If I flinched at every grief, I
would be an intelligent idiot. If
I were not the sun, I’d ebb and
flow like sadness. If you were not
my guide, I’d wander lost in Sanai.
If there were no light, I’d keep
opening and closing the door. If
there were no rose garden, where
would the morning breezes go? If
love did not want music and laughter,
and poetry, what would I say? If
you were not medicine, I would look
sick and skinny. If there were no
leafy limbs in the air, there would
be no wet roots. If no gifts were
given, I’d grow arrogant and cruel.
If there were no way into God, I
would not have lain in the grave of
this body so long. If there were no
way from left to right, I could not
be swaying with the grasses. If
there were no grace and no kindness,
conversation would be useless, and
nothing we do would matter. Listen
to the new stories that begin every
day. If light were not beginning
again in the east, I would not now
wake and walk out inside this dawn.
from The Soul of Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Dawn at Tswalu, in the Kalahari Desert. These words were written, it seems, for this moment. Or perhaps the moment recalled the words. In any case, I’m grateful for both.