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The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Rumi (Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi) (1207 – 1273) was a teacher, scholar, poet, and Sufi mystic in 13th century Persia.  There are quite a few translations of his works into English (and many other languages); this poem is from the 1995 book The Essential Rumi, whose selections are translated with great sensitivity by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A.J. Arberry, Reynold Nicholson.