Suffering, the flame of Spirit, the one and the many, dissolution, union. The poem for this episode of the Rumi Hour is The Center Of The Fire.
All Rumi poems come from The Essential Rumi, translations by Coleman Barks, with John Moyne, Castle Books, 1995.
THE CENTER OF THE FIRE
No more wine for me!
I'm past delighting in the thick red
and the clear white.
I'm thirsty for my own blood
as it moves into a field of action.
Draw the keenest blade you have
and strike, until the head circles
about the body.
Make a mountain of skulls like that.
Split me apart.
Don't stop at the mouth!
Don't listen to anything I say.
I must enter the center of the fire.
Fire is my child
but I must be consumed
and become fire.
Why is there crackling and smoke?
Because the firewood and the flames
are still talking.
"You are too dense. Go away!"
"You are too wavering. I have solid form."
In the blackness those two friends keep arguing.
Like a wanderer with no face.
Like the most powerful bird in existence
sitting on its perch, refusing to move.
What can I say to someone so curled up with wanting,
so constricted in his love?
Break your pitcher against a rock.
We don't need any longer
to haul pieces of the ocean around.
We must drown, away from heroism,
and descriptions of heroism.
Like a pure spirit lying down, pulling its body over it, like a bride her husband for a cover to keep her warm.
Someone who goes with half a loaf of bread
to a small place that fits like a nest around him,
someone who wants no more, who's not himself
longed for by anyone else,
He is a letter to everyone. You open it.
It says, Live.
The mystery does not get clearer by repeating the question,
nor is it bought with going to amazing places.
Until you've kept your eyes
and your wanting still for fifty years,
you don't begin to cross over from confusion.