Hope & Healing Through Photography and Poetic Expression


“I wish I were like you,”
Said the forest
to the roaring river,
“Always traveling,
always sightseeing;

Rushing towards the pure domain
of the sea,
The kingdom of water;
The passionate, vigorous spirit
of life,
The liquid turquoise of light
With eternal flow …”

“But what am I?
Only a captive,
chained to the earth.
In silence I grow old,
In silence I wither and die,
And before long
nothing will remain of me
But a handful of ashes.”

“O forest, half-asleep, half-awake”,
Cried the river,
“I wish I were you,
Enjoying a seclusion
of living emerald,

And illuminated by moonlit nights;
Being a mirror
reflecting the beauties
of Spring;

A shaded rendezvous for lovers.”

“Your destiny, a new life
every year;
My life, running away from myself
all the time;
Running. running, running
in bewilderment;
And what is my gain
Of all this meaningless journey?
Ah … never having a moment of calm
and rest!”

“No one can ever know
what the other feels;
Who does care to ask
about a passer-by
If he really existed
or was only a shadow?”

Now a passer-by
Aimlessly walking in the shade
Comes to ask himself,
“Who am I? a river? a forest?
Or both?
River and forest?


Hope you enjoyed this wonderful story (and companion image of me listening to the
Forest and River converse πŸ˜‰ ).
The piece is entitled Forest and River,Β written by
Jalal al-Din Rumi, with translation by Zhaleh Esfahani.

Much Love ~ Robyn Lee

54 responses

  1. onlinefunland

    Reblogged this on onlinefunland.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    • Thanks so much for that onlinefunland! Appreciate πŸ™‚

      June 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM

  2. This is fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:27 AM

  3. Thanks Julie…kind of tickled my fancy too… says so much of what I often feel about interpersonal dynamics ~ great life-lesson Rumi has offered in such a poetic and beautiful way… Isn’t my puppy smart?? LOL!! πŸ˜‰ xo

    June 1, 2012 at 12:30 AM

  4. ~Lady Day

    Ugg! Love love love love this. I hear you saying this though I know you did not write it, it is the way you see things. Thank you for sharing your wonderful mind and photo Robyn. Hugs

    June 1, 2012 at 12:31 AM

  5. You are so right Lady Day — I wish I did write this piece, as it resonates so strongly for me…but must bow down to Rumi and his translators for making it accessible. The pairing with this image was a must, for obvious reasons too πŸ™‚ So thrilled to know you enjoyed the post!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:43 AM

  6. I enjoyed it very much Robyn! Thank you πŸ˜‰

    June 1, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    • So happy to know that poojycat, most welcome and have a wonderful day!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:17 AM

  7. Chris

    Robyn, this post is amazing, what a great photo and a perfectly matched poem, I must read more of Rumi’s words.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:23 AM

    • Thanks Chris. Really glad you enjoyed it. This particular poem is not as frequently seen when referencing Rumi’s work. Had to dig a bit… I really like it too. All of his work is translated, so there are some variations. The translator most often noted is Coleman Barks (different than the one above). His work is often very mystical/wise I have a few books here. Sending Love !

      June 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM

  8. what a beautiful post and pic…I feel the relaxation and piece just from your legs:))

    June 1, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    • LOL!! They weren’t all that relaxed to be honest… was a little slippery on those rocks – and I wasn’t far from falling into the river!! πŸ™‚
      So happy you enjoyed the post though Dear David!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:23 AM

  9. Lovely words and lovely photos… πŸ˜‰

    June 1, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    • So sweet of you to say ledrakenoir! Thanks tons — and sending you good thoughts today!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:24 AM

  10. victoriaaphotography

    Lovely image and poem.
    How did you take the pic and get the bottom half of you in it?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    • Thanks Victoria, happy you enjoyed the post. Ahh..was waiting for someone to ask that. This river was in an urban neighborhood and I was just fooling around with a self-timer feature on my point/shoot canon. Not a real success as cut most of me out of the photo (and nearly fell in the river) — but thought this one artistic enough to use as companion to my featured poetic story by Rumi.

      Would love to learn more about self-portrait work — I soooo admire the work of this photographer (Cig Harvey) who does a lot of this, featuring herself in her photos as an emotional art to “tell her story” as a therapeutic process…as she says, “to make sense of my life”. Take a look http://www.cigharvey.com/pages/video.html. Have you every tried this kind of thing? Sending you good thoughts today V!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:35 AM

  11. Awesome! I can almost hear the water…
    And what a fantastic fitting story!

    June 1, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    • Yes fotografzahl!! The water was singing a loud tune!! You are hearing πŸ™‚
      Love this story too… expresses exactly much of what I often feel too! It’s not commonly featured with Rumi’s works either… had to dig a bit for it!
      Sending good thoughts out to you today! ~RL

      June 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM

  12. I love the perspective of this poem Robyn. Sitting under a tree by a creek is one of my favorite things to do.:)

    June 1, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    • Me too Jeannie! This poem/story really resonated with me. Yes – this was actually a river (Peconic River) i… was pretty flowing there… πŸ˜‰ Beautiful!! πŸ™‚

      June 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM

  13. So moving, Robyn…love the image captured so eloquently….it is impossible to understand the plight of another…we try but seem to fail terribly…it’s one of the mysteries that I often ponder, try to find a way in…and must always let go…love…

    June 1, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    • Thanks so much Meryl…I agree on his issue of empathy and understanding. One of the most challenging things I believe – for us humans. Most things in life are ‘experiential’ I believe… so I’ve found that walking in someone else’s shoes becomes nearly impossible. Compassion and love is the next best thing …and that is a blessing in and of itself. Much Love always… ps: take a look at this link on a photographer I admire http://www.cigharvey.com/pages/video.html. Have you ever done work like this? She uses her self-portraits as a tool to “make sense of her world” and deal with fears/anxiety etc. Reminded me of some of what I’m after with my pain shadow series ~ and shots like this. Would love to learn more — can imagine can become highly technical. I probably would be willing to go as far as the self-timer on my Canon, and a lightweight tripod!! LOL!! xo

      June 1, 2012 at 11:49 AM

      • I looked….wonderful work…and quite prolific…yes, it’s quite technical regarding lighting…but give it a whirl…you’ve been quite resourceful so far…of course, you can ask me any questions whenever…thanks for turning me onto her work!

        June 1, 2012 at 9:53 PM

  14. That poem was great. I thought that you wrote it yourself. The photos go along with the words very well.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    • So glad you enjoyed it Renee, and I agree. Loved it. Wish I wrote it, but Rumi is way ahead of me πŸ™‚ This is actually not one that is frequently seen in Rumi’s work collections… so glad I discovered it…. was perfect for my post today!! Thank you !

      June 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM

  15. Kathy

    You have the smartest dog on the planet!!! So poetic.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    • LOL! I know Kathy ~ Thank you πŸ˜‰

      June 1, 2012 at 11:52 AM

  16. Reblogged this on Niltsi's Spirit and commented:
    Wonderful picture and words.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    • Thanks so much for reflagging this post Loner. I appreciate, and am much honored you enjoyed it enough to do so. Greatly honored. Sending good wishes your way today and always!! RL

      June 1, 2012 at 12:52 PM

  17. buckwheatsrisk

    it drew me in!

    June 1, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    • Yay buckwheat! I was pretty mesmerized by something about this piece too. Just had to turn it into a post, and was lucky to have this River photo from last weekend ~ synchronicity! Sending loving thoughts your way!

      June 1, 2012 at 7:20 PM

      • buckwheatsrisk

        i’m so glad you got the photo too!

        June 1, 2012 at 7:22 PM

      • πŸ™‚

        June 1, 2012 at 9:20 PM

  18. WE are all both and we need each other to be both.
    Glad you “dropped this eave”. πŸ˜‰ ~D

    June 1, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    • Dan ~ you just always seem to know how to get the heart of all matters… really love the way you approach life. Were you always so insightful, or was it years and years of doing the ‘work’? Thank you so much for sharing your amazing spirit here~~ πŸ˜‰ RL

      June 1, 2012 at 7:24 PM

      • I like to think I have always been sincere. Years of spiritual guidance and shepherding have influenced my outlook. However it is only recently that have I begun to see how it’s all truly connected and found this outlet and such fine friends to share with. ~D

        June 1, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    • So both — you were predisposed to ‘evolve’….and I’d say you did the work to make it so. I agree about the wonderful community of friends here… Blessings to you always Dan~
      πŸ™‚ RL

      June 1, 2012 at 7:41 PM

      • Indeed. I am tree and river. Be blessed as well. ~D

        June 1, 2012 at 7:47 PM

  19. This is a great story Robyn, It helps me to see things from other’s perspective and perhaps not be so envious, but rather enjoy where and what I am right at this moment and enjoy other’s for where they are. Like seeing you in your moment, have a great weekend.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:28 PM

  20. Thanks so much Jane. Really happy to hear that. I agree…find joy in wherever we are, however we can!!! YES! Still working on it – but so nice to hear validation on this philosophy. Thrilled you enjoyed ‘my moment’ in this fun post!! RL

    June 1, 2012 at 7:27 PM

  21. Beautiful… the river and the forest, such a magical relationship… great to find your page, great energy… ~ j

    June 2, 2012 at 5:42 AM

    • Poeticinvocation, thanks sooo much for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate. Yes – this poem was a treasure to find. I am an avid Rumi fan, but did not read this particular work till recently, and just fell in love. Very glad you are enjoying the “healing lens” …. and Welcome!

      June 2, 2012 at 12:52 PM

  22. This was a very nice one

    June 2, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    • Thanks so much for that night lake… so glad you thought so!! RL

      June 2, 2012 at 11:32 PM

  23. Pawan Hira (awakeningpsyche)

    I have never come across such beautiful divine words of rumi. Your photo impresses my heart, beautifully done. Aah! The nature intrigues me more now.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    • Hey Pawan..thank you! I read a lot of Rumi and this was a new find for me too ~ I’m so happy you enjoyed the post and photo. Warm wishes your way and thanks for your lovely comment πŸ™‚

      June 7, 2012 at 8:33 PM

  24. George Ellington

    How could I not enjoy such a moment, such imagery, and the words of the beloved master. Thank you for sharing this.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    • So very welcome George….thank your for your lovely comment, and I’m delighted you enjoyed Rumi’s story paired with my imagery. Wonderful to have you stop in today ~ much love

      June 11, 2012 at 1:43 PM

  25. Loved it, loved it….it resonated deeply….thanks so much for sharing it…..I loved the photo, too! πŸ™‚

    June 11, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    • Thanks so much Celeste – that warms my heart to know!!! πŸ˜‰

      June 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM

  26. This resonated deeply and touched my heart….thanks so much for sharing it……love the photo, too!

    June 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    • Thank you dear Celeste… somehow missed this back when — hope this finds you doing well… and need to see if I am up to date on your story as I have been a bit out of sync with the blog schedule. Much Love !! xxoo

      September 21, 2012 at 3:57 PM

  27. Beautiful, I do see the similarities between Gibran’s poem on my blog and this one by Rumi. They both have been my favorite authors for quite some time, their work really inspires me!! Thanks for sharing it on my blog I love the comparison.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    • Thank you for visiting… yes – they struck me as having a common bond your post and this one! Very happy you enjoyed this as I did yours!! Best to you ~ RL

      September 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM

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