Thursday Poem

Twenty Two

subtle degrees
of domination and servitude
are what you know as love

but love is different
it arrives complete
just there
like the moon in the window

like the sun
of neither east not west
nor of anyplace

when that sun arrives
east and west arrive

desire only that
of which you have no hope
seek only that
of which you have no clue

love is the sea of not-being
and there intellect drowns

this is not the Oxus River
or some little creek
this is the shoreless sea;
here swimming ends
always in drowning

a journey to the sea
is horses and fodder and contrivance
but at land’s end
the footsteps vanish

you lift up your robe
so as not to wet the hem;
come! Drown in this sea
a thousand times

the moon passes over
the ocean of non-being

droplets of spray tear loose
and fall back on the cresting waves

a million galaxies
are a little scum
on that shoreless sea

by Rumi

translation: Daniel Liebert
from Fragments and Ecstacies; Omega Publications,
New Lebanon, NY, 1981