Aug 27 2012

Yunus Emre – Let’s Take Yunus Emre

Published by at 8:52 am under Poetry

Let’s Take Yunus Emre
by Yunus Emre

English version by Jennifer Ferraro & Latif Bolat

Let’s be companions, the two of us.
      Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

Let’s be close intimates, the two of us.
      Lets go to the Friend, my soul.

Let’s go before this life is over,
Before our bodies disappear,
Before enemies come between us —

      Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

Come on, let’s go. Don’t remain alone.
Let’s be a chisel in the Friend’s hand.
The only stop will be our sheikh’s station.

      Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

Let’s leave our towns and cities
and gladly suffer for the Friend.
Let’s wrap our arms around our Beloved’s waist.

      Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

Let’s not be bewildered by the world.
Let’s not be cheated by its sudden dying.
Let’s not sit together never touching.

      Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

Let’s give up this transient world
and fly to the lasting land of the Friend.
Let’s give up all the playthings of the nafs.

      Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

Be a guide to me on this journey.
Let’s set our destination at the Friend,
Not thinking where we begin or end.

      Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

This world isn’t everlasting.
With eyes half-open it is tempting.
Be a companion of lovers and a lover.

      Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

Before the news of death reaches us,
Before the hour when he grabs us by the collar,
Before Azrail makes his sudden move,

      Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

Let’s arrive at the Divine Truth
and inquire there about Reality.
      Let’s take Yunus Emre with us —

            and go to the Friend, my soul.

— from Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey, Translated by Jennifer Ferraro / Translated by Latif Bolat

/ Photo by worak /

I like this image of calling to the soul to become a traveling companion on the road to the Friend.

Let’s go to the Friend, my soul.

It’s humorous when you think about it. The soul is already a part of yourself, why should you have to coax it? You might even say that the soul is yourself, something closer to your real self. Wouldn’t the soul already be on the journey to the Friend, perhaps already at the Friend’s door?

And what other part of the self is speaking? It would seem to be the surface, social sense of self, the named self, the little self, the ego, the nafs. You get the feeling that the self doing the speaking is the actually the hesitant one, trying to convince itself. There’s a sort of self-teasing here, a bit of bravado while gathering courage for the journey.

We all need a nudge, and the best nudge comes from within.

And, oh yes–

Let’s take Yunus Emre with us

Yunus Emre, Yunus Emre poetry, Muslim / Sufi poetry Yunus Emre

Turkey (1238 – 1320) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Yunus Emre is considered by many to be one of the most important Turkish poets. Little can be said for certain of his life other than that he was a Sufi dervish of Anatolia. The love people have for his liberating poetry is reflected in the fact that many villages claim to be his birthplace, and many others claim to hold his tomb. He probably lived in the Karaman area.

His poetry expresses a deep personal mysticism and humanism and love for God.

He was a contemporary of Rumi, who lived in the same region. Rumi composed his collection of stories and songs for a well-educated urban circle of Sufis, writing primarily in the literary language of Persian. Yunus Emre, on the other hand, traveled and taught among the rural poor, singing his songs in the Turkish language of the common people.

A story is told of a meeting between the two great souls: Rumi asked Yunus Emre what he thought of his great work the Mathnawi. Yunus Emre said, “Excellent, excellent! But I would have done it differently.” Surprised, Rumi asked how. Yunus replied, “I would have written, ‘I came from the eternal, clothed myself in flesh, and took the name Yunus.'” That story perfectly illustrates Yunus Emre’s simple, direct approach that has made him so beloved.

More poetry by Yunus Emre

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Yunus Emre – Let’s Take Yunus Emre”

  1. marrobon 27 Aug 2012 at 2:56 pm


    It is so good to have the golden thread of your selection and commentary
    back , weaving insights into the day.

    Saddened at the news of a colleague’s passing, Yunus Emre helps put his
    passing into perspective……’ the world isn’t everlasting’ .

    I enjoy too the historical background that helps locate him , ‘ground’ him in
    the lineage of sufis, where he lived, the surroundings that must have
    formed him in exotic Anatolia ( why did so many known sufis come ftom there? )

    Asked to read a poem at the funeral, I think I’ll choose this one. It lightens
    grief, somehow. Good choice.

    Once again, thank you.

  2. Peter Mountainon 27 Aug 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I may be a bit messed up in my thinking, but I’ve always considered “The Friend” to be my soul.

  3. Djanion 27 Aug 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Yes my friend ,you did messed up but somehow you did’t.You are in the boat,your soul,wich float on the water,the Friend.You have a nice jorney.Concerning Yunus,Ivan you said it so but it’s true ,most of the teaching of him came to us in musical form,even today,musicians,troubadours used to sing his poetery village to village decade after decades and never loosed his freshness,so great he is.His poetery rather will enflame you,by reminding you your truth,The truth,to you,with love, to the kings,with respect,to tyrans with no fear and to himself with passion.

  4. Jelenaon 28 Aug 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Ivan, I like your Thought of the Day: Everyone is agnostic until gnosis.
    We must make a contact with the God Within and know. Until then, it is the absence of true and intimate knowledge of the divine.

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