Shahram Shiva, born in Mashad, Khorasan Province, the center of Sufism in Iran, has been translating Rumi's poems for twelve years. This volume contains 180 quatrains by the great Persian mystic (1207-1273) who is currently the most popular poet in the West.

In his introduction, Shiva presents 12 reasons, gleaned from participants in his workshops, why Rumi's poetry is so meaningful (see excerpt). Shiva's translations of Rumi seek to honor the poet's Persian voice, and in his readings, which we have been privileged to attend, he recites in Persian and English.

Shiva is convinced that this mystic reached "a rare level of divine intimacy with the Beloved." When Rumi uses images such as the nightingale, the pearl, the rose, wine, the King, and the garden, he is seducing us with word portraits that allude to our relationship with God.

Let Rumi's Persian voice lift your spirit and take you to a fresh conception of yourself:

"You personify God's message.
You reflect the King's face.
There is nothing in the universe that you are not
Everything you want,
look for it within yourself — you are that."

In another example, the Beloved is a shape-shifter:

"This is me: Sometimes hidden and sometimes revealed,
Sometimes a devoted Muslim, sometimes a Hebrew and a Christian.
For me to fit inside everyone's heart,
I put on a new face everyday."

There are so many dimensions to Rumi's work; open yourself to Shahram Shiva's translations, and you will be refreshed.