Rumi: This place is a dream....

This page is a work in progress. Over the last few years, I've tremendously enjoyed listening to Rumi poetry, especially recited by Duncan Mackintosh and Coleman Barks. 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. Some have been deleted by YouTube, hope to retrieve those and post clean copies here.

Here is Barks talking about the origins of his work on Rumi. These are probably my favorites by Barks -- with some minimal and tasteful music and interesting video juxtapositions: 

A fellow named Morris did some remarkable videos of Duncan Mackintosh doing Rumi recitations while playing his lute. His commentary about them and modern life is also compelling. These videos were deleted by YouTube in all of Google's wisdom -- example

This poem is also available via Facebook. Transcribed below based on this.

There is one thing in this world which you must never forget to do.

If you forget everything else and not this, there is nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.

That work is the purpose. If you don’t do it, it’s as though a knife of the finest tempering were nailed into a wall to hang things on.

For a penny an iron nail could be bought to serve for that.

Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your Lord. Give your life to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don’t, you will be like the one who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his dipper gourd. You will be wasting valuable keenness and foolishly ignoring your dignity and your purpose.

Like a deep truth inside a lie, like the taste of butter
in buttermilk, that's how

spirit is held in form. For a long time butter stays
invisibly present in

the churn mixture. Then a prophet comes with a dasher, or
it might be someone

who has heard the words of a saint and is connected to that
one as an infant is when

it hears its mother. The baby doesn't understand language,
but knows the voice sound,

and gradually learns what talking means. We're all
born dumb. Only God

did not have to be taught to speak a tongue, though Adam
learned without a nurse or

a mother, and it is said that Jesus came articulate into
the world, but the rest of us,

need a lot of attention, much shaking by a sheikh, much
turning and paddling. Slowly the inner

butter emerges. Don't throw away buttermilk too soon!
Do the work, and you'll

begin to hear even inside the maundering drunk talk of
the tavern, the presence

of the host who served this wine to us. The life-energy in a
body contains eternity.

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 wolvesthat you must face.The retaliation that sometimes comes now,the swift, payback hit,is just a boy's gameto 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.