Rumi – Two Ways of Running

A certain man had a jealous wife
and a very, very appealing maidservant.

The wife was careful not to leave them alone,
ever. For six years they were never left
in a room together.
But then one day
at the public bath the wife suddenly remembered
that she’d left her silver washbasin at home.

“Please, go get the basin,” she told her maid.

The girl jumped to the task, because she knew
that she would finally get to be alone
with the master. She ran joyfully.
She flew,
and desire took them both so quickly
that they didn’t even latch the door.

With great speed they joined each other.
When bodies blend in copulation,
spirits also merge.

Meanwhile, the wife back at the bathhouse,
washing her hair, “What have I done!
I’ve set the cotton-wool on fire!
I’ve put the ram in with the ewe!”

She washed the clay soap off her hair and ran,
fixing her chador about her as she went.

The maid ran for love. The wife ran out of fear
and jealousy. There is a great difference.

The mystic flies moment to moment.
The fearful ascetic drags along month to month.

But also the length of a “day” to a lover
may be fifty thousand years!

You can’t understand this with your mind.
You must burst open!

Fear is nothing to a lover, a tiny piece of thread.
Love is a quality of God. Fear is an attribute
of those who think they serve God, but who are actually
preoccupied with penis and vagina.

You have read in the text where They love him
blends with He loves them.
Those joining loves
are both qualities of God. Fear is not.

What characteristics do God and human beings
have in common? What is the connection between
what lives in time and what lives in eternity?

If I kept talking about love,
a hundred new combinings would happen,
and still I would not say the mystery.

The fearful ascetic runs on foot, along the surface.
Lovers move like lightning and wind.
No contest.
Theologians mumble, rumble-dumble,
necessity and free will,
while lover and beloved
pull themselves
into each other.

The worried wife reaches the door
and opens it.
The maid, disheveled, confused, flushed
unable to speak.
The husband begins his five-times prayer.

The wife enters this agitated scene.
As though experimenting with clothes,
the husband holds up some flaps and edges.

She sees his testicles and penis so wet, semen
still dribbling out, spurts of jism and vaginal juices
drenching the thighs of the maid.
The wife slaps him
on the side of the head,
“Is this the way
a man prays, with his balls?
Does your penis
long for union like this?
Is that why
her legs are so covered with this stuff?”

These are good questions
she’s asking her “ascetic” husband!

People who renounce desires
often turn, suddenly,
into hypocrites!


14 thoughts on “Rumi – Two Ways of Running

  1. i experience this with a man i admire–not that we’re trespassing anyone’s right, or copulating, but every single no we say to each other is a lie through gritted teeth.


  2. Amusing. This Rumi’s quite a storyteller. Liked that ending. Hehehe. Just adding that we needn’t blame religion -it’s a poor victim of how we abuse things.
    Awaiting your 2nd move Madd.


  3. Wow, I never knew Rumi got so raw. This is an intriguing poem. I’m curious how others interpret this. The lines about the “ascetic” husband and the hypocrite confuse me. Who is the ascetic and who is the hypocrite in this scenario?
    You definitely piqued my interest as usual, Maddy. {{{hugs]}} Kozo


    • Yes, that’s why Rumi’s poems are so effective. He’s saying look within, being human – all parties are hypocrites! The husband & maid lusts for one another, yet denies the obvious. The wife is jealous and fearful, yet remains with him because she’s powerless herself. If only we’re honest with ourselves, then clarity arises – no internal conflict. Rumi’s the man! {{{Big hug}}} ♥


      • Wow, love that reading, Maddy. Makes Rumi into a pre-feminist–advocating for women to pursue what is in their hearts rather than succumb to society’s boxes. Rumi is the man! {{{hugs}}} Kozo


    • Hey Rosanna, thanks for dropping by! Know thyself – is Rumi’s purpose. Poetry is like a Rorschach test, underneath the surface, what does it mean to you? Really great parable, I luv it! ♥


  4. Dump the man. If he can’t please you and you him admit defeat without causing continued pain . Who cares about who failed who. That battle can be endless in self guilt. I went throught a simluar thing trying to understand why a certian type that can not please me sexually regardless of what they do. it took years to find out when a man starts getting overly dependant on me I simply can’t have sex with him. It turns into sex with a dependant and that is gross. The only thing to learn is what turns you off not him. Dump him. Give him the maid to be more dependant on him. If a maid is his dependant let him live with ability only. She wont help him get anything else done. That is poetic justice friends. If housekeeping skill ability is the most he wants in a women let him die with it. It is his inabilty to deal with more anywhere in life. Obviously a losser.


    • Well hello! I’m glad this wonderful poem reflects/ reveals certain aspects of yourself. It’s very valuable to understand who you really are. Really great poetry is powerful that way! Awesome ☼


♥Thanks for sharing♥

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