A Small Green Island

There is a small green island
where one white cow lives alone, a meadow of an island.

The cow grazes till nightfull, full and fat,
but during the night she panics
and grows thin as a single hair.
What shall I eat tomorrow? There is nothing left.
By dawn the grass has grown up again, waist-high.
The cow starts eating and by dark
the meadow is clipped short.

She is full of strength and energy, but she panics
in the dark as before and grows abnormally thin overnight.
The cow does this over and over,
and this is all she does.

She never thinks, This meadow has never failed
to grow back. Why should I be afraid every night
that it won’t. The cow is the bodily soul.
The island field is this world where that grows
lean with fear and fat with blessing, lean and fat.

White cow, don’t make yourself miserable
with what’s to come, or not to come.


Rumi, (Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī) 1207 — 1273


  1. Dr. Anita Rosenfield

    Such a valuable teaching. Rumi was my brother’s favorite poet.

    • Debra Darvick

      Rumi’s wisdom never ceases to take my breath away!

  2. Laurie

    Love it, Debra! Love the way he paints his wisdom!

  3. Patty Hoisch

    I haven’t come across this Rumi poem before. It’s wonderful!


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