You smile so charmingly
what secret do you hide in your heart?
You laugh fresh as the dawn
where did you spend last night?
You have set everything on fire and
now sit in the midst of flames, laughing.
You returned from God’s tavern, drunk
and joyful, laughing at good and evil.
You appear as the essence of laughter.
All trees wither in autumn, you laugh
fresh as a rose.
What enchanted garden do you come from?
You are certainty laughing at opinion and pretense,
You are contemplation laughing at
You laugh at the path, the traveler,
and the journey.
Before the everlasting presence
you are the witness and the witnessed!
This poem is from the book Rumi’s Little Book of Life: The Garden of the Soul, the Heart, and the Spirit. Translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin (see attribution below). Below is an excerpt from the Foreword (by Narguess Farzad) that serves as a good overview of the translators and Rumi’s poetry :
“… I think Maryam Mafi and Melita Kolin’s lucid, poignant, and beautiful translation of Rumi poetry have managed to fulfil all the expectations of the newcomer, the curious, and the old devotee of Rumi’s poetry and teaching by being a guide through the topography of Rumi’s writing and by preparing us to host him in our homes and our hearts.
The rapture that burns quietly through much of Rumi’s poetry comes through in their translations as they captivate our imagination and let us into the inner sanctum of Rumi’s passionate and joyful spirituality. In their translations, we understand that Rumi’s God is not in the mosque, the monastery, or the fire-temple, but resides in the House of Intoxication, built in a lush Garden of Illumination, where a ladder of love leads to the divine. We learn that Rumi’s God is not there to punish but is there to love and to rescue the Soul, the Heart, and the Spirit. The only “right commanded” by Rumi is that the mirror of the heart be polished of tarnish and the only “wrong forbidden” by him is that love should ever be conditional.
Friends, let us return to the source of pure essence
that nothing else can equal. Remember,
we are pearls in the ocean of spirit, if not, why are
these constant waves surging through our hearts?
The primeval wave created the vessel of this body,
as it breaks we will be united with the Friend. … “