[ by Charles Cameron — wall art, sufism and poetry in Istanbul ]
I wasn’t altogether sure, when Zeynep Tufekci tweeted a stenciled image of a whirling dervish (above, right) the other day, that the dervish was in fact wearing a gas mask. Just the fact that the dervish was showing up on a wall during the events in Turkey was interesting to me — and all the more so since Zeynep pointed out that the accompanying slogan Sen de Gel — Come, Come Whoever you are is from Jalaluddin Rumi, the great Sufi poet and founder of the Mevlevi order of whirling dervishes.
As the photo of a dervish whirling in the park (above, left) shows, however — and I only saw it today — the stencil is indeed the iconization — in protest art — of a dervish in gas mask in real-time Istanbul.
There’s insight to be had there.
The version of Rumi’s poetry that I first ran across lo these many years ago, and to which I return:
AJ Arberry, tr, Discourses of Rumi
Rumi’s poetry in the versions that have made this thirteenth century Afghan-born, Persian-speaking resident of Turkey “the best-selling poet in America”:
Coleman Barks, Rumi: The Big Red Book
Rumi’s life, as told within Sufi tradition:
Idries Shah, The Hundred Tales of Wisdom
Rumi’s life, teachings and poetry, in contemporary context:
Franklin D. Lewis, Rumi: Past and Present, East and West
Rumi explored with scholarship and depth:
Come, Come Whoever you are