Rumi’s Little Book of Love

Rumi’s Little Book of Love

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The selections highlighted by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin in Rumi’s Little Book of Love: 150 Poems That Speak to the Heart (Hampton Roads Publishing, 2009) show much more than love between two people – the term “Beloved” is how Rumi refers to God. But this quest for ecstatic divine love apparently can be as maddening as the search for more mundane love as the poems show the mystic’s passion seems to border on a self-torture of sorts. Rumi is shown to become quite addled by the intensity of his feelings:

The fire of Love blazed in my heart
And consumed everything.My books, my erudition and my mind
I put away on a shelf.
Now I only write poems.

And gorgeous poems they are! While Rumi’s mind whirls like the Sufi dancers, these poems — 700 years later — display a stark beauty and speak of universal truths. Who wouldn’t respond with a sigh to:

Do you know, knower,
what the night is?
It is the sanctuary of lovers.
On this glorious night
I am drunk with the moon.
The moon has fallen in love
and the night has gone mad.

For this reason, this book (attractively decorated with Persian calligraphy) makes a perfect gift for a lover. But don’t stop there. Terms and symbolism are included so that poems that already seem beautiful on the surface take on additional meaning when, for instance, it is understood that the rose garden is the symbol for Paradise, and the veil symbolizes the layers of the ego that separate the self from the divine.

On the path of Love
we are neither masters
nor the owners of our lives.
We are only a brush
in the hand
of the Master Painter.

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers everywhere!

— Review by Diane Saarinen

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dsaarinen, Lea. Lea said: I like it. RT @dsaarinen: Happy Valentine's Day! Why not RUMI-nate a bit on my review of ancient Sufi love poetry? http://bit.ly/erz0vP . […]