Rumi—Ruba’i 1441

Rumi is the name by which we remember Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, known also as Molavi or Molānā (“Master”). He was a 13th-century Persian poet and mystic of the Sufi tradition. His ecstatic poems about love and union with God have been widely translated. Below is one of his hundreds of four-line poems.

Without your lips, I don’t know how to drink this wine.
Without your hand, I don’t know how to seize a pawn.
From afar you command me to whirl in broad circles,
But without your tune, I don’t know how to dance.

—Translated by David Bowles
March 8, 2014

Original Farsi/Persian

man bê-rokh-é tô, bâda na-dân-am khwardan
bê-dast-é tô, man mohra na-dân-am bardan
az dûr ma-râ raqs hamê-farmây-î
bê-parda-yé tô raqs na-dân-am kardan

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