The following poems are by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi. He was born in 1207 in what is today known as Afghanistan. For the last seven centuries he has been recognized in the Middle East and Western Asia as a literary and spiritual leader whose work will endure across the ages. The first three poems below are, as is the previous information, taken from a book by Andrew Harvey, "Love's Glory: Re-Creations of Rumi," published in 1996. The next three poems are from a translation by Camille and Kabir Helminski, Rumi: Daylight, A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance, published in 1994.
You need money, the love of friends,
If you want to discover Eternal Life
The prattle of "balance," of "modration," of "decorum."
The spiritual path wrecks the body
The more awake one is to the material world,
The intellectual quest,
Umar ibn Ibrahim al-Kahayyam
Umar ibn Ibrahim al-Kahayyam, or more commonly known as Omar Khayyam, lived in the time 1048 - 1131. The earliest references to Khayyam do not give any indication that he was a poet, but rather establish him as a philosopher and astronomer without equal. His work also establishes him as a mathematician. The first work to mention Khayyam as a poet is an Arabic compilation about poet and their art written in 1176-77. In a later abridgement of a history of philosophers made in 1249, Khayyam is described as a poser of "fugitive verses" which were "a tissue of error like poisonous snakes." This author claims that the inner meaning of these verses "revealed the evil of Khayyam's mind." The following ruba'i are, as is the previous information, taken from the translation by Peter Avery and John Heath Stubbs, The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam published in 1979. The ruba'i is two-lined stanza of Persian poetry, each line of which is divided into two hemistichs making up four altogether. The word ruba'i is from the Arabic meaning foursome.
Neither you nor I know the mysterious of eternity,
The cycle which includes our coming and going
I saw an old man in the wine-shop,
Nobody, heart, has seen heaven or hell,
Today, tomorrow is not within your reach,
Lucille Clifton was born in Depew, New York and educated at the Sate University of New York at Fredonia and at Howard University.
the lesson of the falling leaves
the leaves believe
the coming of Kali
it is the black God, Kali,
running Kali off is hard.
i beg my bones to be good but