I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?
Look at your eyes. They are small,
but they see enormous things.
Really, how can such great love be inside such a small thing as a tiny kitten? And yet the potential for a lifetime of love is there inside every kitten and every animal that shares its life with humans.
And it is for each of us as well, small and insignificant as we may seem sometimes, that a love larger than ourselves can be held in our hearts, and our small and fragile eyes, both our physical eyes and our inner intuitive eyes, can see enormous things around us, and our hearts are bigger than we know.
. . . . . . .
I listened to a program where I heard this poem by Rumi and remembered how it touched me years before but could not remember the text exactly. I ended up lying across my bed with books of Rumi’s poems and other poetry anthologies all around me pulled from the bookshelf in the corner. My cats all ran up the steps with me and leaped on the bed, anticipating, when I headed for that bookshelf, knowing exactly where my copy of The Essential Rumi could be found, savoring the idea of getting lost in the verses on my way to this one. As I read, all the cats wandered around me and on me, purring, approving, then happily settling down in a purring line next to me, curling in their quotes and commas of relaxation as I flipped through the pages of books.
I found the poem and remembered looking at photos from earlier times, and a photo of a black kitten so tiny she still had her baby blue eyes looking at me full of love and trust, and in that circular way that Rumi leads me I knew that I was intended to put the two thoughts together. We are always searching for the beloved. Sometimes the beloved comes in the form of a kitten.
Rumi’s poems don’t really have names, but translators and anthologists have given them names; this poem is sometimes called This Great Love.
You may see “Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī” or “Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi” or “Jelaluddin Rumi” or hear him referred to as “the mystic poet”, but though his writing seems to be modern free verse, the author was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist and theologian, living from 1207 to 1273, famous even in his own time for his writing, his decisions, and his practice and teaching as a Sufi mystic. The poems are written in Persian but their words transcend time and place and are read by people all over the world. The interpreter with whom I am most familiar is Coleman Barks, and I love to listen to him read what he’s found in Rumi’s writings in his soft Georgia accent. I’d reference a site somewhere on the internet but I don’t have one I prefer. Just search Rumi and you’ll find plenty.
Read poems inspired by my cats and by observing my backyard wildlife habitat, and listen to those I’ve recorded, and read about my poetry.
Subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle
Start with a 14-day free trial. You can cancel at any time during the free trial period. If you enjoy your subscription, do nothing and it will automatically continue at the regular monthly price of 99 cents. Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
© 2016 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!