The gift of water
The following two poems are from the book “Rumi ..”Translator Coleman Barks
The Gift of Water
Someone who does not know the Tigris River exists
Brings the caliph who lives near the river
a jar of fresh water. The caliph accepts, thanks him
and gives in return a jar filled with gold coins.
“Since this man has come through the desert,
he should return by water” Taken out by another door,
the man steps into a waiting boat.
and sees the wide freshwater of the Tigris.
He bows his head: What wonderful kindness
that he took my gift”
Evry object and being in the universe is
a jar overfilled with wisdom and beauty
a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained.
by any skin. Every jarful spills and makes the earth
more shining, as though covered in satin,
If the man had seen even atributary
of the great river, he would have brought
the innocence of this gift.
Those that stay and live by the Tigris
grow so ecstatic that they throw rocks at the jugs
and the jugs become perfect
The pieces dance and water
Do you see?
Neither jar, nor water , nor stone, nothing
You knock at the door of reality,
shake your thought , wings, loosen
your shoulders, and open.