The following piece appears in our Summer 2017 digital issue. The entire issue is available for immediate download.
A sandalwood burns in an unseen, mysterious realm.
This love spread everywhere is the smoke of that incense.
Daily life has become clamorous. TV with its numerous channels, cell phones, email, Internet, traffic, gossip, and so forth have occupied so much of our space and mind. Most people feel that they do not have the time or patience to add poetry to their already busy, noisy schedule. In his 2008 book Why Poetry Matters, Jay Parini writes that poetry is not a main feature in our entertainment, hobbies or routine readings. Nevertheless, good poetry can actually save us from the noise and stress of modern life because the reading or writing of poetry helps people to sit alone or with others in a friendly atmosphere, listen to the inner voice or of their own or others, and relax, meditate, explore, and enjoy. So poetry is not simply a mental occupation with words; it has practical applications in our lives and society. We do need poets and their creative works. Rumi is a case in point.
RASOUL SHAMS is the translator of Rumi: The Art of Loving (2012) and author of Rumi Essays: On the Life, Poetry, and Vision of the Greatest Persian Sufi Poet (2016). For more information, visit www.rumipoetryclub.net.