I picked up Rumi’s Little Book of Life. I’ve been finding a lot of poetry in my path lately, and figured it was best not to fight the universe. Rumi was a 13th Century Sufi Mystic, according to the book jacket and Wikipedia, who were happily in agreement. Until today, the most acquaintance I had with his work was the occasional meme on facebook. You know the type I’m talking about: there’s some sort of inspiring natural background-a fly over of the Grand Canyon at sunrise perhaps, and then a poem or pronunciation about life that makes you feel smugly superior for having read it, or maybe completely insignificant. Like this:
I was in Barnes and Noble, banished there by my better half to “buy a few books”, which was exceptionally brave of him, when the book beckoned to me from the Eastern Religion section. (As an aside, I browsed the heartbreakingly small LGBT section in the store today as well. There was nothing I hadn’t already read or that caught my eye if I hadn’t. I had to ask someone where it was and snickered when I was directed to it because for years it had been snugged up against the Christian Life section of the store. I’d always thought that was either karmic justice or someone’s idea of a bad joke, and I’m not sure who it was supposed to be on. Either way, someone had finally moved the section.) When I picked it up the very first poem I read talked all about the nature of love, and I knew I would be taking it home with me. As a romance writer, love is my sauce. I get drunk on it, the idea of it, and all the permutations of it. I can’t wait to delve into each poem. I’m also a bit of a history geek, so it turns my crank that this was written in the 1200’s by a Persian. Persia is a rich, exotic place in my mind, though I think Hollywood probably has something to do with that more than my actual history education.
Here’s the poem that convinced me to buy the book:
In love, ask for madness
give up reasoning, give up life
look for dangerous adventures
in deserts filled with blood and fire!
That really speaks to love right there. Real, true love should be something you’re willing to break yourself apart and put yourself back together just a little differently for. Love should be something you’re willing to be brave for, put your best foot forward for. Love should make you a better person.
Love should make you brave.
I can’t wait to read the rest of the poems. Maybe Rumi’s “ecstatic” poetry will give me some insight into love I haven’t thought of before.
There’s another poem that made me dance around and grab my significant other and make him read it too, and I know it’s religious poetry, sort of, but I had to share because I loved it so.
One day you will see me sprawled in the tavern
My turban pawned, my prayer rug stained with wine.
Intoxicated with the teasing kiss of my Beloved.
I see his curls dancing on the palm of my hand.
Rested, he is tempting me to stay awake
And feast with him till dawn.
How blessed I am that this charmer entices my spirit away from this world.
Okay. Rumi’s mystical Beloved is a dude. I’m probably going to be happy about that one for days and days, and every time I see one of those memes thereafter.
E-Copy of Threefold Love