Rumi Jalaluddin Maulana

Jelaluddin Rumi, the 13th century mystic poet, was truly one of the most passionate and profound poets in history. Now, today his presence still remains strong, due in part to how his words seem to drip of the divine, and startle a profound rememberance that links all back to the Soul-Essence. Born in what is present day Afghanistan in 1207, he produced his master work the Masnawi which consists of over 60,000 poems before he died in 1273. The best way to fully say in words his impact, is that he has the ability to describe the Indescribable, Ineffable– God.

I have included two different translators of his work. Coleman Barks on the first two pages, Shahram Shiva on the third. On the fourth page is a selection of Rumi love poems by both translators.

There is a community of the spirit.

Join it, and feel the delight

of walking in the noisy street

and being the noise.

Drink all your passion,

and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes

to see with the other eye.

From Essential Rumi

by Coleman Barks

This We Have Now

This we have now

is not imagination.

This is not

grief or joy.

Not a judging state,

or an elation,

or sadness.

Those come and go.

This is the presence that doesn’t.

From Essential Rumi

by Coleman Barks

There is a way between voice and presence

where information flows.

In disciplined silence it opens.

With wandering talk it closes.

Moving Water

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river

moving in you, a joy.

When actions come from another section, the feeling

disappears. Don’t let

others lead you. They may be blind or, worse, vultures.

Reach for the rope

of God. And what is that? Putting aside self-will.

Because of willfulness

people sit in jail, the trapped bird’s wings are tied,

fish sizzle in the skillet.

The anger of police is willfulness. You’ve seen a magistrate

inflict visible punishment. Now

see the invisible. If you could leave your selfishness, you

would see how you’ve

been torturing your soul. We are born and live inside black water in a well.

How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don’t

insist on going where

you think you want to go. Ask the way to the spring. Your

living pieces will form

a harmony. There is a moving palace that floats in the air

with balconies and clear

water flowing through, infinity everywhere, yet contained

under a single tent.

From The Glance

by Coleman Barks

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.

From Essential Rumi

by Coleman Barks

Light Breeze

As regards feeling pain, like a hand cut in battle,

consider the body a robe

you wear. When you meet someone you love, do you kiss their clothes? Search out

who’s inside. Union with God is sweeter than body comforts.

We have hands and feet

different from these. Sometimes in dream we see them.

That is not

illusion. It’s seeing truly. You do have a spirit body;

don’t dread leaving the

physical one. Sometimes someone feels this truth so strongly

that he or she can live in

mountain solitude totally refreshed. The worried, heroic

doings of men and women seem weary

and futile to dervishes enjoying the light breeze of spirit.

From Soul of Rumi

by Coleman Barks

Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,

no light and no land anywhere,

cloudcover thick. I try to stay

just above the surface,

yet I’m already under

and living with the ocean.

From Essential Rumi

by Coleman Barks

The translations on this page from the books, The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, The Glance by Coleman Barks, and Soul of Rumi by Coleman Barks.

2 3 4

If you want what visible reality

can give, you’re an employee.

If you want the unseen world,

you’re not living your truth.

Both wishes are foolish,

but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting

that what you really want is

love’s confusing joy.

From Essential Rumi

by Coleman Barks

Only Breath

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu

Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East

or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not

composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or in the next,

did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace

of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two

worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that

breath breathing human being.

From Essential Rumi

by Coleman Barks

Birdsong brings relief

to my longing

I’m just as ecstatic as they are,

but with nothing to say!

Please universal soul, practice

some song or something through me!

From Essential Rumi

by Coleman Barks

Not Intrigued With Evening

What the material world values does

not shine the same in the truth of

the soul. You have been interested

in your shadow. Look instead directly

at the sun. What can we know by just

watching the time-and-space shapes of

each other? Someone half awake in the night sees imaginary dangers; the

morning star rises; the horizon grows

defined; people become friends in a

moving caravan. Night birds may think

daybreak a kind of darkness, because

that’s all they know. It’s a fortunate

bird who’s not intrigued with evening,

who flies in the sun we call Shams.

From Soul of Rumi

by Coleman Barks

For awhile we lived with people, but we saw no sign in them of the faithfulness we wanted. It’s better to hide completely within

as water hides in metal, as fire hides in rock.

Back to Poetry Index

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

From Essential Rumi

by Coleman Barks

List of Poems:

There Is A Community Of spirit…

Out Beyond Ideas…

Moving Water

Not Intrigued With Evening

The Breeze At Dawn…

There is A Way…

For Awhile We Lived With People….

This We Have Now


Light Breeze

Only Breath

One Who Does What the Friend…

Not Here

If You Want What Visible Reality…

Late By Myself…

Photo by: Mike Norton


RiverKnowledge Poetry Quotes ChoiceGems ArtCorner

TalesofTruth NatureAsMetaphor WordsofWisdom Contact

Not Here

There’s courage involved if you want

to become truth. There is a broken-

open place in a lover. Where are

those qualities of bravery and sharp

compassion in this group? What’s the

use of old and frozen thought? I want

a howling hurt. This is not a treasury

where gold is stored; this is for copper.

We alchemists look for talent that

can heat up and change. Lukewarm

won’t do. Halfhearted holding back,

well-enough getting by? Not here.

From Soul of Rumi

by Coleman Barks

One who does what the Friend wants done

will never need a friend.

There’s a bankruptcy that’s pure gain.

The moon stays bright when it

doesn’t avoid the night.

A rose’s rarest essence

lives in the thorn.

From Soul of Rumi

by Coleman Barks


Rumi Poetry


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