Thursday, February 09, 2006

that smile

Do you smile at the garden's kindness, my flower?

Do you smile at the nightingales' love spell?

Or do you smile for your love's eyes alone,

And smile at what you've left him of your own?

#1753: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Key word: kindness

Love, kindness, and goodness were discussed and acted out at the recent drama workshop I attended so kindness caught my eye today. The reason I like Houdon's portrait of Voltaire is because of the gentle kindness that is expressed in that smile. There was much in his intellectual clarity that could contribute to improving our lot and his gift to the world was a kindness. His novel Candide still sells well and continues to be reviewed with enthusiasm. He uses a similar device to the one Rumi took up, viz, the use of humour and erotic imagery within an accessible story in order to convey an important philosophical or moral point. Here is how one reviewer sums it up:
After you have finished Candide, I suggest that you ask yourself where complacency about your life and circumstances is costing you and those you care about the potential for more health, happiness, peace, and prosperity. Then take Voltaire's solution, and look around you for those who enjoy the most of those four wonderful attributes. What do those people think and do differently from you?

- Donald Mitchell @ Candide

Today's quatrain seems to address a young woman, "my flower", standing in for God (the "you" in Rumi is almost always God). I feel sure she has a gentle knowing smile, much like that of Voltaire but perhaps more akin to that of the Mona Lisa. She smiles over the magic spell that music, especially romantic music, can evoke. She smiles over the young man's eyes, large with desire. But most of all She smiles at all that stardust She has been infecting him with. It is that stardust or heart-dust that will keep him motivated in life, keep him in love with life, keep him nurturing life in all its manifestations. Rumi was infused with a great deal of this stardust and it scattered around in every line he wrote. He was Her magician, Her musician, Her lover, and one of Her great messangers.


Mona Lisa smile @



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