RUMI AND THE REED – Tabish Khair


Listen to the song of the reed flute:
It sings of separation.
Torn from the leaf-layered, wind-voiced
Banks of the pond,
It is joined to sorrow and joy
By a slender sound.
Who, asked Rumi, can understand
The reed’s longing to return?
Let its raw lips rest then;
Let all words be brief then.

And I, O Believers, cried Rumi
(Having lost the man he loved),
I who am not of the East
Nor of the West, un-Christian,
Not Muslim or Jew, neither
Born of Adam nor Eve,
What can I love but the world itself,
What can I kiss but flesh?
Let my raw lips rest then;
Let all words be brief.

  • Tabish Khair
    (India, 1966)