a community of lovers
Thank you to everyone who attended the first Hale Barns Ruminations. It was beautiful to share time with so many hearts. We are pleased to share the poems we read on the day. And keep an eye out for future Ruminations at the same venue!
Observe the qualities of expansion and contraction
in the fingers of your hand:
Surely after the closing of the fist comes the opening.
If the fingers were always closed or always open,
the owner would be crippled.
Your movement is governed by these two qualities:
They are as necessary to you
as two wings are to a bird…
[Mathnawi III, 3762-66, tr. by Kabir Helminski]
Surely there is a window from heart to heart:
they are not separate or far from each other.
Though two earthenware lamps are not joined,
their light mingles.
No lover seeks union without the beloved also seeking,
but the love of lovers makes the body
thin as a bowstring,
while the love of loved ones
makes them shapely and pleasing.
When the lightning of love for the beloved
has shot into this heart,
know that there is love in that heart.
When love for God has been doubled in your heart,
there is no doubt that God has love for you.
No sound of clapping comes forth
from only one hand.
The thirsty man is moaning, “O delicious water!”
The water is calling,
“Where is the one who will drink me?”
This thirst in our souls is the magnetism of the Water:
we are Its, and It is ours.
Divine wisdom decreed us lovers of each other;
all the particles in the world
are fated to be in love with their mates,
just as amber attracts straw.
Heaven says to earth, “Welcome,
we are magnetised to each other.”
To the intellect Heaven is masculine, Earth is feminine;
whatever Heaven sends down,
it is the earth’s to nurture.
If Earth grows cold, Heaven sends warmth;
when Earth gets dry, Heaven pours down rain.
Heaven is almost giddy when it enters the world of time,
like a husband who goes out to find
something to bring home to his wife;
and Earth is a good wife:
it gives birth and suckles what it bears.
Heaven and Earth do intelligent work.
Why else would these two nestle like lovers
if they did not taste delight in each other?
The desire in the female for the male
is so that they might perfect each other’s work,
and the world is preserved by this union.
[Mathnawi III, 4391–4415, tr. by Kabir Helminski]
Love is reckless, not reason.
Reason seeks a profit.
Love comes on strong, consuming herself, unabashed.
Yet, in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone,
hard-surfaced and straightforward.
Having died to self interest,
she risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.
Without cause God gave us Being;
without cause, give it back again.
Gambling yourself away is beyond any religion.
Religion seeks grace and favour,
but those who gamble these away are God’s favourites,
for they neither put God to the test
nor knock at the door of gain and loss.
[Mathnawi VI 1967-74, tr by Kabir Helminski]
Unlearning to Not Speak
She must learn again to speak
starting with I
starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
Love cascades like mist
down stepped fields
wetting them with dew.
High and low
is all love needs
to shed tears.
blown between isobars,
love needs fluctuations,
No borders between you and me
but ebbs and flows, undulations,
mean we must love to understand
or else put up bars where none exist
and break the flow, for what?
In God there are no fissures, only Names.
God is One.
His universe, this difference engine rolls,
not changing Him but displaying
relationships that mean much more than things.
Count things if you can –
two – enumerate the infinite relationships between things is futile,
it’s where love is to be found
one – love is too profound
zero – ground.