The Soul of Rumi is renowned poet Coleman Barks' first major assemblage of newly translated Rumi poems since his bestselling The Essential Rumi.

Coleman Barks presents entirely new translations of Rumi's poems, published for the first time in The Soul of Rumi. The poems range over the breadth of Rumi's themes: silence, emptiness, play, God, peace, grief, sexuality, music, to name just a few. But the focus is on the ecstatic experience of human and divine love and their ...

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The Soul of Rumi

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The Soul of Rumi is renowned poet Coleman Barks' first major assemblage of newly translated Rumi poems since his bestselling The Essential Rumi.

Coleman Barks presents entirely new translations of Rumi's poems, published for the first time in The Soul of Rumi. The poems range over the breadth of Rumi's themes: silence, emptiness, play, God, peace, grief, sexuality, music, to name just a few. But the focus is on the ecstatic experience of human and divine love and their inseparability, conveyed with Rumi's signature passion, daring, and insights into the human heart and the heart's longings.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Leave the rind / and descend into the pith / Fold within fold, the beloved / drowns in its own being." The poetry of Jalil Al-Din Rumi (1207-1273) brims with self-extinguishing refinements, each of which draws you in with its alluring elusiveness. Tactile, mystical, and ruminative by turns, the verse of this 13th-century Sufi has evoked disparate readings over the centuries. This rendering, by poet Coleman Barks, has won praise from both fellow poets and Rumi specialists.
Jack Kornfield
The gold of Rumi pours down through Coleman's words. The words leap off the page and dance!
Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062046543
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/14/2010
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 402,384
  • File size: 616 KB

Meet the Author

Coleman Barks is a renowned poet and the bestselling author of The Essential Rumi, Rumi: The Big Red Book, The Soul of Rumi, Rumi: The Book of Love, and The Drowned Book. He was prominently featured in both of Bill Moyers' PBS television series on poetry, The Language of Life and Fooling with Words. He taught English and poetry at the University of Georgia for thirty years, and he now focuses on writing, readings, and performances.

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Read an Excerpt

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-bookand 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!

The Soul of Rumi. Copyright © by Coleman Barks. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Preface xv
Introduction 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 Mosque 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 Changing 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 Daylight 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 Vision 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 Religions 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 Path 54
Pictures of the Soul
Soul and the Old Woman
The Core
Duck Wisdom
Pebble Zikr
Feet Becoming Head
7. Thirst: Water's Voice 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 Majesty 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 Core 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 You 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 Time 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 Death 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 Qualities 101
Wooden Cages
Prayer Is an Egg
14. Mutakallim: Speaking with a Group 105
Two Donkeys
The Indian Parrot
15. Living as Evidence: The Way from Wanting to Longing 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 Chains 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 Beyond 122
There You Are
Come Horseback
Wilder Than We Ever
18. Night: Darkness, Living Water 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 Listening 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 True 133
This Is Enough
The Music We Are
The Moment
21. Poetry: The Song of Being Empty 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 Purpose 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 Truth 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 Dung 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 Certainty 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 World 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 Presence 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 Egypt 185
Remember Egypt
Astrological Bickerings
Extract the Thorn
29. When Friends Meet: The Most Alive Moment 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 Absence 195
Back into the Reedbed!
A Vague Trace
The Taste
I hear nothing in my ear ...
31. The Uses of Community: The Plural You 199
Love Dervishes
The Communal Heart
Bowls of Food
32. Eye of Water: Clairvoyance, Being Several Places at Once, and the Rainpaths of Inspiration 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 Improvisation 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 Dogs 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 Grace 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<
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2002

    Open to Audiences Interpretation

    Coleman Barks gives a beautifully written and personal account of Rumi's impact on his life. The poetry can be deep but also lighthearded depending on the audiences mood. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys poetry...

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    Posted April 3, 2011

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    Posted July 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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