a bit of rumi for you

rumi

Those who don’t feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don’t drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don’t want to change,

let them sleep.

This Love is beyond the study of theology,
that old trickery and hypocrisy.
I you want to improve your mind that way,

sleep on.

I’ve given up on my brain.
I’ve torn the cloth to shreds
and thrown it away.

If you’re not completely naked,
wrap your beautiful robe of words
around you,

and sleep.

“Like This” Coleman Barks, Maypop, 1990

summer sang in me

Edna St. Vincent Millay

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply;
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands a lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet know its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone;
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

I love reading this poem out loud. Sigh.

oh, rumi…

RUMI 26

I need a lover and a friend
All friendships you transcend
And impotent I remain

You are Noah and the Ark
You are the light and the dark
Behind the veil I remain

You are passion and are rage
You are the bird and the cage
Lost in flight I remain

You are the wine and the cup
You are the ocean and the drop
While afloat I remain

I said, “O Soul of the world
My desperation has taken hold!”
“I am thy essence,” without scold,
“Value me much more than gold.”

You are the bait and the trap
You are the path and the map
While in search I remain

You are poison and the sweet
You are defeated and defeat
Sword in hand I remain

You are the wood and the saw
You are cooked, and are raw
While in a pot I remain

You are sunshine and the fog
You are water and the jug
While thirsty I remain

Sweet fragrance of Shams is
The joy and pride of Tabriz
Perfume trader I remain.

tradition

All that is left
to us by tradition
is mere words.

It is up to us
to find out what they mean.

ibn al-`Arabi, Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, in The Mystics of Islam, translated by Reynold A Nicholson

my favorite

I absolutely adore e.e.cummings.
In truth, before I ever read anything of his, I decided I liked him because he didn’t use capital letters in his name. Because I do not like capital letters (even though I am still trying very hard to use them on this blog).
Then I read his work… and WOW. He amazes me all of the time. Here is one of my favorite poems of his.

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like,, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh....And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you quite so new
"i like my body when it is with your" e.e.cummings

one man loved the pilgrim soul in you

When You are Old
by W. B. Yeats
via

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

empty space

I received my critiqued second writing packet back from my mentor today.

Its is always so interesting what someone has to say about your writing. Especially a person who knows a lot about the craft and who’s opinion you trust and admire.

I wrote an essay about what it is like to have an A.D.D. brain, yet be a student- the struggle between making sure I take the notes I need on the lessons I am being taught, and writing down everything else floating around in my psyche. The basis of the story can be summed up in these few sentences:

  • Burn my notebooks when I die.
  • I spend about 40% of my time in class making lists of chores I need to do or errands I need to run or tattoos I would like to one day get.
  • “Need to make the decision before you start writing: Am I willing to bare myself? If the answer is no, then pack up your shit and go home.”

That last bullet is an actual quotation from my writing notebook during this past residency. The best part of that essay are the excerpts I included from my notebook. Problem is that I’m not quite sure how to structure the piece and where to include these awesome statements.

Lary suggested I read the following poem, as the topic is somewhat similar, and like most good poems, the word choice is precise. I liked it so much I thought I would share it with you all.

Marginalia” – Billy Collins

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive –
“Nonsense.” “Please!” “HA!!” –
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote “Don’t be a ninny”
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls “Metaphor” next to a stanza of Eliot’s.
Another notes the presence of “Irony”
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
“Absolutely,” they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
“Yes.” “Bull’s-eye.” “My man!”
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written “Man vs. Nature”
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake’s furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents’ living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
“Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.”