Noel Cobb

Why Rumi Stayed Awake

Before the rain the night is full of listening.
Each rose bush a giant ear, listening
To the sighs of a hundred thousand sleepers.

The breathing of the world asleep is such music
To the rose. The noises of the day destroy
The rose's pleasure hearing raindrops forming far away.

To be awake when all else is sleeping
Was Rumi's great desire. With the ears of the rose bush
He heard the dreams of the wood dove and the robin.

A ball of bones and bright feathers holds a whole world.
The robin hops on legs thin as straws.
Without love, who would wish to exist?

What does the robin dream? What do men and women
Dream? Who cares what robins dream, except the poet?
When Rumi stayed awake all night, it was because of love.

There are those who say that after death there is nothing.
Tell that to the rose bush and hear her gentle laughter:
'Some people sleep so deep they lose all sense of dreaming.'