Maryam Mafi was born and raised in Iran and is an experienced Persian translator; she now lives in London. Azima Melita Kolin was born in Bulgaria and is a concert pianist and an artist; she also lives in London. They have collaborated on this inspirational selection of poems from Rumi's Rubaiyat, quatrains that were originally set to music and sung in Sufi gatherings. They describe the experience of working together and sharing their love of Rumi as "an experience of great awe, discovery and joy. Sometimes we were uplifted, sometimes lost for words, but every time more enriched."
The themes of these poems are the joy of friendship and the agony of loss. Some, no doubt, arose out of Rumi's own spiritual friendship with Shams of Tabriz and his mysterious disappearance. But even when read outside that context, these verses will touch your heart and soul. They reflect the universal longing for connection and love. Listen to several of them:
"Dear heart, where do you find
the courage to seek the Beloved
when you know He has annihilated
so many like you before?
I do not care, said my heart,
my only wish is to become
one with the Beloved."
"Sometimes I feel like a king,
sometimes I moan in my own prison.
Swaying between these states
I can't be proud of myself.
This 'I' is a figment of my imagination."
"Do you know what the music is saying?
'Come follow me and you will
find the way.
Your mistakes can also lead you
to the Truth.
When you ask, the answer
will be given.' "
You made me lovingly,
put me in a dress of skin and blood.
Then planted deep inside me
a seed from Your heart.
You turned the whole world
into a sanctuary where You are
the only One."
"The time has come to turn your heart
into a temple of fire.
Your essence is gold hidden in dust.
To reveal its splendor
you need to burn in the fire of love."