Just the other day I messaged a friend urging him to check out some of my poetry and his response was amusing. I thought he might be into poetry but went “I don’t understand poetry, like I bought this Rumi collection thinking of Rumi and all, Allah, I didn’t get one poem dude”. It cracked me up.
Hours later, I was downloading Rumi on my kindle app. The book called “The Essential Rumi”. It actually starts off with a pretty simple poem called “The Tavern”, which is about the poet roaming about the town in a drunken stupor, lost, unable to understand from where the words he utters are coming from. He talks about how even though drinking is forbidden for Muslims, it’s in the tavern where men find themselves enjoying the most. It’s filled with wit and warns of the perils that comes with drinking alcohol.
It’s just exhilarating to read Rumi, because at no point do you feel like you are reading a 13th century Persian poet. He is funny and relevant and it’s easy to understand his popularity once you go through his words. The words are simple, even if they are laden with double meanings. I was surprised to find some biblical allusions slipped in as well.
The poetry doesn’t rhyme much and I think that is because I have read the English translation. His wisdom is completely free-spirited, like his advice to love-lorn people to not mope around after a heart-break because “20 more will come”. A lot of it is practical, something I wasn’t expecting at all.
All I can say is that reading Rumi can be fun and is definitely essential for poetry lovers.