I’ve decided to post poems that speak to me from time to time. Maybe I will eventually post one of my own, if i can get it into interwebz shape.
This poem is one I’ve loved for years. There is an obvious depression theme that captured my interest. Honestly, I used to think this poem was actually written by Robert Bly, rather than only translated by him. It is no surprise, though, to find that the actual poet was Rumi.
I particularly like the following line: “Inner gifts do not find their way to creatures without just respect.”
To me, this poem is about letting go of self-pity, which is something I have often had far too much of. When I was deep in depression, I simply did not have the wherewithal to praise. However, this poem, even in those dark times, was like a homing beacon, calling me to the present time, when the sun is so much more full of light.
“We should ask God
To help us towards manners. Inner Gifts
Do not find their way
To creatures without just respect.
If a man or woman flails about, he not only
Smashes his house,
He burns the world down.
Your depression is connected to your insolence
And refusal to praise. If a man or woman is
On the path, and refuses to praise-that man or woman
Steals from others every day-in fact is a shoplifter!
The sun became full of light when it got hold of itself.
Angels began shining when they achieved discipline.
The sun goes out whenever the cloud of not-praising comes near.
The moment that foolish angel felt insolent, he heard the door close.”
-Rumi, as translated by poet Robert Bly