Friday, April 03, 2009

Not Here by Rumi

This week, some wisdom from Rumi.

Not Here

There's courage involved if you want
to become truth. There is a broken-

open place in a lover. Where are
those qualities of bravery and sharp

compassion in this group? What's the
use of old and frozen thought? I want

a howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.

We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change. Lukewarm

won't do. Halfhearted holding back,
well-enough getting by? Not here.

Translated by Coleman Barks

Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi) was a 13th century Persian muslim poet, jurist, and theologian. His name literally means "Majesty of Religion". He was born in Balkh (now part of Afghanistan) and died in present-day Turkey. His works are widely read in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and are in translation in Turkey, Azerbaijan, the U.S., and South Asia. He lived most of his life in, and produced his works under, the Seljuk Empire. Rumi's importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not quite true that Coleman "translates" the Rumi poems. Someone else translates them and then Coleman creates poetry from the translations.

5:19 PM  
Blogger ginger said...

he's like yoda...i wonder if he sounds like yoda before someone else translates his work.

he talks about lovers a lot too...that's not like yoda though. :)

6:09 PM  
Anonymous S in Tokyo said...

That's not a translation, it's a very broad reinterpretation, crafted very carefully to appeal to a certain type of modern audience.

But then again, I suppose that is what modern translations of the Bible are.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

translated to me


1:42 PM  
Anonymous Beth Partin said...

I like the first line especially. I don't really understand the part about gold and copper--I think there is some reference there that's unclear to me.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper"

a treasury stores gold that is shaped, it is traditional, it does not change. Copper is for the alchemists: it changes, it reacts. Sometimes it is violent. The passage relates to "old and frozen thought" and "howling hurt" respectively.

Absolutely beautiful :)

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

exquisite choice.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely love Rumi. Thank you for posting this wonderful poem!:)

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3:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, Copper and Gold...

Gold is not wanted as gold is what society deems perfection without enhancement. It can not be moulded and shaped and beaten. Gold is gold, it is perfect - as is! The poet don't want perfection here... he wants copper, something that has potential. But, there is no room to go about fulfilling one's potential halfheartedly - 'not here'. The journey to perfection is going to hurt, be tough and be done so with 100% - anything else (lukewarm) won't do - not here!

Hope that helps...

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