Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Poem of the Week 10/27/2008: You I choose, of all the world alone

You I choose, of all the world, alone;
Will you suffer me to sit in grief?
My heart is as a pen in your hand,
You are the cause if I am glad or melancholy.
Save what you will, what will have I?
Save what you show, what do I see?
You make grow out of me now a thorn and now a rose;
Now I smell roses and now pull thorns.
If you keep me that, that I am;
If you would have me this, I am this.
In the vessel where you give color to the soul
Who am I, what is my love and hate?
You were first, and last you shall be;
Make my last better than my first.
When you are hidden, I am of the infidels;
When you are manifest, I am of the faithful.
I have nothing, except you have bestowed it;
What do you seek from my bosom and sleeve?

translated by R. A. Nicholson

I don't think this poem is about a lover, as in flesh and blood. Instead it is about The Lover, Rumi's beloved, the One and Only, i.e. Truth, Reality, God, Objective Consciousness (poor english terminology is so impoverished). And it raises all sorts of fabulous questions--what is the nature of will, and what ought we really desire? What would real wishing be?

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