by Jalal al-Din Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks


Inside this new love, die.

Your way begins on the other side.

Become the sky.

Take an axe to the prison wall.


Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.

Do it now.

You’re covered with thick cloud.

Slide out the side. Die,

and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign

that you’ve died.

Your old life was a frantic running

from silence.


The speechless full moon

comes out now.



The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep. 


Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273) was a Persian poet, theologian and Sufi mystic.

Coleman Barks is one of the premier translators of Rumi at work today. He has been a student of Sufism since 1977.

From The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne. Copyright © 1995 by Coleman Barks. Reprinted by permission of Coleman Barks.