Tuesday, January 24, 2006

war of words

What riot flares in my constricted heart?

Love has shrunk me, like a small, hollow lute.

What is this--this heart within my body,

Making war on me for her, night and day?

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

Key word: riot

I stayed up late last night to experience the excitement of a close tennis match between Roger Federer and Tommy Haas. I was captivated by this clash of worthy warriors. I've never been much of a fan of sport but this is getting me in.

It's hard, this morning, to relate to gentle Rumi even if riot flares and war are themes of this verse. Perhaps, because of other themes I've been exploring, I'm seeing the war here as between soul (spirit, heart) and body (matter) with "her" representing ultimate reality. The lute, in Persian, is called a barbat with bat meaning chest, so there would be a wordplay here on the lute as house of the heart.

Another pair of opposites that might be in play here is eros (love, empathy) and logos (words, discrimination). Why would my "body" be at war with my "soul"? Are they not merely two different ways of perceiving the one self? A classic mystic knot arises here with eros saying there is no opposition and logos insisting there is.

Bah! I've had enough of this! I need to move on and do some housework and gardening, lol.


At Tuesday, 24 January, 2006, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

I used to really enjoy watching tennis when I was a teenager. Now I'm lucky if I catch part of Wimbledon or US Open.


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