Full of yourself—
Full of yourself—a friend's touch is sharp as a thorn.A buzzing fly drives you mad. Forget yourself and what friend can hurt you? You mingle with wild elephants and enjoy the ride.Caged in self,you drown in anguish.Storm clouds swallow the sun.Your lover flees the scene. Outside yourself, the night is moonlit. Lovers drink Love's wine. It flows through you.Self-conscious,you're dry as autumn leaves.You bite like frost. Melt yourself, and winter's frozen meadows will become spring's fragrant fields.
“Full of yourself—” from GOLD: by Rumi.
Published by New York Review Books on March 8, 2022.
English Copyright © 2022 by Haleh Liza Gafori.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Rumi, Molana, Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Balkhy (1207–1273), was born in or near the city of Balkh, in present-day Afghanistan. Considered the greatest poet of the Persian language, Rumi’s major works are the Masnavi, a six-volume collection of mystical teachings in rhyming couplets, and the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, a collection of lyric poetry dedicated to his spiritual mentor. He died and was buried in Konya.
Haleh Liza Gafori is a poet, translator, and musician of Persian descent born in New York City. Her poems have been published by Columbia University Press and Rattapallax. As a vocalist, she has performed at events such as David Byrne’s One Note at Carnegie Hall and Bonnaroo. She teaches workshops on Rumi’s poetry at universities and festivals across the country.
"Translating a 13th-century Persian poet whose work is deeply rooted in Islamic theology and Qur’anic language, infused with mystical vision, and laced with heretical imagery, is not a project for the faint of heart. Many of Rumi’s recent English translators or 'para-translators,' have no knowledge of Persian, the work’s cultural context, or Islam. Many speakers of modern Persian lack the literary gifts to craft English poems of equivalent power. Despite all this, the core luminosity of Rumi’s work has shone through. It gives me great pleasure, and relief, to say that I think Haleh Liza Gafori’s translations are the closest an English translator has come to bringing it all together. . . . Gold is a perfect introduction to the illuminations in Rumi’s work, or an important addition to your Rumi bookshelf."
— Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr., Hyperallergic
"Rumi, ancient and eternal. Magnetic in his eloquent devotion and his soulful intelligence. Majestic in his whirling silk robe and his defiant disdain for his culture’s worship of status. Volcanic with poetry. . . . A dazzling selection of his poetry, including some never previously alive in English, appears in Gold, newly translated and inspirited by poet and musician Haleh Liza Gafori."
— Maria Popova, The Marginalian
"Whether you wolf it down in a single exuberant sitting like we did or parcel these poems out, one a day over 80 days, you can’t help but be caught up with what I think we can all agree by this point are timeless sentiments. . . We got an almighty kick out of Haleh Liza Gafori’s translation and reckon you will too."