We should ask God
To help us toward manners. Inner gifts
Do not find their way
To creatures without just respect.
If a man or woman flails about, he not only
Smashes his house,
He burns the whole world down.
Your depression is connected to your insolence
And your refusal to praise. If a man or woman is
On the path, and refuses to praise — that man or woman
Steals from others every day — in fact is a shoplifter!
The sun became full of light when it got hold of itself.
Angels began shining when they achieved discipline.
The sun goes out whenever the cloud of not-praising comes near.
The moment that foolish angel felt insolent, he heard the door close.
“Praising Manners” by Rumi, translated by Robert Bly, from The Winged Energy of Delight. © Harper Collins Publishers
* Many thanks to Ellen H. who recommended this poem for us. She and I both agreed that this piece is so appropriate for our times. “We need a little more civility in our national discourse,” Ellen said. Amen to that, Ellen, amen to that. Thank you again for sharing, Christy
* A correction: Thanks to to kind reader Rebecca S. who alerted me that this piece was in fact a Rumi poem that Robert Bly translated (along with a selection of poems by other poets as well) in the above credited book. I’ve changed the title and credits to reflect this correction. Thanks for the catch, Rebecca!