Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
VII. Death: Immortality: Heaven
“To heaven approached a Sufi Saint”
Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207–1273)
 
From the Persian by William R. Alger

TO heaven approached a Sufi Saint,
  From groping in the darkness late,
And, tapping timidly and faint,
  Besought admission at God’s gate.
 
Said God, “Who seeks to enter here?”        5
  “’T is I, dear Friend,” the Saint replied,
And trembling much with hope and fear.
  “If it be thou, without abide.”
 
Sadly to earth the poor Saint turned,
  To bear the scourging of life’s rods;        10
But aye his heart within him yearned
  To mix and lose its love in God’s.
 
He roamed alone through weary years,
  By cruel men still scorned and mocked,
Until from faith’s pure fires and tears        15
  Again he rose, and modest knocked.
 
Asked God, “Who now is at the door?”
  “It is thyself, belovèd Lord,”
Answered the Saint, in doubt no more,
  But clasped and rapt in his reward.        20
 
 
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