This little pink book of Rumi Poetry translated by writer Farrukh Dhondy is radiant. The poems included in this collection are brief, some only a stanThis little pink book of Rumi Poetry translated by writer Farrukh Dhondy is radiant. The poems included in this collection are brief, some only a stanza or a few lines, but such is the poetry of Rumi, short and piercing, yet peaceful and meditative, a glimpse of another time and place, yet contemporary. This thirteenth-century Sufi poet is the most popular one in our current culture, the best selling poet of all time, because of his ability to connect with a simple voice and resonating, universal message that speaks across all religions. Reading each verse is like a meditation in itself.
Dhondy introduces his collection with a compelling and helpful essay, “Rumi, Sufism and the Modern World.” He expounds how Sufism is in truth a universal religion of the spirit that adopted the disciplines of Islam and used its dynamism to disseminate itself. For other orders of Islam, acceptance of the five pillars, the obedience of Sharia, and ritual observance, are necessary to deem oneself a good Muslim. But for the Sufi, these are the minimal garb, the outer, “hollow” forms of Islam. The essence of Sufi devotion is the spiritual awakening, he writes, the oneness and the light. All ritual or practice must lead to that. All paths lead to the one. Dhondy also includes a personal note about translating this collection at the end.
The verses selected are from the Mathnawi, Diwan-e Shams-e and The Discourses. Though I am not a Sufi scholar, or well versed in his poetry (though I have read some other collections and translations), I can only comment as a lay reader. But I have to say that I immensely enjoyed this translation. My job is not to judge the translator, but to appreciate his interpretation. Translation is a science but it is also an art, and as an art, the poems were beautifully translated. Each poem has its own charm and poignancy. I always like to include a poem from a collection that I review. Here is one of my favorites below.
There are no rules of worship He will hear The voice of every heart That is sincere. ...more
This is truly an incredible book, and has changed the way I look at friendship. For anyone fascinated by the soul, spiritual poetry, or friendship, esThis is truly an incredible book, and has changed the way I look at friendship. For anyone fascinated by the soul, spiritual poetry, or friendship, especially by the friendship of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, one of the greatest creative mysteries of all time, get your hands on this book! Reading about their relationship and the poetry they both penned, all incredibly presented and translated by Coleman Barks, who I believe is a genius, has allowed me to see connections in an entirely different way, as "soul friendships.”
This compilation by Barks is truly a gift to all readers and lovers of Rumi! It is just as stellar as many of his other bestselling translations such as The Big Red Book, Bridge to the Soul, The Essential Rumi and The Book of Love, all of which I have read.
Some of my favorite passages from Soul Fury are below. Half of the book is the words of Rumi, the other half from Shams of Tabriz. What a beautiful homage to their friendship.
A warm, rainy day—this is how it feels when friends get together. Friend refreshes friend then, as flowers do each other, in a spring rain.
Your soul knows all about everything, whether you say anything or not.
We are a brush in the hand of the mystery that is painting this soul-making universe.
Your friends, the beloveds, all live within the circle of BE! The heart is a point of union—moreso than even the sky.
I came here for the refuge of friendship. For someone with whom I can be true to myself, no hypocrisy, no pretending anything.
Search within yourself. The great mystery is there.
From this compilation, we can see clearly that the deepest union of souls can be in the freedom of friendship! ...more
Mary Oliver's collection of poems, A Thousand Mornings, published this fall, is a poignant meditation on nature and the self. It reminded me of the naMary Oliver's collection of poems, A Thousand Mornings, published this fall, is a poignant meditation on nature and the self. It reminded me of the nature writings of Annie Dillard, the essays of Thoreau and Emerson, and the poems of Whitman and the Transcendentalists. Oliver could be an adopted poet of that movement.
The poems are almost naked, sometimes abrupt, but if nature could speak, this is what she could say. Oliver is certainly awed by her surroundings, the sea, animals and the spirituality of nature. I think the best way to depict her style is to include one of her poems.
I Go Down to the Shore
I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall— what should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do.
I had never heard of Mary Oliver before reading this little black and grey book of poems. I felt ignorant for not having heard of her. She is one of the most renowned poets of our time, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a recipient of the National Book Award.
Pithy and stark, her new collection is a quick read, but you find yourself reading each poem over and over again. They are unlike anything I've ever read, and I highly recommend them to other readers of nature and spirituality. ...more