that poems make more sense to me when I hear them read-- I understand just about every poem Garrison Keeler reads on 'writer's almanac' on NPR.

    Hope you post more poetry topics-- I haven't heard of Rumi but I like the poem-- I think I get it-- I even read aloud to myself to make sure.

  6. I think I like poetry because words are still a barriers when you're talking about one to one communication, even if you're both speaking the same language, and I want to get to the very bottom of everything. A unity theory for the human experience?
    Poetry, jumbles up the words so I have to stop and pay closer attention. It doesn't give me the option to scan the way prose does.
    Come to think of it, that's why I'm enjoying reading Austen so much even if Emma and I are having relationship issue.

  7. in post post.
    This morning, I told my husband I wanted to read something to him. He managed to looked both wilted and pained.

    "It's not Rumi, is it?"

    It wasn't. I laughed. He lived.


Welcome to the yakkity yak box, Book Lovers! Your comments are greatly appreciated so please feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.

Comments/questions will receive a response here and visits will be returned as time allows. We are a chatty bunch but also busy with work/school/family so apologies in advance for any delays.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...