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  • Who Says Words with my Mouth?

    All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
    Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
    I have no idea.
    My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
    and I intend to end up there.

    This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
    When I get back around to that place,
    I'll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
    I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
    The day is coming when I fly off,
    but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
    Who says words with my mouth?

    Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
    I cannot stop asking.
    If I could taste one sip of an answer,
    I could break out of this prison for drunks.
    I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
    Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

    This poetry, I never know what I'm going to say.
    I don't plan it.
    When I'm outside the saying of it,
    I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

    Jalal ad Din Rumi

    Persian (Iranian) classical music is often accompanied by sublime lyrical recitations of Sufi mystical poetry. One of the most famous of the Sufi poets was Jalal ad Din Rumi who lived in the thirteenth century and believed that music, poetry and dance were pathways to the "tawhid", union with the beloved or divine, that a mystical journey involved a search for truth, growth through love and an abandonment of all things of the ego. The famous whirling dervishes were from this period of Persian history, their dance was the "Sama", the sacred dance and it is still performed today.

    Rumi's poetry, eight centuries hence, transcends time and speaks to us with a haunting voice.

    We are still, after all this time, thirsting for just one sip of an answer.

    image credit: David Spender, flickr creative commons, attribution non commercial cc license
    audio credit: xcerra,, attribution non commercial cc license, performed by Peyman Heydarian on the santur (Persian dulcimer)
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