(Maulana Jalalu-'d-din Muhammad Rumi)
Narrated by John Lescault
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Ghazal # 5
A beauty that all night long teaches love-tricks to Venus and the moon,
Whose two eyes by their witchery seal up the two eyes of heaven.
Look to your hearts! I, whate'er betide, O Moslems,
Am so mingled with him that no heart is mingled with me.
I was born of his love at the first, I gave him my heart at the last;
When the fruit springs from the bough, on that bough it hangs.
The tip of his curl is saying, "Ho! betake you to rope-dancing."
The cheek of his candle is saying, "Where is a moth that it may burn?"
For the sake of dancing on that rope, O heart, make haste, become a hoop;
Cast yourself on the flame, when his candle is lit.
You will never more endure without the flame, when you have known the rapture of burning;
If the water of life should come to you, it would not stir you from the flame.
Ghazal # 441
Show your face, for the orchard and rosegarden are my desire;
open your lips, for abundant sugar is my desire.
Sun of beauty, come forth one moment out of the cloud, for
that glittering, glowing countenance is my desire.
Out of your air I heard the sound of the falcon-drum; I
returned, for the sultan's forearm is my desire.
You said capriciously, "Trouble me no more; be gone!" That
saying of yours, "Trouble me no more," is my desire.
And your repulse, "Be gone, the king is not at home," and
those mighty airs and brusqueness of the doorkeeper, are my
In the hand of every one who exists there are filings of beauty;
that quarry of elegance and that mine are my desire.
This bread and water of heavens wheel are like a treacherous
torrent; I am a fish, a leviathan, Oman is my desire.
Like Jacob I am crying alas, alas; the fair visage of Joseph of
Canaan is my desire.
By Allah, without you the city is a prison for me; I wander
abroad, mountain and desert are my desire.
My heart is weary of these weak-spirited fellow-travellers; the
Lion of God and Rustam-i Dastan are my desire.
My soul is sick of Pharaoh and his tyranny; that light of the
countenance of Moses son of Imran is my desire.
I am weary of these tearful people so full of complaining;
that ranting and roaring of the drunkards is my desire.
I am more eloquent than the nightingale, but because of
vulgar envy a seal is on my tongue, and lamentation is my desire.
Last night the shaikh went all about the city, lamp in hand,
crying, "I am weary of beast and devil, a man is my desire."
They said, "He is not to be found, we too have searched." He
answered, "He who is not to be found is my desire."
Though I am penniless, I will not accept a small carnelian, for
that rare, precious carnelian is my desire.
Hidden from every eye, and all things seen are from Him—
that hidden One manifest in works is my desire.
My state has gone beyond every desire and yearning; from
mine and place to the elements is my desire.
My ear heard the tale of faith and became drunk; where is the
portion of sight? The form of faith is my desire.
In one hand the winecup, in the other the Beloved's curl—to
dance so in the midst of the arena is my desire."
That rebec says, "I am dead of expectation; the hand and
bosom and plectrum of Uthman are my desire."
I am at once Love's rebec, and Love is my rebec-player;
those favours of the plucking of the All-merciful are my desire.
Cunning minstrel, number the rest of this ode after this fashion,
for it is after this fashion I desire.
Show your face from the east, Sun of the Pride of Tabriz; I am
the hoopoe bird, the presence of Solomon is my desire.
Ghazal # 1393
I was dead, I became alive; I was weeping, I became laughing;
the power of love came, and I became everlasting power.
My eye is satiated, my soul is bold, I have the heart of a lion, I
have become shining Venus.
He said, "You are not mad, you are not appropriate to this
house"; I went and became mad, I became bound in shackles.
He said, "You are not intoxicated; go, for you belong not to
this party"; I went and became intoxicated, I became overflowing
He said, "You are not slain, you are not drenched in joy";
before his life-giving face I became slain and cast down.
He said, "You are a clever little man, drunk with fancy and
doubt"; I became a fool, I became straightened, I became
plucked up out of all.
He said, "You have become a candle, the qibla of this assem-
bly"; I am not of assembly, I am not candle, I have become
He said, "You are shaikh and headman, you are leader and
guide"; I am not shaikh, I am not leader, I have become slave
to your command.
He said, "You have pinions and wings, I will not give you
wings and pinions"; in desire for his pinions and wings I became
wingless and impotent.
New fortune said to me, "Go not on the way, do not become
pained, for out of grace and generosity I am now coming to you."
Old love said to me, "Do not move from my breast"; I said,
"Yes, I will not, I am at rest and remain."
You are the fountain of the sun, I am the shadow of the
willow; when You strike my head, I become low and melting.
My heart felt the glow of the soul, my heart opened and split,
my heart wove a new satin, I became enemy of this ragged one.
The form of the soul at dawn swaggered insolently; I was a
slave and an ass-driver, I became king and lord.
Your paper gives thanks for your limitless sugar, for it came
into my embrace, and I dwelt in it.
My darkling earth gives thanks for my bent sky and sphere,
for through its gaze and circling I became light-receiving.
The sphere of heaven gives thanks for king and kingdom and
angel, for through his generosity and bounty I have become
bright and bountiful.
The gnostic of God gives thanks that we have outraced all;
above the seven layers I have become a shining star.
I was Venus, I became the moon, I became the two hundred-
fold sky; I was Joseph, henceforth I have become the waxing
Famous moon, I am yours, look upon me and yourself, for
from the trace of your smile I have become a smiling rosegarden.
Move silently like a chessman, yourself all tongue, for through
the face of the king of the world I have become happy and
Ghazal # 1919
This is love: to fly to heaven, every moment to rend a hundred
At first instance, to break away from breath — first step, to
To disregard this world, to see only that which you yourself
I said, "Heart, congratulations on entering the circle of lovers,
"On gazing beyond the range of the eye, on running into the
alley of the breasts."
Whence came this breath, O heart? Whence came this
throbbing, O heart?
Bird, speak the tongue of birds: I can heed your cipher!
The heart said, "I was in the factory whilst the home of water
and clay was abaking.
"I was flying from the workshop whilst the workshop was
"When I could no more resist, they dragged me; how shall I
tell the manner of that dragging?"
Ghazal # 2523
Fire-worshipping heart of mine who spins like a ball in the fire,
say to the Saqi, "Quick now, a glass of lees to begin with!"
Come, lip-biting Saqi, cook with wine and raw ones; bravo,
garden and orchard of vine from which you pressed the grapes!
I will give a hint no one gives; the hint is this, O fair of
stature, that on that night you transported me unselfed, you com-
mitted me to that moonface of mine.
You, reason, do you remember how, when the king of reason
out of love bestowed that fiery wine on me, at the first breath
That darling brought two dishes, one of fire, one full of gold;
if you take gold, it becomes fire, and if you set on fire, you win
See the proud Saqi! Extinguish that pretty fire! What do you
know of the power of fire, for there you are a little child?
Get out of the fire, you will rise happy out of Shams-al-din
Tabrizi; and if you flee into the gold, like gold you will have congealed.
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