I was dead, then alive.
Weeping, then laughing.
The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.
He said, ‘You’re not mad enough.
You don’t belong in this house.’
I went wild and had to be tied up.
He said, ‘Still not wild enough
to stay with us!’
I broke through another layer
He said, ‘Its not enough.’
He said, ‘You are a clever little man,
full of fantasy and doubting.’
I plucked out my feathers and became a fool.
He said, ‘Now you are the candle
for this assembly.’
But I’m no candle. Look!
I’m scattered smoke
He said, ‘You are the Sheikh, the guide.’
But I’m not a teacher. I have no power.
He said, ‘You already have wings.
I cannot give you wings.’
But I wanted his wings.
I felt like some flightless chicken.
Then new events said to me,
‘Don’t move. A sublime generosity is
coming towards you.’
And old love said, ‘Stay with me.’
I said, ‘I will.’
You are the fountain of the sun’s light.
I am a willow shadow on the ground.
You make my raggedness silky.
The soul at dawn is like darkened water
that slowly begins to say Thank you, thank you.
Then at sunset, again, Venus gradually
Changes into the moon and then the whole nightsky.
This comes of smiling back
at your smile.
The chess master says nothing,
other than moving the silent chess piece.
That I am part of the ploys
of this game makes me
-Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Aliveness is only the beginning! And laughter is one of the great signs of that. I see it as exhilaration really, dancing and spinning in the sheer beauty of joy and laughter.
And then comes the madness – the madness of divine irrationality perhaps – a joy that is truly incomprehensible to those who are not in it. Who can truly understand surrender so great, so huge? And in this poem, even dying is not the end, but another beginning.