All selections from: Shambhala Pocket Classics
"The Pocket Rumi"
Edited by Kabir Helminski; copyright 2001
A New Rule
It is the rule with drunkards to fall upon each other,
to quarrel, become violent, and make a scene.
The lover is even worse than a drunkard.
I will tell you what love is: to enter a mine of gold.
And what is that gold?
The lover is a king above all kings,
unafraid of death,
not at all interested in a golden crown.
The dervish has a pearl concealed
under his patched cloak.
Why should he go begging door to door?
Last night that moon came along,
drunk dropping clothes in the street.
“Get up,” I told my heart,
“Give the soul a glass of wine.
The moment has come
to join the nightingale in the garden,
to taste sugar with the soul-parrot.”
I have fallen with my heart shattered—
where else but on your path, and I
broke your bowl, drunk, my idol, so drunk
don’t let me be harmed, take my hand.
A new rule, a new law has been born:
break all the glasses and draw near to the glassblower.
The War Inside
Rest your cheek, for a moment,
on this drunken cheek.
Let me forget the war and cruelty inside myself.
I hold these silver coins in my hand;
give me your wine of golden light.
You have opened the seven doors of heaven;
now lay your hand generously on my tightened heart.
All I have to offer is this illusion, my self.
Give it a nickname at least that is real.
Only you can restore what you have broken;
help my broken head.
I’m not asking for some sweet pistachio candy,
but your everlasting love.
Fifty times I’ve said,
“Heart, stop hunting and step into this net.”
Search the Darkness
Sit with your friends; don’t go back to sleep.
Don’t sink like a fish to the bottom of the sea.
Surge like an ocean,
don’t scatter yourself like a storm.
Life’s waters flow from darkness.
Search the darkness, don’t run from it.
Night travelers are full of light, and you are, too;
don’t leave this companionship.
Be a wakeful candle in a golden dish,
don’t slip into the dirt like quicksilver.
The moon appears for night travelers,
be watchful when the moon is full.
Be Love’s Willing Slave
Come and be Love’s willing slave,
for Love’s slavery will save you.
Forsake the slavery of this world
and take up Love’s sweet service.
The free, the world enslaves,
but to slaves Love grants freedom.
I crave release from this world
like a bird from it’s egg;
free me from this shell that clings.
As from the grave, grant me new life.
O Love, O quail in the free fields of spring,
wildly sing songs of joy.