Here’s the end of that story about the old woman who wanted to lure a man with strange

cosmetics. She made a paste of pages from the Qur’an to fill the deep creases on her face and

neck with. This is not about an old woman, dear reader. It’s about you, or anyone who tries

to use books to make themselves attractive. There she is, sticking scripture, thick with

saliva, on her face. Of course, the bits keep falling off. “The devil,” she yells, and

he appears! “This is a trick I’ve never seen. You don’t need me. You are yourself a troop

of demons!” So people steal inspired words to get compliments. Don’t bother. Death comes

and all talking, stolen or not, stops. Pity anyone unfamiliar with silence when that happens.

Polish your heart with mediation and quietness. Let the inner life grow generous and handsome

like Joseph. Zuleika did that and her “old woman’s spring cold snap” turned to mid-July. Dry

lips wet from within. Ink is not rouge. Let language lie bygone. Now is where love breathes.”

– Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī –
The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems


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