An initiative of the Menil Collection with cultural, educational, and social justice organizations in the Greater Houston area.
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“Say I Am You” by Jelaluddin Rumi

Dec 17
12:53 pm
By Menil


Say I Am You

I am dust particles in sunlight.
I am the round sun.

To the bits of dust I say, Stay.
To the sun, Keep moving.

I am morning mist,
and the breathing of evening.

I am wind in the top of a grove,
and surf on the cliff.

Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on.

I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.
Silence, thought, and voice.

The musical air coming through a flute,
a spark off a stone, a flickering in metal.

Both candle and the moth crazy around it.
Rose and nightingale lost in the fragrance.

I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,
the evolutionary intelligence, the lift and the falling away.

What is and what is not.
You who know Jelaluddin,

You are the one in all, say who I am.
Say I am you.


Translation by Coleman Barks. Reprinted with permission. From Rumi: The Big Red Book. The Great Masterpiece Celebrating Mystical Love & Friendship; Odes and Quatrains from “The Shams,” ed. and trans. Coleman Barks (New York: Harper One, 2010), 280.

Artwork by Suzan Frecon, four-color composition on small paper 3 (dust and sun), 2009. Watercolor on found old Indian paper, 10 5/8 × 6 3/8 inches (27 × 16.2 cm). Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London