The Guest House

I was away on the weekend so didn’t get around to my usual blog posting. Some old friends invited me to the dedication of their baby daughter,  the most gorgeous thing ever. (Alice, if you’re reading this when you’re much, much older — if you still have that smile of yours, well… mankind lies at your feet!)

The poem The Guest House by the Persian poet and mystic, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, was read by her dad at the church and it reminded me a little of “On Joy And Sorrow” by another Persian poet I like, Khalil Gibran. This got me thinking again on The Beauty Of Sadness, more so later that evening when I received sad news about the untimely death of an old schoolmate. Perhaps you too can find some meaning in their words…


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Rumi



Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your
laughter rises was oftentime filled with your tears…
When you are joyous, look deep into
your heart and you shall find it is only
that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in
your heart, and you shall see that in truth
you are weeping for that which has been
your delight.

– Khalil Gibran

Writer’s lament

Inside of me are words
longing to come out
yet confined to hell
by the rules of another man’s skill.
Who cares how you write
as long as you do.
Who cares what you speak
as long as you try.
Don’t let the pain of confinement
let the words dry up
let them out
if only to live and breathe
as they should…
for you.

Written after a meeting with an editor!

A poem – maybe a fragment, maybe the whole…

I couldn’t sleep last night. And then in one moment as I was hovering in “that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming” some words began to take form. So I grabbed pen and notebook and here we are:


Is this the trick
Fate plays on the bored minds
and bodies,
tantalised by feelings of
newly revived sensations?
confused by thoughts and
questions rebounding off each other
from sheer number?

I may leave it there or it may develop more…  As Derek Walcott once said, “If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average.”

December Moonlight

I want to touch
December’s moonlight
finger-marking, recollecting
falls gently on
cluttered desktops
through open windows,
and unlocked doors
in moonlight like December
this night air,
ruffling the pages of
an open journal
bookmarking your name
for only a moment…