Monday, April 17, 2006

honey lips

She made my night more splendid than the day,

Made body into spirit melt away.

My lips sought hers, but found their honey's bliss

Was far too sweet to make room for my kiss.

#1390: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

I dream of an open airing, of a space where Muslims and non-Muslims can speak together freely. Right now it is not possible for we non-Muslims are muzzled by the threats of Muslim violence against whatever they choose to see as blasphemous, whether a Rushdie novel, a Dutch film, a Danish cartoon, or even their own sacred texts pulled (as they accuse) out of context. It is too easy for them to shut us up and we stand by too politely as they say horrible things about us.

I want to see this open airing out in the open air, live, human beings talking together. I am tired of the restraints that the internet imposes. I am tired of relating only to black pixels on a white background. I feel heavy and tired and burdened. I can see no way forward.

In the midst of the turmoil of the Christian crusades in his home region, Rumi took a second wife after the loss of the first. It is said that she came from a Christian background. If so, did he allow her to remain a Christian? If he saw a sweetness in the Christian message, was he expressing in this quatrain his inability, as a Muslim, to live up to the Christian ethic? Who knows? This is how I read this verse today. I come from a Christian background myself and I am a woman. Islam and Christianity are also currently at war. Perhaps this is why I read it thus.

It is also said that Rumi's cat died a week after he did and was buried near him. I like that little detail and I very much hope it is true. Nay, I'm sure it is true.


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