Mercury Day Poetry: Rumi’s “Chickpea to Cook”

Steve post about Tim Miller’s teacher training has brought this poem to my mind. I always feel a kind of distant kinship with the folks going through Tim’s trainings, and this is my way of sending them some love: I promise you Tim read this poem during a savasana at some point in the past two weeks. It’s the single best poem about teaching I’ve ever come across. And it makes me look forward to being knocked back into the pot a few weeks from now.

Chickpea to Cook 

A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot
where it’s being boiled.

“Why are you doing this to me?”

The cook knocks him down with the ladle.

“Don’t you try to jump out.
You think I’m torturing you.
I’m giving you flavor,
so you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.

Remember when you drank rain in the garden.
That was for this.”

Grace first. Sexual pleasure,
then a boiling new life begins,
and the Friend has something good to eat.

Eventually the chickpea
will say to the cook,
“Boil me some more.
Hit me with the skimming spoon.
I can’t do this by myself.


I’m like an elephant that dreams of gardens
back in Hindustan and doesn’t pay attention
to his driver. You’re my cook, my driver,
my way into existence. I love your cooking.”

The cook says,
“I was once like you,
fresh from the ground. Then I boiled in time,
and boiled in the body, two fierce boilings.

My animal soul grew powerful.
I controlled it with practices,
and boiled some more, and boiled
once beyond that,
and became your teacher.”

Posted by Bobbie

Published by

theconfluencecountdown

Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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