The Sunrise Ruby

Rumi says:

In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”
He says, “There’s nothing left of me.

I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
to sunlight.”

This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!
The ruby and the sunrise are one.

Be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.

From The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks

My ruminations:

I keep thinking
that this path
is only in the mind,
that nothing really
needs to change,
other than my perception.

I am comfortable
in the life
I’ve woven myself,
and at the small glimpse
of the ocean.
It’s enough to paddle
on the shoreline.

I look with wonder
at those who surf
the crashing waves,
at home in the currents,
unafraid of the riptides,
and call with glee
as they dive
from cliff tops.

I hug the shore,
looking for a ruby,
Fear grips my heart,
whispers caution,
and a thousand reasons
why I am not enough.

Yet, here I am,
and You are urging me
to follow You
into the deep waters.
To let go of everything
I think I know, and trust
Your buoyant love
will keep me afloat.

On the shoreline,
lies a pile of old clothes,
They still remember
the shape of the one
who wore them,
the one, out there, naked
swimming with dolphins!

The Music

Rumi says:

For sixty years I have been forgetful,
every minute, but not for a second
has this flowing toward me stopped or slowed.
I deserve nothing. Today I recognize
that I am the guest the mystics talk about.
I play this living music for my host.
Everything today is for the host.

From The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks

My ruminations:

On the other side of my choosing,
through the looking glass of my thoughts,
waits the Truth of Love, with open arms.

The Lotus

I’m in such a hurry
to reach my destination,
that, sometimes, I forget
to smell the flowers
on my path!

Deep in the muddy
swamp of my thoughts,
hidden by briars,
blooms an exquisite,
lotus flower.

It’s perfume calls to me,
“take off your clothes,
dive in and wash away
the dust of the road,
that is not the road!”

Everything I think I know,
conceals the truth!
Only innocence and wonder
have the power to open
my jaded eyes.

And still, I scratch at the dust,
trying to make sense of it all,
instead of lifting my head,
and enjoying the glory
of being alive.

Yes, but! — tomorrow!
Forget it, there is only now.
So, let the perfume fill
my nostrils as I stop,
just where I am.

By the time I’m ready,
the season will have changed,
the lotus wilted
and the swamp —
iced over.

It’s no good crying for
what might have been,
or blaming another
for choices they make,
the lotus is there for all.

Hurry now and let go,
dive in deep, naked,
as on the day of my birth,
does that not feel better,

Oh! and while I’m at it,
Don’t forget to breathe!
That’s all! Having let go
of all judgements, there is
only perfume to inhale.

©️ Tricia Heriz-Smith

On watching the news (of Bucha)

Confronted by the atrocities of war,
the slaughter and torture of the innocent,
the wild rampages of young men
in whom all love is lost and only fear remains,
my heart swells to breaking at the pain
and agony that drives them.

Who am I to judge?

For there, but for the grace of god, go I.
Put me in the uniform, the battle front,
stripped of my voice and personal choice,
the stillness and the silence of connection,
the gentle waves of consciousness and love,
and can I truly say there is no way
I would not step upon an ant, kill a mosquito?

Who am I to judge?

Is my crime any less an affront against life?
Where is my innocence in all of this?
How can I judge another for their acts
while holding myself separate and pure?
Oh! Child of Love! Be still!
Beneath the surface veils, the tangled thoughts,
the seeking to make everything okay,
the waves of love are moving ever outward,
like sunlight moving over storm-locked hills
whose brightness blinds after the dark.

Who am I to judge?

Judgement is mine, saith the Lord, not thine,
and yet I have a part to play, a task
God-given, to be a beacon of enfolding Love,
amidst the storms and turmoils of this world.
Even as I sleep, my heart continues to beat,
a generator and transmitter of endless love
to light the way for those benighted,
that makes no judgement as to whom
it blesses, who are most deserving of its warmth.

Who am I to judge?

Is what I do enough to make a difference?
Could I do more to replenish my store
of vibrant love? What would it take?
Let love direct me in this task,
clear my thoughts of right and wrong
and simply open to become a conduit
for love to flow in all innocence, unimpeded,
and leave the shores it touches to that Other.

For this came I!

© Tricia Heriz-Smith

The Music

For sixty years I have been forgetful,
every minute, but not for a second
has this flowing toward me stopped or slowed.
I deserve nothing.

Today I recognize
that I am the guest the mystics talk about.

I play this living music for my host.
Everything today is for the host.

I saw you last night in the gathering,
but could not take you openly in my arms,
so I put my lips next to your cheek,
pretending to talk privately.

(from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks.)

My ruminations:

The music calls
and I cannot help
but follow, like
the rats and children,
skipping to the Pied Piper.

I have not paid the Piper,
He has no mercy,
now I must dance
to the end of time.

Smoke rises over my home,
all is confusion,
but the Piper plays
and we must follow.

The gift of choice
has been lost in the fire,
crying will not save us,
nor stop the tapping of our feet.

Mad gaiety disguises
empty hearts, selfish needs,
but the Piper knows
we will not pay.

He plays on until we drop!

The Question

One dervish to another,
What was your vision of God’s presence?
I haven’t seen anything.

But for the sake of conversation,
I’ll tell you a story.
God’s presence is there in front of me,
a fire on the left,
a lovely stream on the right.

One group walks toward the fire, into the fire, another
toward the sweet flowing water.
No one knows which are blessed and which not.
Whoever walks into the fire appears suddenly in the stream.
A head goes under on the water surface, that head
pokes out of the fire.

Most people guard against going into the fire,
and so end up in it.
Those who love the water of pleasure and make it their devotion
are cheated with this reversal.

The trickery goes further.

The voice of the fire tells the truth saying,
I am not fire.
I am fountainhead.
Come into me and don’t mind the sparks.

(From The Question in The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks)

My ruminations:

Too much of anything
becomes its opposite,
all goes full circle.

How far will you travel
along your chosen road
never leaving home?

In Between Stories – 2

It’s the voice that first said,
There is no Reality but God.
There is only God. Husam pulls me by the ear now,

“Wash your mouth!
By trying to say these things,
you conceal them.

Just finish telling the story
about the dervish who was looking for treasure.
Your listeners love difficulties, not unity!

Talk about world troubles.
Don’t distribute water from the fountain.
They don’t want that.
In fact, they’ve loaded themselves
with dirt clods to clog up the fountain.
They’d like to shut it off!”

We are listeners as well as speakers
of this mystery, both of us,
but who else will join
this strange companionship?
That’s what Husam wants to know!

(From In Between Stories: The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks)

My ruminations:

Everywhere I look I see difficulties and separation,
even my mind is at war with my heart.

My heart would say this with less words,
but my mind rebels at the silence.

Hark! Do you hear what was not said?
Can you love without weighing the cost?

In Between Stories

It’s the man who was looking for treasure.
He wants me to finish his story.
You didn’t hear him?
Then he must be inside me yelling, “Over here!
Come over here!”

Don’t think of him as a seeker, though.
Whatever he’s looking for, he is that himself.
How can a lover be anything but the beloved?

Every second he’s bowing into a mirror.
If he could see for just a second one molecule
of what’s there without fantasizing about it,
he’d explode.

His imagination, and he himself,
would vanish, with all his knowledge, obliterated
into a new birth, a perfectly clear view,
a voice that says, I am God.

(From In Between Stories, from The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks)

My ruminations:

The mirror tells lies
Nature in her response
Has a different tale.

Bonfire at Midnight

A shout comes out of my room
where I’ve been cooped up.
After all my lust and dead living I can still live with you.
You want me to.
You fix and bring me food.
You forget the way I’ve been.

The ocean moves and surges in the heat
of the middle of the day,
in the heat of this thought I’m having.
Why aren’t all human resistances burning up with this thought?

It’s a drum and arms waving.
It’s a bonfire at midnight on the top edge of a hill,
this meeting again with you.

(From The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks)

My ruminations:

When did you last
leave your comforts,
your artificial lights,
unseen heating and
constant distraction
to venture out
at midnight,
beneath a full moon,
dew underfoot,
and hear the nightingale?

Everything is different then.
Such a little stepping aside
changes the shadows
that obscure your joy,
casts new light on problems,
warms your heart
and stills the inner turmoil.

We will light a bonfire
on a high hill,
fuelled by our fears,
and dance wildly,
like children,
just glad to be alive.

Constant Conversation

Who is luckiest in this whole orchestra?
The reed.
Its mouth touches your lips to learn music.
All reeds, sugarcane especially, think only
of this chance. They sway in the canebrakes,
free in the many ways they dance.

Without you the instruments would die.
One sits close beside you.
Another takes a long kiss.
The tambourine begs, Touch my skin so I can be myself.

Let me feel you enter each limb bone by bone,
that what died last night can be whole today.

Why live some soberer way and feel you ebbing out?
I won’t do it.
Either give me enough wine or leave me alone,
now that I know how it is
to be with you in a constant conversation.

(From The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks)

My ruminations:

Oh! Let me be the cup
from which you drink,
the pillow for your rest,
the warmth from the fire
on a cold night.

I am consumed by love
and constantly renewed,
on this Ground Hog day
seeking to truly hear
the constant conversation.

Play me, softly,
amidst the loud cacophony
of sound
that drowns
my longing with fears.

Your fingers, ruffle my hair –
is it just wind?
A soft sigh escapes
and is picked up
by the nightingale.

Tomorrow I will –
Be the flute you want,
hollowed out and
tuned to your song.

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