The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations by,
Inspired by,
and about Rumi

Welcome to my page of quotations compiled from the various translated whirling words of Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, as well as some quotes at the bottom of the page about Rumi and his translators. My discovery of Rumi came in 1998 when I stumbled upon The Illuminated Rumi by Coleman Barks and Michael Green. Over the years my collection has encompassed a wide variety of translators. Although Barks and other interpreters are criticized for their modification of earlier English translations and accused that their "translations" are not true to the form and intent of the original Persian, it cannot be denied that their modernized works stir the soul and have brought much of the English-speaking world's attention to this centuries-old poet. So whether the words are Rumi or Rumi-inspired with a fair bit of poetic license, I hope you enjoy nonetheless as I beg forgiveness from this long-lost soul on behalf of the modern authors who have clothed his words with the embellished fashion of our contemporary language. And to you, dear reader, may your soul flower into mystical blossoms of poetic ecstasy! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment... ~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

’Tis the fire of love that inspires the flute,
’Tis the ferment of love that possesses the wine.
~Rumi, translated by E. H. Whinfield  [Per Whinfield, Love signifies the strong attraction that draws all creatures back to reunion with their Creator. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

The light of the heart is hidden in a drop of blood. ~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

How many sparks of fire from flint and steel have flown
How many hearts like tinder, make those sparks their own.
~Rumi, translated by James William Redhouse

A thousand snares are laid to catch our tripping feet
But Lord, if thou us shield, harm never shall us meet.
If but Thy grace will guide us, lead us on our way,
No thief can steal our peace of mind, our light of day.
~Rumi, translated by James William Redhouse

Love is a madman, working his wild schemes, tearing off his clothes, running through the mountains... ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

He who abides far away from his home,
Is ever longing for the day he shall return.
~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

Cleverness is as a wind raising storms of pride
Be foolish, so that your heart may be at peace.
~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

There is a tradition 'The heart is like a feather
In the desert, which is borne captive by the winds;
The wind drives it everywhere at random,
Now to right and now to left in opposite directions.'
~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one. ~Rumi, interpreted by Camille and Kabir Helminski

Smile like the rose whose petals are torn asunder—
It says 'I gather beauty even from the thorn of grief.'
~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield  [a little altered —tg]

You sit here for days saying, This is strange business. You're the strange business. You have the energy of the sun in you, but you keep knotting it up at the base of your spine. ~Rumi, interpreted by John Moyne and Coleman Barks

O Brother, you are essentially thought,
All the rest of you is bone and sinew,
If your thoughts are rose-like, you are a rose-garden
If they are thorn-like, you are fuel for the furnace.
~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

Chastity is mortgaged to lust. ~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

Love is that flame which, when it is kindled,
Devours everything except the Beloved.
~Rumi, translated by anonymous

Every moment the world and we are renewed. ~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

My body is like the moon which is melting for Love... ~Rumi, translated by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson

My Soul sends up to Heaven each night the cry of Love!
God's starry Beauty draws with might the cry of Love!
Bright sun and moon each morn dance in my Heart at Dawn:
And waking me at daylight, excite the cry of Love!
On every meadow glancing, I see God's sunbeams play;
And all Creation's wonders excite the cry of Love!
~Rumi, translated by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson

My back is broken by the conflict of my thoughts... ~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

Be empty of worrying... Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

I am afflicted, afflicted, afflicted!
Sleep has deserted my eyes
Through my longing for Thee...
~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep! ~Rumi: Night & Sleep, versions by Coleman Barks & Robert Bly, 1981

Open the window in the center of your chest, and let the spirits fly in and out. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Why should I stay at the bottom of a well when a strong rope is in my hand? ~Rumi, interpreted by Jonathan Star

I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Work in the invisible world at least as hard as you do in the visible. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

There's a hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music... ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

...rush out in the rain to be soaked with the sky. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Let yourself become living poetry. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. The sun's light looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it's still one light. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Let lovers be crazy, disgraceful and wild
Those who fret about such things
Aren't in love.
~Rumi, interpreted by Deepak Chopra

Quotations about Rumi & Coleman Barks

Rumi will transform you, in ways you didn't know you needed transforming. ~Jerry Stahl

Rumi is astounding, fertile, abundant, almost more an excitable library of poetry than a person. ~Robert Bly

Good poetry, like music or a sweet touch, can doctor us up, be an antidote for an hour or longer, help us to get dressed for another day—combat the blues enough to mount the horse again; and maybe even aid one in laying down the insidious weight of some old grudge or deep-rooted anxiety. Herein enters Rumi.... draws us near to his—and our own—inner light.... From head to toe this guy is blazing. He is like a cyclone one wants to be drawn into... ~Daniel Ladinsky

If Rumi is the most-read poet in America today, Coleman Barks is in good part responsible. His ear for the truly divine madness in Rumi's poetry is really remarkable. ~Huston Smith

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published 2006 Jun 19
revised 2010, 2014, 2020
last saved 2022 Jun 10