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What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.
What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was
whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever
was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them
so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is
being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that’s happening here.
The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,
in love with the one to whom every that belongs!
"What Was Told, That" by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, from The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems. Translated from the Persian by Coleman Barks. © HarperCollins, 2002.
Performance credit: Rumi translator Coleman Barks performs "What Was Told, That" at a Mythic Journey conference, accompanied by musicians Eugene Friesen and Arto Tuncboyaciyan.