Rumi's Circle

a community of lovers

Readings from Ruminations: Saints & Seekers


We had a wonderful Ruminations event on Saturday at Huddersfield Parish, St. Peter’s Church. Thanks to all who braved the wet and windy elements to join us for poetry, hot drinks and cake, and special thanks to Kirklees Faiths Forum for sponsoring the day.

Readings from the day:

Dark night of the soul

One dark night,
fired with love’s urgent longings
— ah, the sheer grace! —
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

In darkness and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
— ah, the sheer grace! —
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where he waited for me
— him I knew so well —
in a place where no one else appeared.

Oh guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover.

Upon my flowering breast
which I kept wholly for him alone,
there he lay sleeping,
and I caressing him
there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

When the breeze blew from the turret
parting his hair,
he wounded my neck
with his gentle hand,
suspending all my senses.

I abandoned and forgot myself,
laying my face on the Beloved;
all things ceased; I went out from myself,
leaving all my cares
forgotten among the lilies.

[St John of the Cross]

If I Adore You

If I adore You out of fear of Hell,
Burn me in Hell!
If I adore you out of desire for Paradise,
Lock me out of Paradise.
But if I adore you for Yourself alone,
Do not deny to me Your eternal beauty.

[Rabia al-Adawiyya]

Water has no bounds

Water, does not take kindly to a person, whenever they might be,
Spittar and Spatter, in the far moorland unite, and for a sinuous stream
Rolling, churning, down the droves of peat, busy water, gathers a pace
And now a brook, but small in size, water has no bounds.

Tribute’s further down the fell, joined other tribute’s asunder,
Force and noise, rushing and calm, death and exaltation
Weirs, which leaves ponds of crisp and clear, as the morning dew drops
For fish playing and birds to relax, water has no bounds.

Thrust and calmness, the path of falls
Quieter reach’s, between them forsook
Meandering on, till it meets the sea
Water has no bounds.

[Richard Rothery]

Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret,
and in exchange gain the Ocean.
Listen, O drop, bestow upon yourself this honour,
and in the arms of the Sea be secure.
Who indeed should be so fortunate?
An Ocean wooing a drop!
In God’s name, in God’s name, sell and buy at once!
Give a drop, and take this Sea full of pearls.

[Mevlana Rumi, Mathnawi IV, 2619-262,] The Pocket Rumi, tr. by Kabir Helminski]

What does it mean to learn the knowledge of God’s Unity?
To consume yourself  in the presence of the One.
If you wish to shine like day,
burn up the night of self-existence.
Dissolve in the Being who is everything.
You grabbed hold of “I” and “we,”
and this dualism is your ruin.

[Mevlana Rumi, Mathnawi I, 3009-12, Jewels of Remembrance, tr. by Kabir & Camille Helminski]

If there are a hundred religious books, they are but one chapter:
a hundred different religions seek but one place of worship.
All these roads end in one House:
all these thousand ears of corn are from one Seed.
All the hundred thousand sorts of food and drink
are but one thing if one looks to their final cause.
When you are entirely satiated with one kind of food,
fifty other kinds of food become displeasing to your heart.
In hunger, then, you are seeing double,
for you have regarded as more than a hundred thousand
that which is but One.

[Mevlana Rumi, Mathnawi VI, 3667-3671, Jewels of Remembrance, tr. by Kabir & Camille Helminski]

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