Cover image for The soul of Rumi : a new collection of ecstatic poems
The soul of Rumi : a new collection of ecstatic poems
Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, Maulana, 1207-1273.
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections. English. 2001
First edition.
Publication Information:
[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvii, 425 pages ; 25 cm
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PK6480.E5 J35 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Inside A Lover's Heart There's Another World, And Yet Another

Rumi's masterpieces have inspired countless people throughout the centuries, and Coleman Barks's exquisite renderings of the thirteenth-century Persian mystic are widely considered the definitive versions for our time. Barks's translations capture the inward exploration and intensity that characterize Rumi's poetry, making this unique voice of mysticism and desire contemporary while remaining true to the original poems. In this volume readers will encounter the essence of Sufism's insights into the experience of divine love, wisdom, and the nature of both humanity and God.

While Barks's stamp on this collection is clear, it is Rumi's voice that leaps off these pages with a rapturous power that leaves readers breathless. These poems express our deepest yearning for the transcendent connection with the source of the divine: there are passionate outbursts about the torment of longing for the beloved and the sweet delight that comes from union; stories of sexual adventures and of loss; poems of love and fury, sadness and joy; and quiet truths about the beauty and variety of human emotion. For Rumi, soul and body and emotion are not separate but are rather part of the great mystery of mortal life, a riddle whose solution is love. Above all else, Rumi's poetry exposes us to the delight that comes from being fully alive, urging us always to put aside our fears and take the risk of discovering our core self:

No one knows what makes the soul wake up so happy! Maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil from the face of God.

These fresh, original translations magnificently convey Rumi's insights into the human heart and its longings with his signature passion and daring, focusing on the ecstatic experience of the inseparability of human and divine love. The match between Rumi's sublime poetry and Coleman Barks's poetic art are unequaled, and here this artistic union is raised to new heights.

Author Notes

Coleman Barks was born on April 23, 1937, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1972 he has taught English at the University of Georgia at Athens.

Barks received the New England/Breadloaf Quarterly Narrative Poem Prize and the Southern Poetry Review's Guy Owen Award. His collections of poetry include The Juice and Gourd Seed. Barks is perhaps better known as a translator of the poet Rumi, a thirteenth century Mystic. Rumi is cpnsidered the greatest mystic of the Sufi religion and wrote extensively in Farsi, the language of Iran.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Coleman Barks' translations of Rumi's poems have been instrumental in making Rumi the cultural icon he has become in America. That is in part due to Barks' willingness, even eagerness, to downplay the Islamic foundation of these ecstatic poems. Barks portrays Rumi as a universal mystic, which may arouse the ire of scholars but doesn't dent the appeal of Barks' versions. This new collection, mostly of poems Barks hasn't previously tackled, is likely to maintain that appeal. Presenting the poems in small thematic groups, Barks may not be as concerned with historical context as are Philip Dunn and his associates in The Illustrated Rumi [BKL F 1 01], but he offers the very best of Rumi's beautiful and challenging imagery. The metaphorical representation of fana, the annihilation into God, is brought into particularly compelling focus: "A moth flying into the flame says with its wingfire, try this." Many may never know the Qur'anic verses reflected in Rumi's lines, but as long as Barks is translating them, they will remain popular in English. --John Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Islamic mystical poet Rumi (1207- 1273) improvised the evocative poems which his followers wrote down. Translator Coleman Barks's The Essential Rumi won the Persian writer American fans, some of whom revere the poet as a religious guide. Now Barks is back with The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems. The giant volume includes part of Rumi's 64,000-line Masnavi, as well as many short poems and Barks's copious, informal, personal commentary. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Chapter One A Green Shawl: Solomon's Far Mosque In the early 1990s -- it was December -- I was sitting in meditation under the green dome that houses Rumi's tomb in Konya. Someone came up and gave me a green shawl. As you might imagine, I treasure it still and use it in my meditation. I love the wrapped, rapt feeling. Going in, feeling the limpid contentment in being oneself and the endless discovery there: the green shawl is that, reminiscent of a child's tent-making delight, the rainy-day times when you spread a sheet over a card table and a chair, anchored it with safety pins, and crept under the shelter where imagination could flower. How we forget this tent making for such long spans is a mystery in itself. Rumi tells of Solomon's practice of building each dawn a place made of intention and compassion and sohbet (mystical conversation). He calls it the "far mosque." Solomon goes there to listen to the plants, the new ones that come up each morning. They tell him of their medicinal qualities, their potential for health, and also the dangers of poisoning. I suggest we all get green shawls. "Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you" ("Entrance Door"). Mary's hiding place and the great warehouse ("What Was Told, That" ) are other images of the listening tent, where conversation thrives and love deepens. Rumi often hears it as the birdlike song-talk that begins at dawn under the dome of meditation. Build a far mosque where you can read your soul-book and listen to the dreams that grew in the night. Attar says, Let love lead your soul. Make it a place to retire to, a kind of cave, a retreat for the deep core of being.   Entrance Door How lover and beloved touch is familiar and courteous, but there is a strange impulse in that to create a form that will dissolve all other shapes. Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you. We watch a sunlight dust dance, and we try to be that lively, but nobody knows what music those particles hear. Each of us has a secret companion musician to dance to. Unique rhythmic play, a motion in the street we alone know and hear. Shams is a king of kings like Mahmud, but there's not another pearl-crushing dervish Ayaz like me.   What Was Told, That What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my chest. What was told the cypress that made it strong and straight, what was whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made sugarcane sweet, whatever was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in Turkestan that makes them so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush like a human face, that is being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in language, that's happening here. The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude, chewing a piece of sugarcane, in love with the one to whom every that belongs!   Mary's Hiding Before these possessions you love slip away, say what Mary said when she was surprised by Gabriel, I'll hide inside God. Naked in her room she saw a form of beauty that could give her new life. Like the sun coming up, or a rose as it opens. She leaped, as her habit was, out of herself into the divine presence. There was fire in the channel of her breath. Light and majesty came, I am smoke from that fire and proof of its existence, more than any external form. I want to be where your bare foot walks, because maybe before you step, you'll look at the ground. I want that blessing. Would you like to have revealed to you the truth of the Friend? Leave the rind, and descend into the pith. Fold within fold, the beloved drowns in its own being. This world is drenched with that drowning. Imagining is like feeling around in a dark lane, or washing your eyes with blood. You are the truth from foot to brow. Now, what else would you like to know?   The Husk and Core of Masculinity Masculinity has a core of clarity, which does not act from anger or greed or sensuality, and a husk, which does. The virile center that listens within takes pleasure in obeying that truth. Nobility of spirit, the true spontaneous energy of your life, comes as you abandon other motives and move only when you feel the majesty that commands and is the delight of the self. Remember Ayaz crushing the king's pearl! (Continues...) Excerpted from The Soul of Rumi by Rumi, Introduction and notes by Coleman Barks, and contribution by John Moyne. Copyright © 2001 by Coleman Barks. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xv
Introductionp. 3
Rumi's Life and Times
Some Claims About Poetry and Consciousness
Fana and Baqa
The Question of the Personal
A Note About This Book
1. A Green Shawl: Solomon's Far Mosquep. 15
Entrance Door
What Was Told, That
Mary's Hiding
I want to be where...
Would you like to have revealed to you...
Imagining is like feeling around...
The Husk and Core of Masculinity
2. Initiation: The Necessary Pain of Changingp. 19
Work in the Invisible
A Necessary Autumn Inside Each
A Surprise of Roses
More Range
Choose a Suffering
Climb to the Execution Place
Watch a One-Year-Old
3. Baqa: Inside This Ordinary Daylightp. 28
Walkingstick Dragon
The Opener
Soul Light and Sun the Same
The Pattern Improves
You're from a country beyond this universe...
Essence is emptiness...
We're not afraid of God's blade...
Come to this street with...
Spring overall. But inside us...
This is how I would die...
How will you know the difficulties...
Love is the way messengers...
Back to Being
Three Travelers Tell Their Dreams
4. This Speech: The Source of Dream Visionp. 37
Looking into the Creek
Hometown Streets
A Trace
Creator of Absence and Presence
A Ship Gliding over Nothing
Omar and the Old Poet
5. One Altar: The Inner Meaning of Religionsp. 46
One Song
The Indian Tree
Your Face
Let the Way Itself Arrive
A Cross-Eyed Student
Dear Soul
Four Words for What We Want
Four Interrupted Prayers
Spiritual Windowshoppers
The clear bead at the center...
6. A Small Dog Trying to Get You to Play: The Lighthearted Pathp. 54
Pictures of the Soul
Soul and the Old Woman
The Core
Duck Wisdom
Pebble Zikr
Feet Becoming Head
7. Thirst: Water's Voicep. 61
What We Hear in a Friend's Voice
Talking and God's Love of Variety
Amazed Mouth
No longer a stranger, you listen...
8. The King's Falcon on a Kitchen Shelf: How It Feels to Live Apart from Majestyp. 64
The City of Saba
The Thief
The King's Falcon
The Ground's Generosity
Sick of Scripture
9. Witness: Stay at the Flame's Corep. 72
The Creek and the Stars
Night Thieves
Thinking and the Heart's Mystical Way
Empty Boat
Whereabouts Unknown
The Level of Words
To the Extent They Can Die
10. Soul Joy: You Feel a River Moving in Youp. 79
Moving Water
Uncle of the Jar
When Words Are Tinged with Lying
Joy moves always to new locations...
The Source of Joy
A road might end at a single house...
Rise. Move around the center...
A Story They Know
Roses Underfoot
I open and fill with love and...
Any cup I hold fills with wine...
11. Turning the Refuse of Damascus: Work with the One Who Keeps Timep. 85
Cleansing Conflict
Shadow and Light Source Both
Wealth Without Working
Love for Certain Work
The Hoopoe's Talent
When school and mosque and minaret...
Not until a person dissolves, can...
While you are still yourself...
12. Grief Song, Praise Song: Peacefulness with Deathp. 94
On the Day I Die
One who does what the Friend wants done...
Childhood, youth, and maturity...
The angel of death arrives...
When you come back inside my chest...
Last night things flowed between us...
I placed one foot on the wide plain...
Longing is the core of mystery...
Time to Sacrifice Taurus
The Sheikh Who Lost Two Sons
What's Inside the Ground
A Brightening Floor
The Death of Saladin
13. At the Outermost Extension of Empire: Diving into Qualitiesp. 101
Wooden Cages
Prayer Is an Egg
14. Mutakallim: Speaking with a Groupp. 105
Two Donkeys
The Indian Parrot
15. Living as Evidence: The Way from Wanting to Longingp. 110
I Pass by the Door
Border Stations
Wind That Mixes in Your Fire
The Different Moon Shapes
16. Garnet Red: In the Madhouse Gnawing on Chainsp. 114
Evening Sky Garnet Red
The Sweet Blade of Your Anger
Fourteen Questions
What's the lover to do...
Someone who does not run...
This mud body...
There's no light like yours, no breeze...
The Silent Articulation of a Face
A Small Green Island
Your eyes, when they really see...
Both Wings Broken
17. Extravagance: Exuberance That Informs and Streams Beyondp. 122
There You Are
Come Horseback
Wilder Than We Ever
18. Night: Darkness, Living Waterp. 125
Last night, the Friend...
Flowers open every night...
You that prefer, as crows do...
Don't sleep now. Let the turning...
What Hurts the Soul?
Midnight, but your forehead...
Some Kiss We Want
19. Dawn: Spring Morning Listeningp. 128
The Generations I Praise
Hunt Music
Knowledge Beyond Love
Soul, Heart, and Body One Morning
Drawn by Soup
She Is the Creator
20. The Banquet: This Is Enough Was Always Truep. 133
This Is Enough
The Music We Are
The Moment
21. Poetry: The Song of Being Emptyp. 137
Glory to Mutabilis
All We Sell
Poetry and Cooking Tripe
Is This a Place Where Stories Are Acted Out?
A Song of Being Empty
A Salve Made with Dirt
What I Say Makes Me Drunk
22. Pilgrim Notes: Chance Meetings, Dignity, and Purposep. 144
Not Here
Cry Out Your Grief
Broom Work
A Clean Sandy Spot
Two Sacks
Any Chance Meeting
The One Thing You Must Do
23. Apple Orchards in Mist: Being in Between Language and the Soul's Truthp. 151
You Are Not Your Eyes
Prayer to Be Changed
A Small Market Between Towns
Lovers in Law School
Cup and Ocean
24. The Joke of Materialism: Turning Bread into Dungp. 156
Mounted Man
This Disaster
Sneezing Out Animals
Not Intrigued with Evening
How Attraction Happens
Book Beauty
Under the Hill
25. Fana: Dissolving Beyond Doubt and Certaintyp. 164
In the Waves and Underneath
Infidel Fish
A Star with No Name
Rush Naked
Die Before You Die
Love with No Object
The Road Home
Come Out and Give Something
Two Human-Sized Wedding Candles
Blessing the Marriage
One Swaying Being
26. Human Grief: We Are Sent to Eat the Worldp. 174
I've broken through to longing ...
The center leads to love ...
This Battered Saucepan
A Delicate Girl
The Threat of Death
Twenty Small Graves
I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow ...
Sour, Doughy, Numb, and Raw
I could not have known ...
27. Inner Sun: No More the Presencep. 180
The Breast My Heart Nurses
No More the Presence
Out in the Open Air
The Eye of the Heart
A Deep Nobility
28. Sacrifice: Remember Leaving Egyptp. 185
Remember Egypt
Astrological Bickerings
Extract the Thorn
29. When Friends Meet: The Most Alive Momentp. 188
The Most Alive Moment
The Soul's Friend
Inside Shams's Universe
Like Light over This Plain
Wake and Walk Out
Form Is Ecstatic
30. The Reedbed of Silence: Opening to Absencep. 195
Back into the Reedbed!
A Vague Trace
The Taste
I hear nothing in my ear ...
31. The Uses of Community: The Plural Youp. 199
Love Dervishes
The Communal Heart
Bowls of Food
32. Eye of Water: Clairvoyance, Being Several Places at Once, and the Rainpaths of Inspirationp. 206
Cooked Heads
Float, Trust, Enjoy
Light Breeze
Sitting Together
Seeing with the Eye of Water We Float On
Solomon's Sight
33. Music: Patience and Improvisationp. 212
We No Longer See the One Who Teaches Us
Music Loosens Deafness
Jami's The Camel Driver's Song
34. Gratitude for Teachers: The Lesson of Dogsp. 216
The Three Stooges
Listen to the Dogs
The Bow to Adam
To Trust the Ocean
Strange Gathering
Scatterbrain Sweetness
Every Section of Road
A Cap to Wear in Both Worlds
35. Forgiveness: As a Christian Disappears into Gracep. 225
The Spring
The Way That Moves as You Move
We Prescribe a Friend
What You've Been Given
Now I lay me down to stay ...
Grace Got Confused
36. Soul Art: The Hungry Animal and the Connoisseurp. 232
One Human Gesture
The Mangy Calf
If You Want to Live Your Soul
37. More Pilgrim Notes: Habits That Blind the Psychep. 237
Habits That Blind the Psyche
Dolls That Pull the Stuffing Out of Each Other
Being Slow to Blame
Cuisine and Sex
The soul fell into the soup ...
Be clear and smiling for those who ...
No Discussion
One Who Can Quit Seeing Himself
38. The Mystery of Renunciation: A Way of Leaving the World That Nourishes the Worldp. 243
A Way of Leaving the World
One-Handed Basket Weaving
Not a Food Sack, a Reed Flute
The Flower's Eye
Sheikh Sarrazi Comes in from the Wilderness
I Throw It All Away
39. Warrior Light: How One Embodies the Collectivep. 249
Warrior Light
Inside Solitude
The Bear's True Dance
40. Choosing and Total Submission: Both Are Truep. 253
Choosing and Total Submission
These Decisions
Book IV of the Masnavip. 257
Rumi's Wild Soul Book
Mud and Glory
The Form of the Whole
Being God's Spies
Book IVp. 270
A Note on These Translations and on the Currency of Rumi in the United Statesp. 389
Notesp. 392
Referencesp. 403
Index of Titles and First Linesp. 410
Contents of Book IVp. 422
Acknowledgmentsp. 425