How should the soul not take wings
when from the Glory of God
hears a sweet, kindly call:
“Why are you here, soul? Arise!”
How should a fish not leap fast
into the sea from dry land
When from the ocean so cool
the sound of the waves reaches its
How should the falcon not fly
back to his king from the hunt
When from the falconer’s drum
it hears to call: “Oh, come back”?
Why should not every Sufi
begin to dance atom-like
Around the Sun of duration
that saves from impermanence?
What graciousness and what beauty?
What life-bestowing! What grace!
If anyone does without that, woe-
what err, what suffering!
Oh fly, of fly, O my soul-bird,
fly to your primordial home!
You have escaped from the cage now-
your wings are spread in the air.
Oh travel from brackish water
now to the fountain of life!
Return from the place of the sandals
now to the high seat of souls!
Go on! Go on! we are going,
and we are coming, O soul,
From this world of separation
to union, a world beyond worlds!
How long shall we here in the dust-world
like children fill our skirts
With earth and with stones without value,
with broken shards without worth?
Let’s take our hand from the dust grove,
let’s fly to the heaven’s high,
Let’s fly from our childish behaviour
and join the banquet of men!
Call out, O soul, to proclaim now
that you are rules and king!
You have the grace of the answer,
you know the question as well!
He said: “Who’s knocking at my door?”
Said I: “Your humble servant!”
Said He: “What business have you got?”
Said I: “I came to greet You!”
Said He: “How long are you to push?”
Said I: “Until You’ll call me!”
Said He: “How long are you to boil?”
Said I: “Till resurrection!”
I claimed I was a lover true
and I took may oaths
That for the sake of love I lost
my kingdom and my wealth!
He said: “You make a claim – the judge
needs witness for your cause!”
Said I: “My witness is my tears,
my proof my yellow face!”
Said He: “The witness is corrupt,
your eye is wet and ill!”
Said I: “No, by Your eminence:
My eye is sinless clear!”
He said: “And what do you intend?”
Said I: “Just faithful friendships!”
Said He: “What do you want from me?”
Said I: “Your grace abundant!”
Said He: “Who travelled here with you?”
Said I: “Your dream and phantom!”
Said He: “And what led you to me?”
Said I: “Your goblet’s fragrance!”
Said He: “What is most pleasant, say?”
Said I: “The ruler’s presence!”
Said He: “What did you see there, friend?”
Said I: “A hundred wonders!”
Said He: “Why is it empty now?”
Said I: “From fear of brigands!”
Said He: “The brigand, who is that?”
Said I: “IT is the blaming!”
Said He: “And where is safety then?”
Said: “In renunciation.”
Said He: “Renunciation? That’s … ?”
Said I: “The path to safety!”
Said He: “And where is danger, then?”
Said I: “In Your love’s quarters!”
Said He: “And how do you fare there?”
Said I: “Steadfast and happy.”
I tested you and tested you,
but it availed to nothing –
Who tests the one who was once tried,
he will repent forever!
Be silent! If I’d utter here
the secrets fine he told me,
You would go out all of yourself,
no door nor roof could hold you!
Oh happy day when in your presence,
my ruler, I shall die!
When near the sugar-treasure melting
like sugar I shall die!
Out of my dust will grow a thousand
When in the shade of yonder cypress
in gardens I shall die.
And when you pour into my goblet
the bitter drink of death,
I’ll kiss the goblet full of joy, dear,
and drunken I shall die.
I may turn yellow like the autumn
when people speak of death,
Thanks to your smiling lip: like springtime
and smiling shall I die.
I have died many times, but your breath
made me alive again,
Should I die thus a hundred more times
I happily shall die!
A child that dies in mother’s bosom,
that’s how I am, my friend,
For in the bosom of His Mercy
and kindness, I shall die.
Say: Where would death be for the lovers?
Impossible is that!
For in the fountain of the Water
of Life – there I shall die!
Mevlana Celaleddin Belhī Rūmī
(30 September 1207, Balkh – 17 December 1273, Konya)