Don’t Go Back To Sleep

I’m kicking off a new music project inspired by my relationship with the Rumi poem Don’t Go Back To Sleep and my deep sense of it’s relevance to these times. I’m looking for contributions of recordings of people reading poems they love and that are inspiring them right now. I’d like the mix to have many voices and weave together many personal meanings. Get in touch if you’d like to contribute.

I love what Robert Bly, James Hillman and Michael Meade have to say in the introduction to their poetry anthology The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart.

We live in poetically underdeveloped times. We blame our our lives for a deficiency in the culture. For, without the fanciful delicacy and the powerful truths that poems convey, emotions and imagination flatten out. There’s a lack of spirit, of vision. The loss in the heart appears as a loss of heart to take up the great cultural challenges that are part of everyone’s citizenship. It is in this sense that we have come to think that working in poetry and myth is a therapy of the culture at it’s psychic roots.

I hope I’ll be inspired to write about my personal relationship with Rumi’s poem at another time, but for now it seems enough just to share it. The version below includes a brief introduction I found last year when I decided to memorise the poem to speak it to a small group that it was my honour to usher through the dawn threshold at the start of a solo land quest on Dartmoor, a quest held by my mentor Rebecca Card and myself.

All being well, it will be my honour and privilege to once again support Rebecca as she holds another land-based solo quest in July. There are a few places left. If you’re seeking courage, wisdom and vision to help you meet these times in your fullness and authenticity, Rebecca would be happy to take some time to explore with you over the phone whether your soul is calling for a solo quest right now.

For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.