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“An Empty Garlic” by Rumi

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The first poem by Rumi that I read was entitled “An Empty Garlic”. The title threw me off at first, since it goes into this whole thing about an old woman, who the narrator is trying to discourage his friend from going after. “Tasteless fig, fold over fold, empty as dry-rotten garlic.” This line finally made the title ring through the piece, which tied up a loose end for me. I kind of agree with Rumi, though how could a person desire a woman that is described by this quote? Think about how rancid food becomes once it has begun to rot. It’s disgusting. Personally I don’t think I could ever describe another human being as dry-rotten garlic unless that person previously antagonized me. If he really thinks of this woman that way, then he should box up those opinions and let his friend find out on his own. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Also Rumi writes about how she has this other man trapped; yet her body is a barren wasteland. Just because her body is not great, it says nothing about the fact that she could possibly have a loving compassionate heart and a great mind. So is Rumi leaving it that love should be based on looks? I think it is more plausible that he in fact twisted his message to make that option sound worse than it would if he only made a reference to it.

“You miss the garden, because you want a small fig from a random tree.” In this quote Rumi is trying to explain to his friend that he is almost wasting his love on this one woman. I understand the point Rumi is trying to make, and that is that if a person is going to miss their life by letting it pass by while they are infatuated with one person, then it is not worth it. It seems like Rumi is almost preaching to a younger man from self experience, and that the description was more of a woman in Rumi’s past than the one that this younger man is in love with.

In the poem “There’s Nothing Ahead”, the mood is very anti-religious, but at the same time pro-everything. Its entitled theme brings up the topic of the apocalypse, which is insured into the poem by some phrasing. “The miracle of Jesus is himself, not what he said or did about the future. This to me seems like Rumi has a very narrow view of what is to come, the problem with it is that it seems like he is willing to wait for an infinite amount of time for this so called ending. I mean if it has not happened between biblical times and whenever Rumi was writing, who is to say if it will ever actually happen. The next quote I took was actually the next sentence. “Forget the future.” To forget the future is impossible since it has not happened no one could know it. Also besides the apocalyptic theme there is a little bit of an “if you wish it, it will be so,” sort of thing going on. This makes me think that Rumi is almost himself wishing for nothing as in no universe to be in his future.

One thing I noticed when reading this over was the part about good and evil being mixed. If this were in fact, so then some of the things, which I interpreted before, would in fact be incorrect, because the apocalypse is an evil ideal. So then Rumi would not infect believe in the apocalypse, but I do not believe this is true. I think it is more that Rumi is purposely contradicting himself to confuse the reader, so that they continue thinking.

Rumi has a very erratic yet completely legitimate style that is very fitting to the topics he talks of in his poems. Many of his poems are quite short, but are no less meaningful because of their shorter length. One thing I did not like was that he had a very religious and preacher like style, but this may have been dictated by the era in which he wrote these poems. All in all they were very insightful poems and quite easy to interpret and analyze. (Anthology, 102)

Process Notes:

I had written two short pages in my response journal on Rumi poems previous to the assignment of this assignment. So all I really had to do was expand and polish work I had already done. This assignment was very fun since I really like poetry and the analysation there in. Also I had a lot of fun with many of the topics that Rumi talked about and most of them seemed quite humorous to me. I did take my paper to the writing center and have a tutor review the grammar with me just to make sure I had correct punctuation and spelling. This resource is very helpful and reassuring that I am handing in the best work I could possibly do, and this feeling is quite pleasing. Also this is one of the first papers that I ever started during a break from school, this took a lot of burden off my back for when I came back and I did not have as much work as I normally would have.

This pressure being lifted was a lifesaver since I actually had a presentation due in another class, which I had forgotten about. When I came back from vacation and realized that I had this presentation since I had already made a good start on this paper I could devote more time to preparing for my presentation. All in all I really liked this shorter length paper assignment since it forced up to focus on getting all the points we wanted to express into this small a space and this in turn made the quality reflect how much work was put into the small area given.

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