I have come so that, tugging your ear…

I have come so that, tugging your ear, I may draw you to me,
unheart and unself you, plant you in my heart and soul.
Rosebush, I have come a sweet springtide unto you, to seize
you very gently in my embrace and squeeze you.
I have come to adorn you in this worldly abode, to convey you
above the skies like lovers’ prayers.
I have come because you stole a kiss from an idol fair; give it
back with a glad heart, master, for I will seize you back.
What is a mere rose? You are the All1 , you are the speaker of
the command “Say2”  If no one else knows you, since you are I, I know you.
You are my soul and spirit, you are my Fatiha-chanter3, be-
come altogether the Fatiha, so that I may chant you in my heart.
You are my quarry and game, though you have sprung from
the snare; return to the snare, and if you will not, I will drive you.
The lion said to me, “You are a wonderous deer; be gone! Why
do you run in my wake so swiftly? I will tear you to pieces.”
Accept my blow, and advance like a hero’s shield;
give your ear to naught but the bowstring, that I may bend you like a bow.
So many thousand stages there are from earth’s bounds to
man; I have brought you from city to city, I will not leave you by the roadside.
Say nothing, froth not, do not raise the lid of the cauldron;
simmer well, and be patient, for I am cooking you.
No, for you are a lion’s whelp hidden in a deer’s body: I will
cause you suddenly to transcend the deer’s veil.
You are my ball, and you run in the curved mallet of my
decree; though I am making you to run, I am still running in your track.

“Mystical Poems of Rumi 1”, A.J. Arberry
The University of Chicago Press, 1968


1 A pun on the Persian “gul” (“rose”) and “kull” (“all”).

2 Say: Many passages of the Koran open with the word “say”..

3 Fatiha-chapter : The “Fatiha” (“Opening”) is the first chapter of the Koran, containing praise of God and prayers for guidance.