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Poems Inspired by Rumi

By Elliott Robertson

Two of my favorite books of poetry are The Forbidden Rumi: The Suppressed Poems of Rumi on Love, Heresy, and Intoxication, from Inner Traditions, and The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, from HarperCollins, which includes several poems by Rumi.  The poems in both books have served as seeds of inspiration.


Praise to the emptiness that blanks our existence. Existence:

This place made from our love for that emptiness!

Yet somehow comes emptiness,

this existence goes.

Praise to that happening, over and over!

Rumi, The Enlightened Heart, Translations by Stephen Mitchell, page 63. 



Imagine God’s delight when the words I had written

were all swept out the window

onto the slanted roof.  Now I was free

to stand in the moment.  Now I was free

to drink in the emptiness within my house.


My silly words about existence, something

about roses sending their fragrance to the sky:

All these words swept out.

Only the sweet scent remains.

Words don’t serve to tell me who I am.


The lamb may learn something about her nature

and her soul when she bleats.

The cat may also find her I AM when she meows;

horses when they neigh.

These languages beyond syntax and word live in the flesh

and cells. They bubble from the heart

much like a cry.


Imagine God’s delight when I learned the language

of the lamb, no longer stumbling over a need for words

to understand.  God knew my heart

was drinking in emptiness and light,

no longer roped in the small world

of subjects, objects, things.

God knew I was now free to smell the rose.


He embraced me like his own soul.                          

My doubts and ill feelings left me.

He put his beautiful face on my shoulder.

Rumi, “He Embraced Me Like His Own Soul,” The Forbidden Rumi, Translations by Nevit  O. Ergin and Will Johnson, page 43.


 O lover of my soul,

please place your face upon my shoulder,

please feel the longing for your presence in my heart.


Take me to your garden,

let us tumble in the grass --

I want to know I’m not alone.


Pour a glass of water for the two of us to share,

soothe me with clear sight and true sounds --

I want to see my soul just as she is.


Take from my heart the veils that deceive me,

hold me near the brilliance of your light --

I yearn to know only one thing:


You are the Root, the Giver of Life, for the tulip and the elm --

you are the Source of glory in each blade of grass and in my soul --

with every breath I take, you say my name.