musings · Reading poetry

The phrasing must change by Rumi

I wish I was born in the ancient Greece. Then, I would have sat with the likes of Aristotle, Socrates and Pluto. I would have contemplated- on existence, non-existence, roses, and thorns.

Heck! I can’t even call it ‘wishful thinking,’ or it might just have had a miniscule probability of happenstance.

Since the last few days, I have been trying to tame my thoughts, so that I could channelise my energy into doing something productive. But, my emotional energy (which I have in abundance) overwhelms me, every single time.

You know, in my mind, I have a gradation of my energies, with emotional energy on top, followed by mental and physical energies. The administrators should try building power plants upon my emotions, they’d be able to run a lot many cities.

I wanted to write the next chapter of my story, La douleur exquise, but I have had my distractions.

I have been thinking about an all-consuming love. Something like-

Let me drown in the crevices of your body
Let me surrender to your will.
Don’t abandon me, please
For it’s your name I carry everywhere.

As this minion of a thought struck me, I came across a wonderful poem by Rumi, ‘The phrasing must change,’ and I want to share it with you.

Learn about your inner self from those who know such things, but don’t repeat verbatim what they say.

Zuleikha let everything be the name of Joseph, from celery seed to aloes wood. She loved him so much she concealed his name in many different phrases, the inner meanings known only to her. When she said, The wax is softening near the fire, she meant, My love is wanting me. Or if she said, Look, the moon is up or The willow has new leaves or The branches are trembling or The coriander seeds have caught fire or The roses are opening or The king is in a good mood today or Isn’t that lucky? or The furniture needs dusting or The water carrier is here or It’s almost daylight or These vegetables are perfect or The bread needs more salt or The clouds seem to be moving against the wind or My head hurts or My headache’s better, anything she praises, it’s Joseph’s touch she means, any complaint, it’s his being away. When she’s hungry, it’s for him. Thirsty, his name is a sherbet. Cold, he’s a fur. This is what the Friend can do when one is in such love. Sensual people use the holy names often, but they don’t work for them. The miracle Jesus did by being the name of God, Zuleikha felt in the name of Joseph.

When one is united to the core of another, to speak of that is to breathe the name Hu, empty of self and filled with love. As the saying goes, The pot drips what is in it. The saffron spice of connecting, laughter. The onion smell of separation, crying. Others have many things and people they love. This is not the way of Friend and friend.

—Taken from ‘The Essential of Rumi’ translated by Coleman Barks.

This poem contains beautiful verses. It has hit me hard, too. Because, people are real and cold, it’s as if they have empty spaces instead of hearts, and whenever they cry, or feel surreal, their minds reprimand them- to be uncouth, again.


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