Choose A Suffering

Choose A Suffering

Yesterday in the assembly I saw my
soul inside the jar of the one who

pours. “Don’t forget your job,” I
said. He came with his lighted

face, kissed the full glass, and as
he handed it to me, it became a

red-gold oven taking me in, a ruby
mine, a greening garden. Everyone

chooses a suffering that will change
him or her to a well-baked loaf.

Abu Lahab, biting his hand, chose
doubt. Abu Huraya, his love for

cats! One searches a confused mind
for evidence. The other has a

leather sack full of what he needs.
If we could be silent now, the

master would tell us some stories
they hear in the high council.

— Ghazal (Ode) 1246
Version by Coleman Barks
“The Soul of Rumi”
HarperSanFrancisco, 2001

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