Your laughter turns the world to paradise

translated from the Farsi by Haleh Liza Gafori

Your laughter turns the world to paradise.
It tears through me like fire.
It teaches me.

Reborn in emptiness,
I emerge laughing,
here to learn from Love
new depths of laughter.

I’ve been short on courage,
but I have a heart of sunlight,
straight from the king’s hand.
I stir up laughter even in those who fear joy.

Crack open my shell. Steal the pearl.
I’ll still be laughing.
It’s the rookies who laugh only when they win.

Last night, the spirit of dawn came to my room
and gave me a lesson in laughter.
Our blazing roars lit the morning sky.

When I brood like a rain cloud,
laughter flashes through me.
It’s the habit of lightning to laugh through a storm.

Look at the furnace. Look at the stones.
See the glowing red veins?
Gold—laughing in fire, daring you,

“Prove you’re no fake!
Laugh even when you lose.”

We’re fodder for death so learn to laugh
from the angel of death.
He laughs at the jeweled belts and crowns of kings—
all that splendor’s just on loan.

Treetop blossoms erupt in laughter.
Petals rain down.

Laugh like the bud of a flower,
hugging the ground.
Its hidden smile opens to a laugh that lasts a lifetime.

From Gold (NYRB Classics, 2022) by Rumi. Translated from the Farsi by Haleh Liza Gafori. Copyright © 2022 by Haleh Liza Gafori. Used with the permission of the translator.