Mystical Poems of Rumi
My verse resembles the bread of Egypt—night passes over it, and you cannot eat it any more.
Devour it the moment it is fresh, before the dust settles upon it.
Its place is the warm climate of the heart; in this world it dies of cold.
Like a fish it quivered for an instant on dry land, another moment and you see it is cold.
Even if you eat it imagining it is fresh, it is necessary to conjure up many images.
What you drink is really your own imagination; it is no old tale, my good man.
Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207–73), legendary Persian Muslim poet, theologian, and mystic, wrote poems acclaimed through the centuries for their powerful spiritual images and provocative content, which often described Rumi’s love for God in romantic or erotic terms. His vast body of work includes more than three thousand lyrics and odes. This volume includes four hundred poems selected by renowned Rumi scholar A. J. Arberry, who provides here one of the most comprehensive and adept English translations of this enigmatic genius. Mystical Poems is the definitive resource for anyone seeking an introduction to or an enriched understanding of one of the world’s greatest poets.
“Rumi is one of the world’s greatest lyrical poets in any language—as well as probably the most accessible and approachable representative of Islamic civilization for Western students.”—James W. Morris, Oberlin College
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Introduction to Volume 1 Mystical Poems of Rumiby A J Arberry
Notes to Poems
a. j. arberry al-D¯ın Arberry Arberry’s beauty became become behold Beloved bird blood body breast breath cheek D¯ın D¯ıv¯an dawn desire door draw drunk drunkards drunken dust earth Ehsan Yarshater enter escaped eternal face ﬁlled ﬁnd ﬁre ﬁrst ﬁsh ﬂame ﬂee ﬂowing ﬂy foot garden gaze ghazals give God’s gold gone grace hand happy head heart heaven hidden houris hundred idol intoxicated Kaaba king Koran lament laughing light lips Lord Love’s lovers Masnavi Mevlevi moon Moses mountain mouth Muhammad mystical poems Nicholson on Math night notes to pages pearl Persian poems of r¯um¯i qibla R. A. Nicholson reason rose rosebower Rumi Rumi’s sake saki scent secret seek Shams Shams-i Tabr¯ız¯ı silent simurgh slays sleep snare soul speak spirit Suﬁs sugar sweet Tabr¯ız Tabriz thorn thousand tongue translation veil verse water and clay wine wings