Be Your Note
Remember the lips where wind-breath
originated, and let your note be clear.
Don’t try to end it.
Be your note.
I’ll show you how it’s enough.
Go up on the roof at night
in this city of the soul.
Let everyone climb on their roofs
and sing their notes.
The Nightingale’s Way
A bird delegation comes to Solomon
complaining. Why is it
you never criticise the nightingale?
Because my way, the nightingale explains
for Solomon, is different.
Mid-march to mid-June I sing.
The other nine months,
while you continue chirping,
I am silent.
I found these two poems by Rumi, The Sufi mystic from the 13th century to be an interesting contrast to each other. Yet, each complimenting each other as well. The first poem is a call to be authentically oneself from the core of one’s being. A remembrance of “where wind-breath originated” is a remembering of the first breath of Ruah, the breath of God that indwells life. This is a declarative statement of I am.
The second poem contrasts this by realizing that if we are shouting who we are constantly like all of the birds do then it is a cacophony of noise. No more than a noisy din with no pleasure to the beholder. There is a time to shout ‘I am’ to the universe and a time to be still and listen. The nightingale seems to realize this and therefore receives no complaint from Solomon.
There is a time to honor the uniqueness of each personality. A time to relish in the joy of all that makes us individuals and shout that to the world. There is also a time to remain silent in order to hear the wonderous response to our declarations. A time to honor the community symphony in which we live and breathe and have our being. When we do so, we begin to find our place in that symphony. We begin to differentiate between our unique note and the notes of all else. We learn where our note can add to the music and harmony of the world. Or even learn when our note is the right discordant voice needed to be heard to introduce a change the direction of the mood and tempo towards justice and equality.
But we cannot do this, if we are onlyshouting our notes and not listening in return. There is a time to be silent, perhaps with a pregnant pause, waiting for the right moment when our note can be heard by one as wise as Solomon. Blessings