Permeating a Way (by Sandra Beckwith)

Permeating a Way (by Sandra Beckwith)

Permeating a Way (March 1, 2007)

Ten years ago I attended the United Nations Habitat II Conference in Istanbul. Many of my associates visited Rumi's birthplace and first introduced me to his presence. My favorite Rumi poem begins:

"Come for today is a day of festival
Henceforwrd joy and pleausure are on the increase.
Clap hands, say, 'Today is all happiness, from the beginning
it was a manifestly fine day.'"

One of my jobs is to teach a manners class to K-8 grades at a private Catholic school. We talk about the importance of gratitude and we begin class with: "Clap hands, for today is all happiness." The children love it and Rumi has found his way into their beings. His poetry escorts me to the perspective a mystic perceives of the wonder of this world. It is sorely needed right now as a cultural bridge, and a spiritual tool. Thank you for a wonderful show.

Sandra Beckwith
Los Angeles, CA (KPCC, 89.3 FM)

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is professor of Persian & Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, and the author of several books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal aI-Din Rumi.