In Baghdad, Dreaming of Cairo

I volunteered to write a short devotional for my church’s Lenten devotional book. The one I chose was based on the text from Jeremiah 17:7-8.  When I sat down to write a couple of days ago, this re-imagined version of Rumi’s “In Baghdad, Dreaming of Cairo” came out.  It’s based on the Coleman Barks adaptation of the poem. (Note: I did write an actual devotional, too, but it’s for late March, so I don’t want to spoil it).

I was living in Baghdad.
A rich uncle died.
Or was it a cousin?
Never mind.
I was a man of wealth then,
Of easy leisure.
I was young and foolish, too.
What did I know
Of the fickle nature of money?
Of how it leaks from your very pockets?
Before long my fortune
And my happiness had
Dried up. Vanished.
Only then did I think to call,
“Lord, Lord!”
One night in a dream,
A voice came to me –
The Lord, perhaps.
Well, I thought so.
The voice directed me,
“Go to this address in Cairo.
There your treasure will
Be restored.”
I took
The little I had.
I made for Cairo, reaching it
With nothing but the clothes
On my back.
Shame prevented me from
Begging.
Only at night,
Anonymously,
Did I dare call out
For help
From the townspeople,
Hoping for coins from the
Dark windows.
Rumors of thieves
Had brought out the
Night patrol.
I was taken,
A young man,
Maybe my own age.
I begged him to let me go.
“I’m no thief.
Just a poor man,
Directed by a dream.”
I told him my dream.
He wept.
“You fool.
I’ve had the same dream,
But in mine, I was
Directed to go
To Baghdad.”
He even remembered the address.
It was my own.

Cairo sda&sm

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