May 10 2019

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi – There is some kiss we want

Published by at 10:34 am under Poetry

There is some kiss we want
by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

English version by Coleman Barks

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild Darling!

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.

Close the language-door,
and open the love-window.

The moon won’t use the door,
only the window.

/ Image by Unionhoney /

Isn’t this a wonderful selection?

I haven’t identified the original verses, so I don’t know how closely Barks’s version reflects the original lines. Barks tends to do rather loose renditions of Rumi, but with a sense of the poem’s heart and passionate abandon.

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives…

Whatever we spend our lives doing, whatever we desperately seek or crave through the decades, underlying it all, that’s what we really want– that secret kiss, that feeling of being touched by Spirit. Not is some intellectual or philosophical sense, but in our embodied lives, not as a feeling or a thought or a belief, but as a sort of recognition. A self-recognition. We want to know in the deepest sense. Everything else we seek on a more surface level is either in pursuit of that, or sometimes in denial of that, but always an outgrowth of it, that kiss we want with our whole lives.

Close the language-door,
and open the love-window.

Try as we might, we can’t think our way into heaven. No matter how skillfully we conceptualize and elaborate even the most elevated ideas, that isn’t the way in.

The open heart is the way. It is the open window. Best for the verbalizing mind to fall silent or, when it is active, to work in service to the awakening heart.

Because, after all…

The moon won’t use the door,
only the window.

PS- Website Adventures

I have been a bit distracted this week trying to sort out multiple technical problems with the Poetry Chaikhana’s website and Internet service provider. Hopefully, this is nothing you have bumped into trying to visit the site. We should have everything resolved soon. It’s all behind the scenes stuff that you don’t need to be especially concerned with, but since it has been a major focus for my week, I thought I would mention it.

At some point I should probably do a major redesign of the Poetry Chaikhana site. I have had the site up for 15 years now. Quite an accomplishment on the peripatetic web! While the content has expanded and changed, much of the basic design and structure is the same as when I started. Since I run the Poetry Chaikhana in my spare time, and balanced with chronic fatigue issues, I have only done basic maintenance since that initial creation. It might be getting time to bring the site into the modern era of web design before long. It’s a matter of being able to organize my schedule and finances to dedicate the time necessary.

Maybe I should ask you, the Poetry Chaikhana community: Would you appreciate an updated Poetry Chaikhana site? Not only the look and feel, which feels a bit static by modern sensibilities, but with a more dynamic and searchable structure. While I don’t know exactly when I will get to changes, I do welcome your feedback.

Recommended Books: Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom
More Books >>

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi poetry, Muslim / Sufi poetry Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

Afghanistan & Turkey (1207 – 1273) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

I haven’t yet sketched out a short biography about Rumi. It always feels a bit foolish to try to distill a rich, full life into just a few paragraphs, but it’s especially difficult with Rumi since so much has been written about him and his life.

How about just a few interesting details about Rumi:

Rumi was born in Balkh, in what is today Afghanistan. While he was still a child his family moved all the way to Konya in Asia Minor (Turkey). They moved to flee from Mongol invaders who were beginning to sweep into Central Asia. Konya, far to the west of the invaded territories, became one of the major destinations for expatriates to settle, turning the city into a cosmopolitan center of culture, education, and spirituality. (These lands were part of the Persian Empire, so, while he lived most of his life in what is today called Turkey, culturally he was Persian.)

In fact, Rumi wasn’t the only famous Sufi teacher living in Konya at the time. The best known spiritual figure in Konya at the time was not Rumi, but the son-in-law of the greatly respected Sufi philosopher ibn ‘Arabi. The wonderful Sufi poet Fakhruddin Iraqi also lived in Konya at the same time as Rumi.

“Rumi” was not his proper name; it was more of a nickname. Rumi means literally “The Roman.” Why the Roman? Asia Minor (Turkey) was referred to as the land of the Rum, the Romans. The Byzantine Empire, which had only recently been pushed back to a small area of control around Constantinople, was still thought of as the old Eastern Roman Empire. Rumi was nicknamed the Roman because he lived in what was once the Eastern Roman Empire. …But not everyone calls him Rumi. In Afghanistan, where he was born, they call him Balkhi, “the man from Balkh,” to emphasize his birth in Afghanistan.

Rumi’s father was himself a respected religious authority and spiritual teacher. Rumi was raised and educated to follow in his father’s footsteps. And, in fact, Rumi inherited his father’s religious school. But this was all along very traditional lines. Rumi was already a man with religious position when he first started to experience transcendent states of spiritual ecstasy. This created a radical upheaval, not only in himself, but also within his rather formal spiritual community as everyone tried to adjust to their leader’s transformation.

One more note about Rumi’s father: It was only after his death that some of the father’s private writings were discovered, revealing that he himself was also a profound mystic, though he had kept this part of himself private, apparently even from his son Rumi.

Many of Rumi’s poems make reference to the sun. This always has layered meaning for Rumi since he was deeply devoted to his spiritual teacher Shams of Tabriz… as the name Shams means “the sun.” The sun for Rumi becomes the radiance of God shining through his beloved teacher.

The spiritual bond between Rumi and Shams was profound, but the two individuals were very different. Rumi was a member of the educated elite within the urban expatriate community, while Shams was a poor wandering mystic who rarely stayed in one place long. Shams would often disappear unexpectedly, then return months later. Many of Rumi’s family and students were jealous of Shams, resenting the closeness he shared with their master. Finally, Shams disappeared, never to return. Some believe that he was actually kidnapped and murdered, possibly by Rumi’s own sons! Or he may have simply followed his dervish nature and journeyed on, never to return to Konya.

You’ve heard of “whirling dervishes,” right? Not all Sufis practice that spinning meditative dance. That is specific to the Mevlana Sufis, founded by — yes, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi. The story is told that Rumi would circle around a column, while ecstatically reciting his poetry. The spinning is a meditation on many levels. It teaches stillness and centeredness in the midst of movement. One hand is kept raised to receive from heaven, the other hand is kept lowered to the earth, thus the individual becomes a bridge joining heaven and earth.

More poetry by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

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8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi – There is some kiss we want”

  1. Karenon 10 May 2019 at 11:32 am

    I love the site as it is. Do what you must, but my heart longs for familiar
    things, simple, uncomplicated.

    Thank you for asking, and

    be well.

  2. CAROL BURNSon 10 May 2019 at 11:45 am

    Oh Ivan, this is a lovely selection. Thank You. And I love Poetry Chaikhana as it
    is, but would be quite open to a new format and am sure I would love it as well.

    Thank You for your wonderful work!

  3. Harvey Gillmanon 10 May 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Wonderful poem with inspiring commentary. I find the site fine as it is, but am happy to leave format to your discernment.

  4. Brenda Pikeon 10 May 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Am so thankful to see others also, like myself, love the site as it is Ivan.
    You are remembered every day for so grateful for you.
    You will be led ,as you always are. Thank you.

  5. Sylviaon 10 May 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Dear Ivan,

    I’m with Karen on this. Maybe I am part of an older demographic! and fed up with change. (Not that change is going anywhere soon.) Maybe it is a failure of imagination on my part of how it could be better – I have never had any thoughts it could be better. Just very very grateful for what you do.

    All good wishes to you Ivan,

  6. mystic meanderingon 10 May 2019 at 11:37 pm

    Hi Ivan 🙂 I really have no opinion either way… Just this thought. It’s kind of like “branding”- people get used to a certain “brand”/look, etc. You ARE the “Tea House.” And people also like consistency. But it sounds like your “Heart” is moving you in the direction of change 🙂 Maybe you’ve been “kissed by Spirit” as the poem says… Go with that _/\_

  7. Annaon 11 May 2019 at 8:29 am

    Hi Ivan!

    When the Spirit ‘kiss’ someone, as they say, 74% or even more of his life force is going to embody this ‘kiss’! It is not romantic, sentimental ‘kiss’ at all!

    As we all know, it is a great transformation, alchemist experience for all, as well from my personal view and personal experience.

    So, my advice is, save your life force as much as you can to function day-to-day in this world, while embody so great energy. It is not funny!

    We all like ‘Tea house’ the way it is, you don’t need outer cosmetic, especially exactly in these hard for everyone times.

    But in the end, it is your choice, go with the flow, listen to your Higher Self and let Spirit lead you…

  8. Gloria Leeon 13 May 2019 at 5:59 am

    Not being tech savvy myself, it’s hard to imagine how you mean “more searchable”. Perhaps a new search feature can be added without revamping the entire design? To me it seems fine as it is, as others have said. Knowing the limits of your energy may fluctuate, I would beware undertaking a project that may be a burden to finish. As usual, you will be guided. Still, why not just seek opinions of web designers who might do it for you? I would be happy to contribute extra if that is your choice.

    So many are grateful for the time and thought you have put into your site. You are loved.

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