Sunday, 3 April 2011

Sleep On (Rumi)

This is my version of a poem by the 13th century poet Rumi, based on the literal translation by Arberry. I originally did this last summer, but I didn't understand it then. I only understood it now, when typing and re-writing it to post here. The "you" and "we" are not necessarily corresponding to separate entities. They may be part of the same, but they are the relative versus the absolute, the body/soul versus the mystical spirit.
Sleep On
You who are not possessed by Love, bid goodnight and be gone.
Since Love and Love’s sorrow are not your lot, you may sleep on.
We, whose passion for the Loved One has set alight our heart,
Are burning now with Love’s sorrow that we should be apart.
And so in quest for union, we hurry like a river,
While you who have never had your heart pierced by Love’s quiver,
Nor suffered ceaseless anguish for the source from whence Love shone,
Since your passion is for suppers and desserts, so sleep on.
Love’s path is not among the seventy-two ways, so sleep on,
For your love and way is pure hypocrisy and a con.
The sunrise is our dawn cup, the twilight dusk our supper,
In quest for the grail of truth, we melt ourselves like copper.
You, whose philosopher’s stone is the bedfellow, sleep on.
Like a drunk, you fall and rise till night's passed, yet still sleep on.
Now it’s prayer time, but fate bars me from slumber, so be gone.
Your sleep passed you by, now you’re fresh for slumber, so sleep on.
We have fallen prey into Love’s hand – now what will Love do?
You in your own hands, sleep on, choosing the right hand that’s true.
I’m the one who drinks blood, you my soul the one who eats on,
Since fine foods for a certainty demand slumber, sleep on.
I have abandoned hope for my brain – my head is undone.
If you aspire for a fresh and juicy brain, then sleep on.
I have rent the garment of speech, and let the words be gone.
For you who are not naked and possess a robe, sleep on.


  1. Thanks for dropping by Lin, and also for the Rumi poems you posted a while back. My tiredness disappeared and I ended up staying up quite late last night...and walking back home, I heard what must have been owls calling out to each other. I wonder if it's mating season? I'm off now for the Easter break! Have fun everyone...I hope you get a peaceful time off too.

  2. Rumi has always taken me to see, who looks out through these eye's, or hears from these ears...... thankyou for bring his wisdom through your words..

    "I heard what must have been owls calling out to each other."

    How absolutely wonderful I love the sounds of nature calling ...... next time you get the opportunity to listen, you just might recognize they are calling to you as well, ... : )

    glad you feel rested
    Stay blessed gentle being.

  3. Rumi....a genuine master painting the spirit of a soul with the sweet caress of his words. Great post...

  4. Passionate soliloquy! This was new to me.... thanks Okei for posting it...

  5. Beautifully interpreted.

    Thank you.