(translated by Coleman Banks)
Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.
From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.
Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.
At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”
You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark, with eyes closed.
Listen to the answer:
There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.
* Used with the kind permission of Coleman Barks. This poem and other Rumi poems can be found in The Essential Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks (Harper Collins 2004).