Inspired by Rumi
September 30th, 2009
I'm often inspired to create a painting when I read a poem, sometimes an image so powerfully hits me when I read a line that I just have to make it real. That happened this week with a poem by Rumi called "The Guest House."
I've read this poem many times before. I think I've even posted it here in the past, but sometimes a new reading will bring out new things. This time around, I read the poem in Martha Beck's The Joy Diet (which I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's book group.) I was sitting outside by a lake, reading the chapter on truth, when I read the poem again and I was struck by the line "a crowd of sorrows" which I immediately saw as a group of three black birds swirling in a red house.
As I wrote about yesterday, I rode the inspiration train to do some late night collaging one evening and then some late night painting after that. I felt so compelled to bring this piece to life and loved the whole process. So nice when things flow like that. The collage elements you see in the previous post are mostly covered up. I never know exactly what's going to stick around when I do a mixed-media piece, but you can see bits of it in the ground and up close the layers are lovely.
Have you been inspired by any poems lately? Have a grouping of words ever pulled you to create something tangible?
Here's the Rumi poem for your enjoyment. It's a beautiful poem that has touched me in many ways. Perhaps it will spark some creativity for you as well.
The Guest House
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.
-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
p.s. The original of this piece sold, but there are prints available here.