Monday, February 9, 2015

The Guest-House - Rumi

Whenever my english class gets cancelled (which is starting to seem like once a week) my professor emails us an assignment. Usually it's a boring assignment that just takes up time, but this week was completely different! We had to read a few poems and analyze them. The first couple I read were boring and I couldn't relate to any of them. Then, I found this one and I can honestly say I feel like I have a new perspective on emotions and how I should view them!

The Guest-House

This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be clearing you 
out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent 
as a guide from beyond.

Say I Am You: Poetry Interspersed with Stories of Rumi and Shams, Translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks, Maypop, 1994.

When I first read the title I expected a poem full of imagery and words I didn't understand painting a picture of someone's guest house. Boy was I surprised when it turned out to be the complete opposite!

The one thing I love about poetry is that everyone can interpret the same exact words into a completely different idea then everyone else! Here are just some things I found powerful in this poem.

Lines 7-12:Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight." These few lines were my favorite. It took me a couple read throughs to try and figure out what this meant. I finally realized that Rumi was saying that sorrow can so easily swallow us up and drag us down and eventually empty us completely. How beautiful is it that he is able to see this as an opportunity for renewal and a way to start over with new, better emotions.

Lines 16-18:" Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." I believe that word choice was crucial here for Rumi. He could've easily said that the emotions were simply sent from above but instead he chooses to say that they were sent as a guide. That these emotions weren't meant to fix us immediately but rather guide us to be stronger and joyous.

What did you take away from this poem? 

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