Translated by Coleman Barks
Newly Translated Poems to Commemorate Rumi’s 800th Birthday
Published by Harper One
A Light Within His Light
I circled awhile with each of the intelligences,
the nine fathers that control the levels of spirit growth.
I revolved for years with the stars
through each astrological sign.
l disappeared into the kingdom of nearness.
I saw what I have seen, receiving nourishment
as a child lives in the womb.
Personalities are born once.
A mystic many times.
Wearing the body-robe, I have been busy
in the market, weighing and arguing prices.
Sometimes I have torn the robe off
with my own hands and thrown it away.
I have spent long nights in monasteries,
and I have slept with those who claim
to believe nothing on the porches of pagodas,
just traveling through.
When someone feels jealous,
I am inside the hurt and the need to possess.
When anyone is sick,
I feel feverish and dizzy.
I am cloud and rain being released,
then the meadow as it soaks in.
I wash the grains of mortality
from the cloth around a dervish.
I am the rose of eternity,
not made of water or fire,
not of the wandering wind
or even earth. I play with those.
I am not Shams of Tabriz,
but a light within his light.
If you see me, be careful.
Tell no one what you have seen.