Do you know, brother, that you are a prince?
A son of Adam. And that the witch of Kabul,
who holds you with her color and her perfume,
is the world?
Say the words, I take refuge
with the Lord of the Daybreak.
Avoid the hot breathing that keeps you tied
to her. She breathes on knots and no one
can unknot them. That’s why the prophets came.
Look for those whose breath is cool.
When they breathe on knots, they loosen.
The old woman of the world has had you
in her net for sixty years. Her breathing
is the breathing of God’s anger. But God’s mercy
has more strength. Mercy is prior to wrath.
You must marry your soul.
That wedding is the way.
Union with the world is sickness.
But it’s hard to be separated from these forms!
You don’t have enough patience to give this up?
But how do you have enough patience
to do without God?
You can’t quit drinking the earth’s dark drink?
But how can you not drink from this other fountain?
You get restless, you say, when you don’t sip
the world’s fermentation. But if for one second
you saw the beauty of the clear water of God,
you’d think this other was embalming fluid.
Nearness to the Beloved is the splendor
of your life. Marry the Beloved.
Let the thorn of the ego slide from your foot.
What a relief to be empty!
Then God can live your life.
When you stay tied to mind and desire, you stumble
in the mud like a nearsighted donkey.
Keep smelling Joseph’s shirt.
Don’t be satisfied with borrowed light.
Let your brow and your face illuminate with union.
Rumi: One-Handed Basket Weaving
Coleman Barks, Maypop, 1991