Sunday, February 26, 2006

singing sadness

Endless love without beginning made you sing.

Love bedazzled and made a fool of you.

So often sadness killed you, you got away with it.

You spoke so much of sadness that sadness became you.

#1676: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: sing

As I continue to follow the thread of singing, I encounter this curious marriage of endless love with sadness. First heaven, then hell. This verse simply leaves me feeling sad.

It's a pity we have no clear chronological order to these quatrains. Some with low numbering seem highly evolved and some with high numbering seem raw. This one seems to me to have come after Rumi had mourned the loss of Shams for a long time, so its high numbering is partly justified. On the other hand, there seems to be no connecting thread between the initial high and the subsequent low. They lie together in the one quatrain, that is all.

There is a sense here of external judgment, as if Rumi is viewing himself as another person might view him. He appears as a fool in love who, when loss and sadness came, identified so much with these emotions that he essentially became them. The verse seems merely to describe a manic-depressive cycle. It seems to have captured a moment when Rumi realized this but had not yet processed this realization toward one of the jewels of his understanding.

It's actually nice, in a way, to encounter him in such a human moment.


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