Who Says Words with My Mouth?

A dear friend of mine gave me a book for my 21st birthday called “The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures.” I love poetry, I love different cultures, and I love spiritual ideas, so it was really a perfect gift. Through 15 years of cross-country moves and purging of extraneous “stuff,” it has managed to gain a permanent spot on my bookshelf. Occasionally, I’ll pick it up and flip through it, thinking of my friend Shannie and wishing her well. 

This was the poem I flipped to this morning. I’m not sure what it is about it that I really like. Well, part of it is that it’s more than 700 years old. Rumi is just amazing – his poems are so often universal and timeless. Perhaps its the way he describes contemplating the soul, the entity/identity that’s manifested through our physical senses, and our purpose in this life. Or maybe his description of himself and his poetry at the end. It all feels very honest. And honesty is good. 🙂 

Who Says Words with My Mouth?
by Rumi (1207 – 1273)

All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I’ll be completely sober.  Meanwhile,
I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This poetry, I never know what I’m going to say.
I don’t plan it.
When I’m outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

(Translated by Coleman Barks)

 If you enjoyed this post, please pass it along. You can follow Motherhood and More on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 1

  1. I love Rumi! Thanks for sharing this poem. These lines are awesome and comforting:

    I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
    Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *