Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘Rumi’

To Be or Not To Be

41SUqh9JdSLNobody In the Box – A Poem by Soodabeh Saeidnia. Illustrated by Seyedeh Masoumeh Hosseini. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

Nobody In the Box is completely outside the box (in English and Farsi). In fact, it is neither in nor out, of any sense of containment. The illustrations, by Ms. Hosseini, which accompany each section of the poem, brilliantly and beautifully compliment the words, and stand on their own as exquisite works of art.┬áMs. Saeidnia writes about emptiness within emptiness, and the friction between being and not being, with just a whiff of Persian poets Hafiz and Rumi’s insight into being something greater than ourselves, yet also completely within us.

Expecting no assistance
From the ocean, the sky, and the earth,
Even from the box itself,
I can only turn into an invisible Wish
Waiting for a special event,
A phenomenan, a moment,
In which “nothing” may turn into “something”

Reading this poetry is like hearing a melody, and reminds us that everything is nothing and nobody, until we give it (or them) labels and meaning. Dr. Saeidnia’s work in various countries around the world, with pharmacology and an array of compounds, informs her understanding of how interdependent things (and people) are and how they can appear and disappear.

The box’s sigh penetrated space,
Bent the contours of time,
Surged forward and touched the nothingness
Nobody heard the box’s sigh,
Felt the pain of missing,
And for the first time Nobody wished:
“I wish I was somebody”

Nobody In the Box brings attention to desire, wishes, moments – all temporary and which may, or may not arise; and if so, from where, who and/or what? What is our reality? Are our bodies and minds like a box, wanting to be acknowledged, labeled, noticed, or have “something” happen? Are we the same as everybody else, with nothing to distinguish us from others? What is the essence of matter, and does it matter?

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The Beauty of Death

From Rumi: Poet and Mystic 1207-1273. Translated from the Persian with Introduction and Notes by Reynold A. Nicholson (1950).

The Beauty of Death

He who deems death to be lovely as Joseph gives up his soul in ransom for it; he who deems it to be like the wolf turns back from the path of salvation.

Every one’s death is of the same quality as himself, my lad: to the enemy of God an enemy, to the friend of God a friend.

In the eyes of the Turcoman the mirror is fair; in the eyes of the Ethiopian it is dark as an Ethiopian.

Your fear of death is really fear of yourself: see what it is from which you are fleeing!

‘Tis your own ugly face, not the visage of Death: your spirit is like the tree, and death like the leaf.

It has grown from you, whether it be good or evil: all your hidden thoughts, foul or fair, are born from yourself.

If you are wounded by thorns, you planted them; and if you are clad in satin and silk, you were the spinner.

Know that the act is not of the same complexion as its result; a service rendered is not homogenous with the fragment given in return.

The laborer’s wage is dissimilar to his work: the latter is the accident, while the former is the substance.

The latter is wholly toil and effort and sweat, the former is wholly silver and gold and viands.

When the worshiper has sown a prostration or genuflection here, it becomes the Garden of the Blessed hereafter.

When praise of God has flown from his mouth, the Lord of the Daybreak fashions it into a fruit of Paradise.

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