“Nearer Than Your Jugular” (Rumi)

Whose idea was this, to have the lover visible

and the beloved invisible?

So many people have died of their desiring

because of this. The lover cannot kiss

the lips he wants, so he bites himself.

Satisfaction is always two bow-shots away, and yet something in the soul

prefers the unreachable lover

to anyone attainable.

This being locked in

is better than having the keys

to any consolation-house.

The beloved’s rejection is wanted

more than anyone else’s acceptance.

World-happiness is nothing. Look for what Bestami had, what Sanai and Attar wrote of.

A beautiful meal looks delicious. Then one night passes, and the food passes

through you, becoming repellent filth.

Eat love-food. Suckle the toes of a lion, as the baby Abraham did in the cave.

But you should put away

what you learned as a fetus in your cave, that need for blood.

There is a tall tower that love builds. Live there in silence.

The one who knows all secrets is here now, nearer than your jugular vein.

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