Poetry holds the kindling for the fires of inspiration; a fact I’d learned early on as I embarked on a thesis in the subject as a Sophomore in 2012. My mentor, the wonderful Olga Broumas, taught her classes certain exercises that challenged us to take our writing in different directions by learning from our predecessors. Making poem collages quickly became one of my favorite ways to interact with the texts of other poets in order to express my own feelings through their words.
Hoping to inspire and to re-engage myself in this practice (as is the theme and purpose of this blog) I will periodically share a few poetry collages that I’ve assembled, noting the authors, books, and any additional information to give proper credit.
This week I’ve sampled from the first bunch of sections from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, AKA “Rumi”, was a 13th century Persian poet, scholar, and mystic whose experiences with love, self-exploration, and grief were exemplified for the world to behold in an abundance of poetry. His works are praised for being visceral and real, capturing the human condition in all it’s splendor.
Shahram Shiva, creator of The Rumi Network (1998), says
“Rumi is able to verbalize the highly personal and often confusing world of personal growth and development in a very clear and direct fashion.”
It is this sense of awareness towards inner growth and an acknowledgement of the toils and triumphs that come along with it that draws me over and over to this poet, and makes him feel, to me, continually relevant….
Here are his words restructured through my lens:
I’m so tired of what I’ve been doing
my soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that
and I intend to end up there
my place is placeless, a trace of the traceless
The grief-armies assemble
but I’m not going with them
for years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness
that work is over
there is an original inside me
Let the beauty [I] love be what [I] do
Feeling lonely and ignoble indicates
that you haven’t been patient
Good women are drawn to be with good men
but the body’s desires, in another way, are like an unpredictable associate
whom you must be patient with
Be empty of worrying
more outside the tangle of fear-thinking
how can anyone say what happens even if each of us dips a pen
a hundred million times into ink
A white flower grows in quietness
let your tongue become that flower
be quiet and clear now
Like the final touch points of calligraphy
only that breath breathing human being
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
open the window in the center of your chest
In your presence I don’t want what I thought I wanted
We have fallen into the place
inside this new love, die
the passionate pots boil
shouting and moaning in the love-fire
poets fume shreds of steam
tipsy like the breeze up to some new foolishness
from the ocean vat, wine fire in each cup
But we have ways within each other
the love inside love, the ressurection place
even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense
if I seperated myself from you
I would turn entirely thorn
Your actions mean nothing, the sex and war that you do
soul drunk, body ruined
what hurts you blesses you
a candle is made to become entirely flame
That’s it for now!
Please let me know what you think of both the poems and the practice!
-Rūmī, Jalāl Al-Dīn, and Coleman Barks. The Essential Rumi. San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1995. Print. From the sections: On the Tavern, Bewilderment: I have Five Things to Say, and Emptiness and Silence: The Night Air
-Shiva, Shahram. “Rumi’s Untold Story.” Rumi’s Untold Story. Rumi Network, 1998. Web.