Rumi’s Yom Kippur
by Corey Weinstein
She just appeared among us, joining
one day, an ordinary day, saying
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
We who are shunned trudging this heavy mile,
each step pulled out of the grasping muck
as through a swamp that moves forward with us.
A traveling mire collecting souls such as mine.
Gambler, thief, rambler, grifter,
runaway, hooker, anarchist, vet,
bagman, crazy, refugee, killer.
Running all, slogging, dragging from
parents, police, privation, damnation.
Our worst days trapped in this frozen moment.
She sang to comfort us:
Oh how strange this life is,
Just here for a little while,
Not knowing what we’re doing here,
Oh how strange this life is.
Seeming to define a goal,
Searching for a proper role,
And She sang:
There is one thing we know,
For the sake of other folks,
Smiles that bring our happiness,
Bound to them by sympathy,
So many souls unknown,
Life built on their labor,
Those alive, those passed along,
I must strive to give back some,
Give in return this song.
And She said:
Amid our oxygen bound carbon and
Nitrous fixed hydrogen, light is the
Essential in each of us.
And She saw:
In the vet’s lap is the fevered head he soothes,
From the killer’s heart come words of comfort,
The grifter hears the thief’s confession, warmly,
Women of the night soothe boys of the street,
They clean my boots when I am weary,
We pray, sing, laugh, weep, buy and sell,
Pass the cup, bowl, bottle, the spoon
If you know what I mean
Beg, bury, limp and carry.
She sang through the dark each night:
We broken shards of God’s first glow,
Upon the gleam our souls take flight,
Loved for who we are, not what we do,
Dragging not to, but with the light.
*Ours is not a caravan of despair. Attributed to Rumi (with controversy)
*Oh how strange this life is. Adapted from Albert Einstein