A Pearl on the Ocean Floor

A Pearl in the Sea

Last week, this Rumi poem inspired me to make some photographs (like this one, left; more below the poem) with a scarf, a pearl, and a very small whale.

This poem comes from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks.

Where Everything is Music 

Don’t worry about saving these songs!

And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.

This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive
from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.

Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.

This singing art is sea foam

This singing art is sea foam

The graceful movements come from a pearl...

The graceful movements come from a pearl…

...somewhere on the ocean floor.

…somewhere on the ocean floor.

This poem brings up so much for me: the singing of songs, the playing of music, that urge that wells up from somewhere inside the body….  and the immortal quality of that urge.  Reminds me of the “music of the spheres.”  And of the way music can be so fun and transportive, all at the same time.  And I love best the last lines: “okay, quit talking about it and just feel it.”  I’ve definitely felt those soul windows opening (and sometimes shutting, only to open later).

When I finished reading it, I looked at the blue scarf I was wearing, and it felt just like the ocean, swirling all around that pearl at the bottom of the sea.

Of course there’s much more in this poem.  What do you get from it?

Thanks to Barbara for giving me the tiny whale as a present, and thanks Dena for gifting me the silk scarf.  Thanks to Erin for loaning me her Irish pearl as a photo prop.  (This was my first photo illustration ever.  It was fun!)

6 thoughts on “A Pearl on the Ocean Floor

  1. Laura DeLoye

    Oh, Grace! This is beautiful! I LOVE the colors of the scarf and the lines of the whale and the pearl – beautiful wonder.
    I was just introduced to this poem on 11/9 – I posted about it on Facebook – I’m so curious…did you read it?
    There was a singer/songwriter, Bob Sima, who I got to hear at a house concert in the area. A song he wrote “Everything is Music” pairs nicely with “This Little Light of Mine.” I fell in love with it. Don’t let your music die within is another line.
    Everything is music, isn’t? I still hear Snooky saying “Music…is, man.” inspired by his college friend.
    Tis true.
    Thank you for sharing in the music of life – you have created such beautiful tunes in life!!
    Laura :)

    1. Grace Post author

      Laura, did you really just find this poem too?? Now THAT’S some synchronicity. I was flipping through the Rumi book looking for a different poem, and found myself reading this one.

      Gotta love that universe, pointing us in cool directions all the time.

      I’d love to hear that song, “Everything is Music.” Do you know if it’s online anywhere? Do you sing it?

  2. Lisa Fischbeck

    Stop the words now.
    Open the window in the center of your chest,
    and let the spirits fly in and out.

    Despite what the word therapy can do, there ARE times when the words need to stop, and only the spirits, good and bad, can give us the truth.

    Thanks for introducing me to this Rumi poem. Hadn’t read it before.

  3. Henry Outlaw

    Grace, This is so lovely. Thank you for posting it and passing it my way. I have passed it on to my Delta friends.

  4. Susan Wells

    Ok! Window open! Only nice ones please:)

    “wells up from somewhere inside the body” Dudette, but you just summed up the break I took from the studio with Tim.


    Love you!!


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