The following poems have been excerpted from The Spiritual Poems of Rumi translated by Nader Khalili, a contemporary collection of 120 translated poems—including 21 previously unpublished ones—by Rumi, the ancient mystic.

Once Again

once again
i broke free of the chains
of the wicked traps
of this world

once again
by your youthful love
i was saved from
this fraud-filled wizard
we call life

nonstop
running day and night
i finally had to cut myself off
from this deadly routine
leaping free as an arrow
from the grip of the cosmic bow

now i have no more fear
of grief and anxiety
i’ve learned to compete
with death itself

i lived through my wits
for forty years
now at sixty-two
finally hunted down
i am free from struggle

bread becomes blood
blood transforms to milk
and now
that i have my wisdom teeth
i am in no need of more milk
 

I Went to the Doctor

i went to the doctor
a healer of sorts
asked him to hold my pulse
and look at the urine
he said your sickness is
madness mixed with dreams
then leave it alone i said
let it be as long as it is
 

Out There You’ll Find

out there you’ll find
dead souls
strange crowds
from East and West
a voice calls you to
follow the source
look inside
and you’ll find
a human sea
 

I Was Ready to Tell

i was ready to tell
the story of my life
but the ripple of tears
and the agony of my heart
wouldn’t let me

i began to stutter
saying a word here and there
and all along i felt
as tender as a crystal
ready to be shattered

in this stormy sea
we call life
all the big ships
come apart
board by board

how can i survive
riding a lonely
little boat
with no oars
and no arms

my boat did finally break
by the waves
and i broke free
as i tied myself
to a single board

though the panic is gone
i am now offended
why should i be so helpless
rising with one wave
and falling with the next
 

Poor Human Never Learned

poor human never learned
about himself
how affluent he was
then slipped into this poverty
he sold himself very cheap
he used to be
a pure silk but then
he patched himself
to a ragged cloak

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Front cover of The Spiritual Poems of Rumi book - Spiritual poems of RumiTranslator Nader Khalili (1936–2008) was a world-renowned Iranian-American architect, author, humanitarian and teacher. Khalili was also the founder and director of the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth). Khalili was raised by the poetry of Rumi. As a child, his grandmother would recite Rumi’s poetry to lull him to sleep. He later developed a passion for studying and translating Rumi’s works.


Spiritual Poems of Rumi. Text © 2018 by Cal-Earth Inc. Design © 2018 by Tandem Books Inc. First published in 2018 by Wellfleet Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group, 142 West 36th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10018, USA

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