RUMI at the age of thirty-seven meets SHAMS TABRIZI (the sun of Tabriz)"a weird figure wrapped in coarse black felt, who flits across the stage for a moment and disappears tragically enough." Shams has variously been described as: "being extremely ugly;" "a most disgusting cynic;" and having an "exceedingly aggressive and domineering manner." Jalaluddin, who until then had no interest or liking for poetry "found in the stranger that perfect image of the Divine Beloved which he had long been seeking. He took him away to his house, and for a year or two they remained inseparable. Rumi's pupils resented their teacher's preoccupation with the eccentric stranger, and vilified and intrigued against him until Shams fled to Damascus. Rumi sent his son to bring him back; but the tongues of his jealous traducers soon wagged again, and in 1247, the man of mystery vanished without leaving a trace behind."
In SELECTED POEMS FROM THE DIVAN SHAMS TABRIZI, Nicholson has selected his favorites from Rumi's love poems.
JALALUDDIN RUMI was born in 1207 in Balkh and died in 1273 in Konya. The greatest mystic poet of Iran and Islam, seven centuries later, has become the most popular poet in America.