Friday, September 16, 2011

Rumi: The Root of the Root of Your Self

I've been spending a little time with Rumi (as well as Keats - more on that some other time) and have found him calming, challenging, frustrating and all the things we expect of other human beings. Above all, he is philosophically inspirational, a lyric wonder that takes a back seat to no one.

The edition I'm reading, The Pocket Rumi, is one of those Shambhala Pocket Classics, which literally fits in your shirt pocket and was just a great little pickup when I was on the road in Seattle (thanks, Elliot Bay Book Company!). So here's a poem from that collection which grabbed me this week.

The Root of the Root of Your Self
Don't go away, come near
Don't be faithless, be faithful.
Find the antidote in the venom.
Come to the root of the root of
your self.

Molded of clay, yet kneaded
from the substance of certainty,
a guard at the Treasury of Holy Light—
come, return to the root of the root of
your self.
Once you get hold of selflessness,
you'll be dragged from your ego
and freed from many traps.
Come, return to the root of the root of
your self.

You are born from the children of
of God's creation,
but you have fixed your sight too low.
How can you be happy?
Come, return to the root of the root of
your self.

Although you are a talisman protecting
a treasure,
you are also the mine.
Open your hidden eyes
and come to the root of the root of
your self.

You were born from a ray of God's
and have the blessings of a good star.
Why suffer at the hands of things that
don't exist?
Come, return to the root of the root of
your self.

You are a ruby embedded in granite.
How long will you pretend it isn't true?
We can see it in your eyes.
Come to the root of the root of
your self.

You came here from the presence of
that fine Friend,
a little drunk, but gentle, stealing our
with that look so full of fire; so
come, return to the root of the root of
your self.

Our master and host, Shamsi Tabrizi,
has put the eternal cup before you.
Glory be to God, what a rare wine!
So come, return to the root of the root
of your self
Rumi, translated by Kabir Hilminski

Note: Shamsi Tabrizi was Rumi's teacher

Find the antidote in the venom. The secret is in plain sight. Open your eyes. Light up. Smile until you can't smile anymore. And keep smiling. Find the antidote in the venom.


This week's featured poem from the Archive comes from Lilliput Review, #176 and is a beautiful little gem from Leonard J. Cirino. Enjoy.

The Road Going Nowhere after So Chongju

The road going somewhere always leads to an end.
Sadness, like a red blossom, also comes to an end.
The limbs of a willow bend to the stream, the moon
descends. Sorrow, an ache laced with opium, and joy
that never ends. The floating worlds go on in a dream.
What of the taste and stiff scent of blood?
Its stain? The road long coming home?
Leonard J. Cirino

cherry blossoms
in a nook in this floating
world of craving

translated by David G. Lanoue


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Charles Gramlich said...

"A little Time with Rumi." What a great title in and of itself.

L. Espenmiller said...

Thanks, Don, for the poems you posted today. I think a little time with Rumi is just what the healer ordered. I'm pulling my copy of Coleman Barks' Essential Rumi from the shelf now. :-)

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Charles ...

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


You are the second person to say exactly the same thing to me ... I know it has been helpful to me, I read one poem from this little volume at bedtime and, when other things don't connect (long day, tired, etc), Rumi does.


TC said...


What a wondrous line this is --

Sadness, like a red blossom, also comes to an end.

Folded into that line, or unfolding from it, are all the complicated simplicities and simple complications of an experience of life and the world.

As the year's blossoms now fade and fall...

And then the next thought, speaking of Keats, whose "To Autumn" reminded us that, of course, for him as an individual, as for each of us as individuals, there does indeed come an end, full stop... while for the blossoms, connected to a deeper source, there will (fingers crossed) always come a springtime, a renewal, and new growth.

Nature, a poem, a prayer, also containing sadness, yet always remembering joy.

(Though again, those are simply feelings of ours, invested in the world... at zero interest.)

snowbird said...

In the turning, turning, turning words a song we dare to sing...

TC said...


Here's that turning seasons song....

By the by, it is rare that the epiphenomenal manifestations of word verification capture the attention of this geezer, but "shingen", with a diamond dotting the "i", gave pause... in the fog, in the season of mists...)

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Tom, yes, yes, really fine line by Cirino. I've been reading Keats along with Rumi, I think I mentioned and am really connecting. So lovely, so lush. The connection you make to nature continuing, this is the Blyth essence shared by all and that he so often sussed out of the Romantics (and so many others). It almost briefly makes one speculate about how humans continue ... not as consciousness but essence, molecules, dirt, stuff ... just saw the end of The Incredible Shrinking Man today again and remembered how they butchered the original ending, where pulp fiction suddenly transcended into something else, when Scott Carey suddenly finds himself slipping between the atoms of a leaf while looking up at the stars ... my, how the wondrous mind does work.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Oh, my, word verification at work again! I've often suspected that somehow there is some human impishness behind it, perhaps the texts selected from which the words are extracted.

What is the reverse of paranoia? Wonder? Stupification?

All is bliss, all is bliss.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

snowbird, is it Eliot come back to haunt us all?

snowbird said...

Heavens help us... :-)

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


snowbird said...

I guess if Eliot drank from a well, and we come across the same well, the water may be the same water... I think the well is older than Eliot.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Oh, yes, indeed ... very well put, snowbird.