A Response to Rumi’s “An Awkward Comparison” by Gina Maskell

“An Awkward Comparison”

This physical world has no two things alike.
Every comparison is awkwardly rough.
You can put a lion next to a man,
but the placing is hazardous to both.
Say the body is like this lamp.
It has to have a wick and oil. Sleep and food.
If it doesn’t get those, it will die,
and it’s always burning those up, trying to die.
But where is the sun in this comparison?
It rises, and the lamp’s light
mixes with the day.
which is the reality, cannot be understood
with lamp and sun images. The blurring
of a plural into a unity is wrong.
No image can describe
what of our fathers and mothers,
our grandfathers and grandmothers, remains.
Language does not touch the one
who lives in each of us.

I started my drawing with the ribbons curled up and looping around each other in the center in order to signify this inner knowledge that we cannot access so easily. Plus the way I am imagining inner knowledge is as coiled DNA, everyone has DNA, it is the necessary code work for our bodies just as this inner knowledge is the necessary code work for our spiritual achievement. The coils of knowledge are surrounded by a fortress wall protecting our knowledge, nothing can get in and only small bits can get out. There are small ladders leading out of the fortress that send theses small bits of knowledge in all directions, to all of our senses and to our mind. Our senses don’t quite understand how to respond to these messages.

I understood from the poem that our perception is so limited by our senses, by sight, sound, smell, taste, and feel. We rely too heavily on them and they are not always accurate. We have to be able to listen to the knowledge that is inherent within, even if it is not a full set of knowledge at times.


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