Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Rumi Day 12: "This We Have Now"
This we have now
is not imagination.
This is not grief,
or joy, not a judging state,
or an elation, or a sadness.
Those come and go.
This is the presence
It's dawn, Husam,
here is the splendor of coral,
inside the Friend, in the simple truth
of what Hallaj said.
What else could human beings want?
When grapes turn to wine,
they're wanting this.
When the night sky pours by,
it's really a crowd of beggars,
and they all want some of this.
This we are now
created the body, cell by cell,
like bees building a honeycomb.
The human body and the universe
grew from this, not this
from the universe and the human body.
*translated by Coleman Barks
Me: Cold, bright day. Sunny. The water around the shore of the lake is frozen. I sit on the stonewall at Battery Park and listen to the sound of skates and sticks clacking from the ice rink down by the skate park. It's the crow-flying hour. Only a few pass. Do you know this hour of golden sunlight, when objects seem to sparkle and the sky goes rosy? More fly by and now they're flocking—hundreds of them. Someday I'll follow them.
In the mail a baseball card my husband ordered arrives. I lay it on his desk. He says, this guy has come up through their system, he's a good left hander pitcher: Felix.
Rumi believes we're the physical manifestation of this ever present something. What is this “presence” that does not come and go but keeps? Even in my self induced isolation I feel it near. Someone tells me to take a rest, and I thank her. Anthony Doerr uses the word “unbidden” in more than one story in his first collection, “Shell Collector,” and in a story in his latest collection, “Memory Wall.” Eight years separate the publications. It is a good word, unbidden. Grief feels unbidden. The light is nearly gone; the birds have passed. Someday soon I'll follow them.