The Song of the Reed



This poem opened the Masnavi, the great Persian poet and Sufi mystic, Jalaluddin Rumi's monumental compendium of rhyming couplets that explored issues of Sufi theology and the spiritual journey.

In the song of the reed, Rumi reflects on the human spirit through the metaphor of the ancient reed flute or ney that is popular in middle-eastern music.



Hear / download the "Song of the Reed" recited in Farsi here.

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be-sh’naw az nay chûn Hikâyat mê-kon-ad
az jodâ’îy-hâ shikâyat mê-kon-ad

k-az nayestân tâ ma-râ be-b'rîda-and
dar nafîr-am mard-o zan nâlîda-and

sîna khwâh-am sharHa sharHa az firâq
tâ be-gôy-am sharH-é dard-é ishtiyâq

har kasê k-ô dûr mând az aSl-é khwêsh
bâz jôy-ad rôzgâr-é waSl-é khwêsh

man ba-har jam`îyatê nâlân shod-am
joft-é bad-Hâl-ân-o khwash-Hâl-ân shod-am

har kasê az Zann-é khwad shod yâr-é man
az darûn-é man na-joft asrâr-é man

sirr-é man az nâla-yé man dûr nêst
lêk chashm-o gôsh-râ ân nûr nêst

tan ze-jân-o jân ze-tan mastûr nêst
lêk kas-râ dîd-é jân dastûr nêst

âtesh-ast în bâng-é nây-o nêst bâd
har-ke în âtesh na-dâr-ad nêst bâd

âtesh-é `ishq-ast k-andar nây fotâd
jôshesh-é `ishq-ast k-andar may fotâd

nay Harîf-é har-ke az yârê bor-îd
parda-hâ-ash parda-hâ-yé mâ darîd

ham-chô nay zahrê wo tiryâqê ke dîd?
ham-cho nay dam-sâz-o mushtâqê ke dîd?

nay HadîS-é râh-é por khûn mê-kon-ad
qiSSa-hâ-yé `ishq-é majnûn mê-kon-ad

maHram-é în hôsh joz bê-hôsh nêst
mar zabân-râ mushtarê joz gôsh nêst

dar gham-é mâ rôz-hâ bê-gâh shod
rôz-hâ bâ sôz-hâ ham-râh shod

rôz-hâ gar raft gô raw bâk nêst
tô be-mân ay ân-ke chûn tô pâk nêst

har-ke joz mâhê ze-âbash sêr shod
har-ke bê-rôzî-st rôz-ash dêr shod

dar na-yâb-ad Hâl-é pokhta hêch khâm
pas sokhon kôtâh bây-ad wa 's-salâm


Here's the translation, by Ibrahim Gamard:

Listen to the story of the reed (flute), how it is complaining.
It is telling about separations.

“Ever since I was severed from the reed field,
Men and women have lamented.

I want a heart torn, torn from separation,
So that I may explain the pain of yearning.

Anyone who has remained far from his roots
Seeks a return to the time of his union.

I lamented in every gathering;
I associated with those in bad or happy circumstances.

Everyone became a friend from his own opinion;
He did not seek my secrets from within me.

My secret is not far from my lament,
But eyes and ears do not have the light.

The body is not hidden from the soul, nor the soul from the body;
But seeing the soul is not permitted.

The reed’s cry is fire … its not wind!
Whoever doesn’t have this fire, may be nothing!

It is the fire of Love that fell into the reed.
It is the ferment of Love that fell into the wine.

The reed is the companion of anyone who was severed from a friend’
Its melodies tore our veils.

Who has seen a poison and a remedy like the reed?
Who has seen a harmonious companion and a yearning friend like the reed?

The reed is telling the story of the path full of blood;
It is telling the stories of Majnoon’s love.

There is no confidant of this understanding except themselves!
There is no purchaser of that tongue except the ear.

In our longing, the days became evenings;
The days became fellow-travellers with burning fevers.

If the days have passed, tell them to go an don’t worry.
You remain! … O You, whom no one resembles in Purity!

Everyone becomes satiated by water, except the fish.
Everyone who is without daily food, his days become long.

None who is “raw” can understand the state of the “ripe”.
Therefore, speech must be shortened. So farewell!


Listen to the Ney in this video.

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