Invisible camel bells, slight footfalls in sand.
Almost in sight.
The first word they call out
will be the last word of your poem.-Rumi, The Big Red Book
I learned, last Wednesday, through the happy accident of my book being “teased” on The Readdicts, a thing called Teaser Tuesdays hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Last week I was a day late. This week, I remembered in time.
Here’s how it works: Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
Don’t include spoilers.
The selection at the beginning of this post was from The Big Red Book by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks.
Rumi was born in 1207 to a long line of Islamic theologians and lawyers on the eastern edge of the Persian Empire in what is now Afghanistan. In order to escape the invading Mongol armies of Genghis Khan, his family moved west to a town now found in Turkey, where he eventually became the leader of a school of whirling dervishes. It was a fateful day in 1244 when he met Shams Tabriz, a wild mystic with rare gifts and insight. The renowned scholar Rumi had found a soul mate and friend who would become his spiritual mentor and literary muse. “What I had thought of before as God,” Rumi said, “I met today in a human being.”
Out of their friendship, Rumi wrote thousands of lyric poems and short quatrains in honor of his friend Shams Tabriz. They are poems of divine epiphany, spiritual awakening, friendship, and love. For centuries, Rumi’s collection of these verses has traditionally been bound in a red cover, hence the title of this inspired classic of spiritual literature.