In the Air and Sea


Tending Two Shops

By Rumi


Don’t run around this world

looking for a hole to hide in.

There are wild beasts in every cave!

If you live with mice,

the cat claws will find you.

The only real rest comes

when you’re alone with God.

Live in the nowhere that you came from,

even though you have an address here.

That’s why you see things in two ways.

Sometimes you look at a person

and see a cynical snake.

Someone else sees a joyful lover,

and you’re both right!

Everyone is half and half,

like the black and white ox.

Joseph looked ugly to his brothers,

and most handsome to his father.

You have eyes that see from that nowhere,

and eyes that judge distances,

how high and how low.

You own two shops,

and you run back and forth.

Try to close the one that’s a fearful trap,

getting always smaller.  Checkmate,

this way.  Checkmate, that.

Keep open the shop

where you’re not selling fishhooks anymore.

You are the free-swimming fish.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fiddle gal
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 10:15:36

    Thank you. What a great poem and what great art work. You provide my inspiration for the day.


  2. karen
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 10:36:39

    remember what i said about my having a new perspective? it involves seeing that everyone is right. or, no one is 100% right and no one 100% wrong… most perspectives i have heard on the topic (from our recent emails) may be true, but they are also partial, which i am not certain is seen by many of those holding them; the perspective i hold says yes to them all. there is not my view and your view and so-and-so’s view, there is just “all views”; nobody owns anything, even if we think we do. i don’t like running back and forth; i never did, but could not see how to hold it a different way; we are primed for duality, but it is not our true nature. this feels more like the free swimming fish…


  3. ashcee
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 10:53:31

    Wow, this is so beyond beautiful… did you create this picture? If so, how?


    • Sandy Sue
      Mar 08, 2011 @ 12:00:38

      Thanks, Ashley. It’s mostly copies of antique photos, stuff I cut out of old magazines, and ephemera—stuff I find at flea markets and garage sales.


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