A Little Intro to Rumi

As you may know, this Saturday, November 3 at 4 PM in the Hartzler Gallery in the Eastern Mennonite University Library Lisa Schirch will finally be presenting her exhibit Pax Bellissima! As a companion piece, the EMU Center for Justice and Peacebuilding Arts and Peacebuilding class will be displaying an interactive activity having to do with lamenting (intrigued?). Without giving too much away, their piece will involve poetry by Rumi, an Afghan poet. Before the exhibit comes out, I thought it might be helpful for everyone to get some background on who Rumi is.

Rumi was a 13th century Muslim poet. He is also remembered as being a judge, a theologian, and a mystic. His doctrine advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. Many of his poems were based around the theme of tawhīd,  or union, especially union with God. He believed that music, poetry, and dance were powerful ways to connect with God because this allowed followers to interact with God with their whole being.

As a warm up for Saturday, I have picked out three of Rumi’s poems that I found especially beautiful, some I was even able to find in Persian! The language that Rumi wrote them in.

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There is a way between voice and presence
where information flows.
In disciplined silence it opens.
With wandering talk it closes.
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You do bad deeds and hope to get back good

Though bad deserves bad only in return.

God is merciful and kind, but even so,

If you plant barley, wheat won’t grow.

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When there’s no sign of hope in the desert,

So much hope still lives inside despair.

Heart, don’t kill that hope: Even willows bear

Sweet fruit in the garden of the soul.

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Check out some more Rumi poetry and let us know which ones were your favorite! Here’s a few places you can get started…

Peaceful Rivers

Iranian.com

Rumi.org

-b.hench

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