art ~ spirit ~ transformation

e*lix*ir   #3
summer 2016



  • Rumi, Race, and Religion

  • Poetry

  • Celestial Navigations
    by Sandra Lynn Hutchison
  • On Writing Poetry Inspired by the Bahá’í Writings

  • Fiction

  • Rumi’s Lost Diary
    by Shahin Mowzoon
  • Nine O-Clock Blue
    by Teresa Henkle Langness

  • The Writing Life

  • Translating Rumi
    by Anthony Lee

  • Essays

  • Margaret Danner, the Black Arts Movement, and the Bahá’í Faith
    by Richard Hollinger

  • Voices of Iran

  • Reading Anne Frank in Isfahan
    by Sahba

  • Looking Back on Books

  • Love is My Savior
    by Anthony Lee
  • Swallowing the Sun
    by Franklin D. Lewis
  • Tahirih: A Portrait in Poetry
    by Amin Banani, Jascha Kessler, and Anthony A. Lee

  • Art

  • Calligraphy
    by Burhan Zahra’i

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    Love Is My Savior: The Arabic Poems of Rumi



    Review by GRACE CAVALIERI,

    Like John Donne's “Holy Sonnet 14,” these works by the Persian poet Rumi—in an English edition of his rarely translated Arabic verse—sublimely blend the devotional and the erotic.
    —Dotun Akintoye, Assistant Books Editor at O, The Oprah Magazine

    Rumi was a 13th century mystic poet wrote in several languages, mostly Arabic and Persian. Born in 1207, in Turkey (an area now part of Afghanistan), he spent a life of devotion, traveling and writing, to define God in poetry. His search for the Sufi “essence” of God lives on. At times his God was very much human, celebrated in song, wine and physical love. Rumi’s major work, Masnawi, contained 60,000 poems of ecstasy and scholarly teachings.

    Love Is My Savior includes 33 Arabic poems and pieces taken from 1010 poems in Rumi’s Divan-e-Shams-e Tebrizi. They reflect Rumi’s mastery of Arabic and Persian and devoted, in passion, to his teacher Shama- e Tabriz—from the pure to the erotic—creating a world never read before. In the world of medieval Islam same-sex love was tolerated in Arab culture “within the boundaries of its cultural norms.” However, these poems are not confined to human love—the physical was one prism to seek the eternal source of all divine love. From these poems we understand the elaborated myth of Rumi’s life until his death in 1207. Each poem is a constellation: message and metaphor, saying I AM WITH YOU. Flaming lines control structures of exquisite longing and prayer.

    How such a man remained transfixed in soul expansion to the Divine, His Beloved, is a comfort for humanity.

    “He’s Never Bored with Love”

    Yes! My soul will be sacrificed for you!
    You are the full moon. You rise, and you shine.
    Praised and glorified be God for that shine!
    You invaded my soul, doubled my life.
    Then, you left—with that noble pride of thine.
    Today, I pray to you in secret, or
    I shout out loud these mad love dreams of mine.
    Life tears me to pieces, and still I shout:
    Pierce through these veils! Let me drink your love’s wine!
    Centuries of loving, and he’s never
    bored with love. Never will his love decline.
    My lover is a whale, and my desire
    pure water—an ocean—with no end time.
    Can a whale grow bored in a pure ocean?