Thursday, December 29, 2005

She who must be laughed at

"I gave you my heart and my faith," I said,

"I showered on you everything I had."

"You?" she said, "Who cares what you do or not?

I shook you up, and this is what I got."

#1294: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: faith

I woke this morning with a loss of faith: in myself, in love, in the world. Yesterday was an oppressively hot and humid day, spent simply enduring it. I'm coming around to the idea of getting an air conditioner which I'd hoped I could avoid. It seems like such a caving in somehow. If humanity survived without it until now, why bring it in? Does it not make us less sensitive to our impact on the environment? Less aware of the creeping effects of global warming? Ideals are clashing with my need for comfort.

Today's quatrain belongs to a class in which Rumi is being teased by a feminine presence, a goddess figure, who treats him like her slave or mere plaything. This is an experience I cannot directly get into. It seems peculiar to the effect that some women have on some men, at least at times. It's true that men have had that effect on me too. They have shaken me up and then seemed to dump me. As a woman, I am bound to see this differently since men do tend to lord it over us most of the time anyway. If I let a male come close and find he throws me about insensitively, then I see it as just more of the same oppression. For a man, used to lording it over women almost as much as over slaves, this is a surprising and necessary contrast, an adjustment of power.

In most of Rumi's verses relating to this goddess figure, there is a humorous tone: he is made to seem the fool but he takes it all lightly. Surely men today might feel more oppressed by the demands of modern feminism and need to laugh at their women's ways as well as at themselves. All nicely summed up in the first two lines of Bob's Like Poem:

I'd rather fall in
laughter before love.



At Saturday, 31 December, 2005, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

I've recently been thinking of the difference between "falling in love" and "building in love". I've been thinking that there are those who see love as something they passively either feel or don't feel, and others who perhaps start out by falling, but stay in love by working at it. I think I believe in the building of love.

Hey, who write those lines you quoted? I never heard of him before. He's a genius!


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