Category Archives: Rumi

Be Wide as the Air To Learn a Secret

In “Bismallah!” (“In the Name of God!”), Rumi speaks of the lightness of spirit that Ramadan makes possible.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ramadan Came to the Heart’s Temple

In this poem Rumi captures the meaning of Ramadan, which began this past week. Although the fasting causes stress, that only serves to cleanse the body and liberate “the invisible treasure of the heart.”

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Break Your Fast with Joy

This Rumi poem celebrates the end of Ramadan, which occurs Wednesday. Drawing on stories that are familiar to Jews and Christians, he talks about the light that has broken in.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate! The Month of Fasting Is Come

In this Ramadan poem by Rumi, the month of fasting is compared to a friend, an intoxicant, “a beautiful fortune,” a secret illumination, a plentiful harvest, and a silk outfit than one dons.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

During Lent, Don’t Avoid the Knife

To use a horticultural analogy, Lent is a time to nurture the insights, to prune the tree, that come with Epiphany. This wonderful Rumi poem captures what is at stake.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

No Room in This House for Two “I”s

A Rumi parable speaks to the recent killings in Kuwait City and Charleston. It shares certain themes with Barack Obama’s Friday eulogy to Reverend Pinckney.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

The First Day of the Feast Has Come

A Rumi poem capturing the joy that is represented by the Ramadan feast.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

A New Song Comes out of the Fire

A Rumi poem for Ramadan, which begins next Saturday.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sacrifice Ram of Pride, Not Isaac

Rumi honors the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha, which centers on the story of Abraham and Isaac.

Also posted in Owen (Wilfred) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Overrichness Is a Subtle Disease

Rumi talks about the need to move beyond the lassitude caused by wealth and to turn towards teachers of the spirit.

Posted in Rumi | 4 Comments

The Spirit’s Table Has Arrived from Heaven

In this Ramadan poem by Rumi, fasting is seen as a way of escaping the body.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Like a Reed, Open Yourself to God’s Breath

Rumi says that Ramadan is a time when, by emptying our bellies, we open up a path to spirit.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Drought Is a Form of God’s Joy

If we look at a drought through God’s eyes, Rumi tells us, we will see green corn. The same holds for relationships.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Knowledge Born of Suffering

Rumi’s poem “The Lame Goat” has offered solace to those suffering from physical and emotional setbacks.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

A Temple Built of Compassionate Action

In “The Far Mosque,” Rumi reminds us that we are princes in waiting who will step into our spiritual kingdom through compassionate action.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Powerful Urge for Freedom

  I am in awe of the protesters in Tunisia and Bahrain and Egypt and Libya and Iran and Yemen and the Sudan and elsewhere in the Middle East. Their yearning for freedom is so great that, day after day, they put their lives on the line. I pray particularly for those in Libya and […]

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Moving beyond August Madness

Alexander Pope, taking his cue from the Roman poet Juvenal, knew what a crazy month August could be. In The Dunciad the end of civilization occurs in August, coinciding with the rise of the “dog star” Sirius: Now flam’d the Dog Star’s unpropitious ray, Smote ev’ry brain, and wither’d every bay [poet]; Sick was the […]

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Holiness of Ramadan Fasting

A Ramadan poem by Rumi.

Posted in Rumi | Tagged , , , | Comments closed


  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete