18 January 2009

"Children run through and make faces at me"...Another Rumi Poem

I sometimes remember this poem when I consider the ways that being a parent has changed my daily life, and my daily prayer!

I used to be shy.
You made me sing.

I used to refuse things at table.
Now I shout for more wine.

In somber dignity, I used to sit
on my mat and pray.

Now children run through
and make faces at me.

Coleman Barks comments: "In China they tell of three laughing Taoist masters, who taught by going into town and standing in the marketplace and laughing. One of them died. People curious as to how the remaining two would act gathered at the funeral pyre. The other two masters had been given instructions not to prepare the body in any way, not even to change the clothes the dead man was wearing. He had crammed his pockets full of firecrackers. The teaching began again. Rumi's poems are like firecrackers on a funeral pyre. They won't allow much public posturing, and they point us away from misery."

(Coleman Barks with John Moyne, translators, The Essential Rumi, San Francsico, HarperSanFrancisco, 1995: p. 238)

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