Wednesday, October 19, 2005

only one answer

If you don't heed my call and answer me

With joy, with the wine of your words, who will?

Shepherd of the world, refuge of the soul,

If you don't keep us from the wolf, who will?

#1915: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: answer

I have a dream: I want to solve a puzzle, answer a riddle. A Big One. This is a crazy ambition but one which, I'm sure, lies behind the popularity of whodunnits. Wouldn't we all love to have our names attached to the clearing up of a mystery? Especially the mystery of death itself.

Surely Rumi has the following Hebrew psalm in mind:

Psalm 23 (King James Version)

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

There is definitely no mention of shepherds in the Koran. And yet "In God we trust" is the mantra of all religious devotees, whether they call God "Lord", "Jesus", "Allah" or "Krishna". People die, people starve, people languish in jails or gasp for mercy under torture. Wherever they genuinely trust in the Lord, they do not want. It's a brave and a vulnerable trust but, as Rumi asks, what else is there?

earthquake-affected family @ smh



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