Rembrandt van Rijn, The Mill, 1645-1648
The heart is a wheatgrain. We are the mill
where this body is a millstone
and thought, the moving river.
The body asks the river why it runs on so.
The river says, Ask the miller who made
the millrace that directs my falling
that turns your stone.
The miller says, You that love bread,
if this turning were not happening,
what would you dip in your broth?
So a lot of questioning goes on
around the milling of wheat,
but what really is this breadmaking work?
Now let silence ask
about wheat and the river,
about the miller and the stone
and the taste of bread dipped in soup,
and this listening we do at the mill.
Coleman Barks' note: The mill is one of Rumi's images for the process whereby individual grains get crushed to make something less separate, more communally useful (bread). Thought (the riverwater) and the body (the millstone) are part of this work, as are the miller (creative intelligence) and the customer (desire), who wants a piece of bread for his soup.
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Note on why I'm using a windmill instead of a watermill to illustrate this post (apart from having just noticed that in spite of loving Rembrand I didn't yet have a reference to him in my blog): thought rarely flows as fluidly and orderly as the waters of a river, its complexity is far more akin to that of the wind.
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Thank you, Ruth, for sharing this wonderful Rumi with me!