Rumi: This place is a dream....

[Over the last few years, I've tremendously enjoyed listening to Rumi poetry, especially recited by Duncan Mackintosh and Coleman Barks. Here's one by Mackintosh that I've transcribed (based on this), below. I hope to write about my interpretations of them over time, but for now, I felt it would be good to simply start posting them.] 


This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.

Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.

But there's a difference with this dream.
Everything cruel and unconscious
done in the illusion of the present world,
all that does not fade away at the death-awakening.

It stays,
and it must be interpreted.
All the mean laughing,all the quick sexual wanting,
those torn coats of Joseph,
they change into powerful wolves
that you must face.

The retaliation that sometimes comes now,
the swift, payback hit,
is just a boy's game
to what the other will be.

You know about circumcision here.
It's full castration there! 

And this groggy time we live,
And this groggy time we live,
this is what it's like:

A man goes to sleep in the house where he has always lived, 
and dreams he's living in another house in another town.

In his dream, he believes the reality of the dream down.
He doesn't remember
the bed he's sleeping in his house in. 

The world is that kind of sleep.

The dust of many crumbled cities
settles over us like a forgetful dream.

The dust of many crumbled cities
settles over us like a forgetful dream,
but we are older than those cities.

We began as a mineral. We emerged into plant life
and then into animal state, and then into being human,
and always we have forgotten our former states,
except in early spring when we slightly recall
being green again.

This is how a young person turns toward a teacher. 
This is how a baby leans toward the breast, 
without knowing the secret
of its desire, yet turning instinctively.

Humankind is being led along 
through this migration of intelligences, 
and though we seem to be sleeping,
and though we seem to be sleeping,
there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream,

and that will eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are --

there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream,

and that will eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are --
hopefully soon.