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Love is the Work of Wrestlers

Love is the Work of Wrestlers

The most famous poet in America is probably Emily Dickinson. Or maybe Robert Frost or Edgar Allan Poe. Or more recently, Maya Angelou. But none of those individuals are America’s best-selling poet. 


Love is the Work of Wrestlers

For the last few decades, the best-selling poet in America has been a Persian, Sufi mystic who was born in Afghanistan over 800 years ago.




Rumi wrote mostly in Persian, but his poetry has been translated into dozens of languages. In 1995, Harper published a collection of English translations compiled by an American poet, former University of Georgia professor, Coleman Barks. It’s been on bestseller lists ever since.


Someone once asked Professor Barks why Rumi is so popular. He said it’s because Rumi deepens our faith.

“It is said that people of all religions came to Rumi's funeral in 1273. Because, they said, he deepens our faith wherever we are.”

- Prof Barks

Eight centuries after Rumi’s death, his 13th-century words still transcend borders, religions, and cultures. They show up at weddings. And on posters and internet memes.

Here are just a few examples of Rumi-isms.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.


If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?

And my favorite.

Love isn't the work of the tender and the gentle. Love is the work of wrestlers.

It’s been said that love is a verb. But Rumi goes even further. It’s not just a verb. It’s work.


And not just work. Hard work. Work that requires strength, commitment, grit, patience, focus, sacrifice, and endurance.


The work of wrestlers.


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