I have never been a poetry enthusiast. Call it my inability to understand and comprehend verses or the lack of romanticism in me. I have always admired literature but somehow lacked connection with poetry. And no, the prejudice wasn’t all due to some preconceived notions. I had made several attempts at reading poetry. Often I would get books from the library, brew a good coffee and sit with the book. But I could never make any sense from the incomplete phrases or complex sentences. Reading within the lines was not a forte of mine.
Just when I had completely given up hope, a dear friend of mine introduced me to Sufi poetry. I never considered giving it a try, due to my struggle with classic English poetry and dismissed her suggestions. A casual feed check on instagram one fine day led me to the glorious world of Rumi. The simplicity and lucidity of the small poem that I read which was penned by him, shocked me out of my wits; and left me craving for more. Never had I read a piece of work that captured such deep emotions in just a few words. What was supposed to be a 5 minute stroll on instagram became an hour long forage for his quotes and compositions. That’s when I knew I had fallen head over heels in love with the art of Sufi poetry.
Rumi is a name that perpetually resonates in the realms of Sufi poetry. He managed to elude the devotional boundaries within which Sufi literature was based and spilled the poetry over human emotions, sorrows of life and the art of change, a feat that most new age poets inherited. His work never reflected only on Islamic teachings but instead captured the gist of all religions.
Rumi’s ability to understand and portray the vehemence and spirit of humans within a few lines made him so much popular that eventually he became one of the most read poets of the world and set a new benchmark for Sufism in foreign countries, a relatively unknown concept to the west. The long ballads and exquisite poetry was now replaced by the heart warming and soul cleansing couplets and free verses. Today, Sufism is not just limited to praises of the Almighty, it captures the smaller things in life, the essence of emotions and raises the veil from the sufferings of people, all thanks to pioneers of modern Sufism namely Rumi and his contemporaries like Mirza Ghalib and Hafiz.
One particular piece of work that made me swoon and the one which I keep recalling again and again only to find a different interpretation every time, is,
My heart is so small,
It’s almost invisible
How can you place
Such big sorrows in it?
“Look”, he answered,
“Your eyes are even smaller,
Yet they behold the world”
The girl here is in a state of disbelief. She feels that her heart is so tiny yet it manages to capture so many emotions and feelings. But the boy is quick to point that your eyes are even tinnier, yet they manage to see so many enormous things.