17 November 2010

Those Purple Pills Got Nothing on this Ecstasy: Rumi's Poems of Love and Longing

Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and LongingRumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing by Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not sure whom to give credit for this book to, Rumi or Coleman Barks. For the gift of translating it we certainly owe a debt to Barks but for the power and the truth contained we more deeply owe Rumi.

This is not a book of love poems for a sweetheart or a Valentine. This is a book to be given or read only in the cases of deepest and most positive realization that your life is bound up in another; romantic or otherwise. These poems are not about the kind of love which belongs on Hallmark cards, in fact, Barks refused to lend his translations to that exact company. These poems are about the kind of love that has a deep resonance rather than a high pitched squeal. I won't be so shallow as to say "love hurts" would be a theme, I will go farther and say "love consumes" would best sub-title this book. Not the everyday consumerism that leads us to be drunk on our credit card bills at malls and department stores but the same feeling over addictive and unstoppable behavior for the well being of another.

I cannot get across what this book is worth in terms of "love" alone, more aptly this book is religious even if not one of the major ones. Perhaps this is the first holy book of a new religion. However, if you only want to find very hot, sexy poetry, you will find it; only cute, vampirey "cannot live without you" poetry you will gag on it. So you must approach this book expecting more. It will satisfy all the basics, but only if you deeply read and employ your intellect to understand the profound place Rumi speaks from can you reasonably understand this book.

However you choose to approach it (I recommend the deepest way) this book will be one you can and will turn to again and again no matter who you are.

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