The Soul of the World

I have circled awhile with the nine Fathers in each Heaven
For years I have turned with the stars in their signs.
I was invisible awhile,
I was dwelling with Him.
I was in the Kingdom of ‘or nearer’, I saw what I have seen.

I receive my nourishment from God, as a child in the womb;
Man is born once, I have been born many times.
Clothed in a bodily cloak, I have busied myself with affairs,
And often have I torn the cloak with my own hands.

I have passed nights with ascetics in the monastery,
I have slept with infidels before the idols in the temple.
I am the pangs of the jealous, I am the pain of the sick.
I am both cloud and rain: I have rained on the meadows.

Never did the dust of mortality settle on my skirt, o dervish!
I have gathered a wealth of roses in the garden of Eternity.
I am not of water nor fire, I am not of the froward wind,
I am not of moulded clay: I have mocked at them all.

O son, I am not Shams-I Tabriz, I am pure Light.
If you see me, beware! Don’t tell anyone what you saw!

Rumi: Poet and Mystic; RA Nicholson trans