It’s the true man who leads the mystic life—
Whoever is human, whoever dares.
Those who stand high and look below with scorn
Are bound to fall from the top of the stairs.
Though a gray-bearded old man might look grand,
There is so much he doesn’t understand,
Let him not struggle towards the Holy Land
If he causes one heart to burn in tears.
A deaf man cannot hear what people say,
He thinks it’s night when it’s brightest day,
The atheist’s eyes are blind to God’s way
Even though the whole world glitters and glares.
The lover’s heart is the Creator’s throne,
God admires and accepts it as his own,
The man who breaks a heart shall groan and moan
In both worlds, suffering sorrows and cares.
You have a self-image in your own eyes,
Be sure to see others in the same guise.
Each of the four holy books clarifies
This truth as it applies to man’s affairs.
We have seen it all: Those who came are gone.
Those who once stopped here went back one by one;
He must have gulped love’s wine if anyone
Feels the reality that God’s truth bares.
Must read a few times to let it permeate fully
Yunus Emre was a Turkish poet and Sufi mystic that lived in the 13th century. Yunus is the Arabic name for Jonah – yes the belly of the whale Prophet
There is an overlap in the life and times of Ertugrul Ghazi and Yunus Emre, though because literature and historian libraries are scarce over this period, there is little concrete information about their lives
What remains for Yunus Emre is the legacy of his poetry and whilst I’m guessing this English translation probably doesn’t do him justice, I’m not remotely Turkish enough to be able to decipher the butchery of translation
Should you feel so inclined to join my recent Turkish history obsession, you can also find a Netflix series on the life of Yunus Emre, which is where I’ll be headed after I complete Dirilis Ertugrul