While I took a pause in writing this summer simply to admire the season’s brilliant sunshine and storms, to roam with bisons and elks in the national parks, and to walk the forest trails with good friends, a poem by the Sufi poet Rumi kept reverberating in my mind. I cannot help to jot it down here as I am ready to pick up the last rounds of revision of a short story in progress.
You miss the garden,
because you want a small fig
from a random tree.
You don’t meet the beautiful woman.
You’re joking with an old crone.
It makes me want to cry
how she detains you,
stinking-mouthed, with a hundred
talons, putting her head
over the roof edge to call down,
tasteless fig, fold over fold, empty
as dry-rotten garlic.
She has you tight by the belt,
even though there’s no flower
and no milk inside her body.
Death will open your eyes
to what her face is. Leather spine
of a black lizard. No more advice.
Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull
of what you really love.