I swear, since seeing Your face,
the whole world is fraud and fantasy
The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf
or blossom. The distracted birds
can’t distinguish the birdseed from the snare.
A house of love with no limits,
a presence more beautiful than venus or the moon,
a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.
I have had a hard time translating this poem as anything but a pure direct love poem addressed to someone in particular. The descriptions he uses are so in line as to what it may feel like when someone falls deeply in love with someone for the first time, that it is hard to think of it as anything else. So unsurprisingly, the theme of the poem is exactly that- love.
Starting the poem off by stating, “I swear” proves his seriousness on the topic. I have often heard it said that when one falls in love, the way one views the world completely changes. And that can also be said in respect to this poem. Rumi is definitely confused. A better way to phrase it may be that he is perplexed, he is perplexed by this feeling to a point where he has lost power of reasoning. He is so blinded by the beauty of this situation, he can no longer keep a firm grasp on reality and he states, and so he states, can’t the world around him. The way he views reality seems to have changed in a way beyond his understanding. He tries to compare the beauty to an object, and ultimately, he can come up with nothing. He inevitably states that it is a beauty far too great to be compared to anything in particular. A truly beautiful love poem indeed.
Honestly, I have no idea how to mimic Rumi’s style for a poem. So the poem that follows is a response and somewhat of an analysis to the one above. While borrowing themes about love from his poem, it also addresses some of the lines he mentioned in his own poem and looks into them in a bit more detail in depth. The poem also poses several questions to Rumi, and the readers of his poems, that in my opinion, every romanticist has faced.
Life without love,
Life without fantasy,
Hard to behold,
Isn’t it a mystery?
The world may indeed be fraud,
but is it because of love or because you are a romanticist?
we require the world to be broken to a degree
to see the beauty hidden in it’s trees,
Beauty hard to behold? True indeed
For where be the moon, and where be the stars?
all goes dark for a life without love.
– Raving Ranter