Little By Little


el aluddin Rumi

1207-1273

Little by little, wean yourself. 

This is the gist of what I have to say. 

From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood, 

Move to an infant drinking milk, 

To a child of solid food, 

To a searcher after wisdom, 

To a hunter of more invisible game. 

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo. 

You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.

There are wheat fields and mountain passes, and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight

The beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.” 

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up

In the dark with eyes closed. 

Listen to the answer:

“There is no ‘other world.’

I only know what I’ve experienced. 

You must be hallucinating. 

Mathnawi, III, 49-6

Translated from the Persian by Coleman Barks

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