from The Golestan by Sa’di

I held in my hand a perfumed piece of clay
that came to me from a beloved’s hand.
I asked it, “Are you musk or ambergris?
Like fine wine, your smell intoxicates me.”

“I was,” it said, “a loathsome lump of clay
till someone set me down beside a rose.
Then my companion’s scent seeped into me.
Otherwise, I am only the earth I am.”


courtesy of my friend Richard Newman

The New Rule by Rumi

It’s the old rule that drunks have to argue
and get into fights.
The lover is just as bad. He falls into a hole.
But down in the hole he finds something shining,
worth more than any amount of money or power.

Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street.
I took it as a sign to start singing,
falling up into the bowl of sky.
The bowl breaks. Everywhere is falling everywhere.
Nothing else to do.

Here’s the new rule: break the wineglass,
and fall toward the glassblower’s breath.

translated by Coleman Barks

This is such a day by Rumi

This is such a day, the sun is dazzling twice as before
A day beyond all days, unlike all others–say no more. . .
Lovers, I have great news for you from the heavens above
This day of love brings songs and flowers in a downpour.

translated by Talat S. Halman

Rumi on pronoun use

At one time when life was real, your soul was one with my soul:
All we were, open or secret, was part of the same whole.
If “you” and “I” are pronouns I use, they are only terms–
In truth, there can be no separate you or I at all.

translated by Talat S. Halman

an invitation by Rumi

Come, come, you will never find a friend like me.
Where is a beloved like me in all the world?
Come, don’t waste your life running back and forth.
You are like a dry valley, I am the rain.
You are a city laid to waste, I am the architect.

translated by Talat S. Halman

what love is by Rumi

Love is the water of eternal life, cures every woe;
Gardens where lovers reunite drive away all sorrow.
They say there is a window that opens from heart to heart;
If there are no walls, there is no need for any window.

translated by Talat S. Halman