My verse resembles the bread of Egypt - night passes over it, and you cannot eat it any more. Devour it the moment it is fresh, before the dust settles upon it. Its place is the warm climate of the heart; in this world it dies of cold. Like a fish it quivered for an instant on dry land, another moment and you see it is cold. Even if you eat it imagining it is fresh, it is necessary to conjure up many images. What you drink is really your own imagination; it is no old tale, my good man.Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-73), legendary Persian Muslim poet, theologian, and mystic, wrote poems acclaimed through the centuries for their powerful spiritual images and provocative content, which often described Rumi's love for God in romantic or even erotic terms. His vast body of work includes more than three thousand lyrics and odes, many of which came to him while he was in a religiously inspired trance. This volume includes four hundred poems selected by renowned Rumi scholar A. J. Arberry, who provides here one of the most comprehensive and adept English translations of this enigmatic genius.
"Mystical Poems" is the definitive resource for anyone seeking an introduction to - or an enriched understanding of - one of the world's greatest poets.
A. J. Arberry (1905-73) was professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge. Ehsan Yarshater is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies and director of the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University.