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Yunus Emre

The Drop That Became The Sea,
Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre


Yunus Emre (d. 1320?), called "the greatest folk poet in Islam" (Talat Sait Halman), was an unlettered Turkish shepherd who sang mystical songs which are still popular today. He was the first of a whole tradition of Turkish Sufi troubadors who sang of the Divine Presence, the Beloved, the Friend. His songs/poems convey a profound yet earthy spirituality. His subject is the Heart, the point of awareness where God is realized in us. "I've come to build some hearts," Yunus sings.


To be in love with love with love is to gain a soul,
to sit on the throne of hearts.

To love the world is to be afflicted.
Later the secrets start to make sense.

Don't be bramble,
become the rose. Let your maturity unfold.
The brambles will only burn.

Prayer was created by God so man could ask for help.
It's too bad if you haven't learned to ask.

Accept the breath of those who are mature-
let it become your divining rod.
If you obey your self, things turn our wrong.

Renouncing the world is the beginning of worship.
If you are a believer, believe this.

Respect your parents and ancestry,
and you will have fine green clothes of your own.

If you earn the complaints of neighbors,
You'll stay in Hell forever.

Yunus heard these words from the masters.
If you need this advice, take it.

They say one who is received by heart
becomes more beautiful.


Soul of my soul,
Without You I have no work to do.
If You are absent from Paradise,
I don't need to go there.
If I look, all I see is You.
If I speak, I speak of You.
Three is no better prey
than You whom I secretly watch.
Because I forgot myself,
because I went to You,
in any conversation, in every state,
I haven't got a moment's rest.
You can kill me seventy times,
and like St. George, I'll resurrect,
and crawl back unashamed.

Show Your face to Yunus.
He loves You and has no other.


I am a fatherless pearl unrecognized by the sea.
I am the drop that contains the ocean.

Its waves are amazing. It's beautiful to be a sea
hidden within an infinity drop.

When Majnun spoke Layla's name,
he broke the meter of his poem.
I was both Layla and Majnun who adored her.

Mansur1 did not speak idly of Unity.
He was not kidding when he said, "I am Truth."

In this world of many,
You are Joseph and I am Jacob.
In the universe of Unity,
there is neither Joseph nor Canaan.

That my name is Yunus
is a problem in this material world.
But if you ask my real name
it is the Power behind all powers.



Last updated: May 9, 2004