Mathnawi, II 1680-1708

Here are the miracle signs you want:

That you cry through the night and get up at dawn, asking, that in the absence of what you ask for

your day gets hard, you neck thin as a spindle, that what you give away

is all your won, that you sacrifice belongings,

sleep, healthy, your head, that you often

sit dow in a fire like aloes-wood, and often got out

to meet a blade like a battered helmet.

When acts of helplessness become habitual,

those are the signs.

But you run back and forth listening for unusual events,

peering into the faces of travelers.

‘Why are you looking at me like a madman?”

I have lost a Friend. Please forgive me.


Searching like that does not fail.

There will come a rider who holds you close.

You faint and gibber. The uninitiated say, “He’s faking.”

How could they know>

Water washes over a beached fish, the water

of those signs I just mentioned.


Excuse my wandering.

How can one be orderly with this?

It’s like counting leaves in a garden,

along with the song-notes of partridges and crows.


Some organization and computation

become absurd.

~ Rumi, We Are Three (New Translations by Coleman Barks, 1987)

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