Joseph's Brothers Sell Him into Captivity (1855 painting by Konstantin Flavitsky) Heavy
metaphors come to mind about how we treat our fellow-human family...
I posted and re-posted on the story of Joseph as found in the Qur'an and keep forgetting how deeply I felt this story the very first time:
JOSEPH in biblical and Qur'an accounts as well as in poetry and teaching stories has become
a haunting theme and personage for me yet these are just preliminary notations...
For now, I want to mark here my intention with the following poem...Then I intend to include new insights from a recent course offered by The Republic of Rumi course, "The Art of Joseph" with which I want to spend much more time...
This painting is Persian and is from the 1400's -- find the credit and more
I also want to include a story or two told of a young Muslim boy hearing stories of Joseph sung by a beggar in his home.
This is an interpretation of one of Rumi's poems by Coleman Barks (See his Osho Chapter on p. 179 of "Rumi The Big Red Book")
Joseph has come, the handsome one of this age, a victory banner floating over spring flowers.
Those of you whose work it is to wake the dead, get up. This is a work day.
The lion that hunts lions charges into a meadow. Yesterday and the day before are gone.
The coin of now slaps down in your hand,
with the streets and buildings of this city all saying,
The prince is coming! A drumbeat starts.
What we hear about the friend is true. The beauty of that peacefulness
makes the whole world restless.
Spread your robe out to catch what sifts down from the ninth level.
You strange exiled bird with clipped wings, now you have four full-feathered pinons.
You heart closed up in a chest, open.
The friend is entering you.
You feet, it is time to dance.
Do not talk about the old man. He is young again.
And do not mention the past. Do you understand?
The beloved is here.
You mumble, But what excuse can I give the king?
When the king is making excuses to you.
You say, How can I escape his hand?
When that hand is trying to help you.
You saw fire, and light came.
You expected blood. Wine is being poured.
Do not run from your tremendous good fortune.
Be silent and do not try to add up what has been given.
An uncountable grace has come to you.
In the Mathnawi Rumi tells a story about "childhood friends"....and one such friend who
visits Joseph as the de facto ruler of Egypt. The friend asks: "What was it like when you
realized your brothers were jealous and what they planned to do?" In the story, Joseph
answers: "I felt like a lion with a chain around my neck...not degraded by the chain...but
just waiting for my power to be recognized." The friend asks how it was down in the well
and in prison. Joseph answers: "Like the moon when it's getting smaller, yet knowing the
fullness to come..."