Zuleika had a secret, every word
or phrase she spoke in secret ways referred
to her beloved Yusuf. If she said,
“The moon is out tonight,” she meant instead
to say she loved him. When she said, “Aloe”
or “Spice” or “bread,” her confidantes would know
that it was code for Yusuf; every phrase
a tribute to his beauty and his ways.
You could say, and by now you may have guessed,
that Zuleika lived a life that was obsessed
with Yusuf; she had turned the very gift
of speech to magic, making meanings drift
and making words say what they never meant.
The blandest phrases turned to sentiment
and thoughts and praises of Yusuf. When she cursed
aloud she meant she wanted time reversed
to once again the hour they last met
when parting made her words turn to regret.
His was the name that every morning burst
from her lips and quenched her every thirst
his name would warm Zuleika in the cold.
And just so, all believers should be told,
that when you seek salvation for your soul
you merge into the ocean of the whole
so lover and beloved are the same
your Zuleika is merely Yusuf’s name
and even though your linguist thinks it odd
all pronouncements are one–the word is “God.”
The syllable that permeates all things
exploding stars and songs the robin sings.
"The Word", A poem by Rumi, as translated by Farrukh Dhondy