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Rumi Says: the Crying Sound of the Reed Flute

Though I have always liked poetry, I never wrote my first poem until I was separated from my beloved.  Although I have read many poems, I never wrote one until I left my hometown. Why is it that separation breeds creativity?

It became clear to me when I was Introduced to Rumi otherwise known as the mystical poet. He had a saying that was a reoccurring theme in many of his poems  called the “the reed flute and the reed bed ” theory.

“Listen to the story told by the reed
of being separated
“Since I was cut from the reed bed,
I have made this crying sound.
Anyone apart from someone he loves
understands what I say.
Anyone pulled from a source
longs to go back.”

It is this separation and longing that ignites the fire within us to create. We all have that music that the soul sings. Because the body can easily be content, the voice of the soul won’t be loud enough to be heard. As Rumi said, the soul always wants to go back to the source. To the source in essence means to the peaceful and comforting sate of nature. Every story, every poem and every painting is the music of the soul.

The poet writes because he fills separated from the reality he wants to see, the singer sings to touch other souls so he can close the gap of separation. An artist is someone that cannot ignore the music inside, that comes from being empty, from wanting more in life.

Coleman Barks is a profound poet who devoted more than a decade translating Rumi’s poems to the western world. He referred his work of translation as “release the words of the mystic from their cage”. In one of his books, he explained the reed flute theory as “beneath everything we say and within each note of the reed flute, lies a nostalgia for the reed bed” It is that emptiness and hollowness that makes our soul sings.

Most of us have deafened our ears to not listen to the music inside us. The emptiness is filled with garbage of the world. We stopped singing, it feels natural even though it is not. We gradually accepted the silence of our souls and the process sucked the beauty of life out of our spirits. We adopted to the unnatural, the chaos and the soul slowly stopped singing.

However, there are still few among many who let their music be heard. No matter who the audience is, they sing, write, draw—they create in any form to add some beauty to life. They won’t keep silent. They sing for the sadness, the injustice, the loneliness, and the separation of the whole world. They keep singing about love, peace and humanity. They sing for us because the whole world is separated from where it used to be. What would this world be like without the artists and creators, what would life be like without soul singers? 

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” ~ Rumi
Mistre Aderaw
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Mistre Aderaw

Contributing Writer at Asharaye
Mistre Aderaw is the founder and editor of, an Amharic website that explores the issues of identity and self-actualization by exploring peace and love from within. Mistre is a prolific writer who is dedicated to motivating , inspiring and showing a different perspective of life.
Mistre Aderaw
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