Monday, October 10, 2005

magical eyes

My love, my life, you ask why I'm so hard.

Go ask your eyebrows, ask your wild hair.

Your tight lips will tell why my heart feels no peace.

Your magical eyes will explain my disease.

#980: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: life

Last night I watched an excellent TV doco-drama, Agatha Christie: A Life In Pictures. I was impressed by a certain survivor instinct and zest for life expressed especially in her later years and portrayed by the older actress, Anna Massey. I woke this morning aware of breathing, simply breathing. Life is living, just being alive.

Today's quatrain could readily lend itself to an erotic homosexual reading, what with the reference to being "hard" and to his lover's "tight lips". However, to me, the key always lies with Rumi's use of paradoxical statements, in this case the "tight lips will tell", suggesting that Shams' most powerful communication was never through words alone. The reference to eyebrows suggests that his facial expression was engrossing; the wild hair points to an uncultivated or spontaneous outpouring; the tight lips to powerful presence; but the magical eyes, for me, refer to Shams' special way of seeing. Rumi was entranced by how Shams saw the world, how he saw life, love, self, deity, being. I'm convinced that these magical eyes saw with a mystic vision that can never be fully expressed in words. However, to see that way is to write in a magical way such as is evident in Rumi's verses.

I drink from that seeing each morning and a thirst is quenched for a day at least.


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