“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.” - Rumi
Short and to the point. That is what Rumi’s, Don’t Go Back to Sleep is. Metaphors make up a large portion of this eight line poem, and three of the lines simply repeat the same line over and over again. “Don’t go back to sleep” could refer to many things, even it meaning just that, “don’t go back to sleep”, could be a possibility. When you first read the poem, you think that perhaps it is only about dreams. My mother thought that it was about nightmares plaguing the dreams of the one being told not to sleep at first, but bother her and my ideas soon changed as we thought more about the words and how they were used.
When first confronted with this poem, I had numerous thoughts. At first, I thought that the narrator was telling a specific person to not give up. Perhaps someone they knew had believed that the world would be better off without them, and wanted to kill him/herself. Then, after I had let my mother read it, she told me what she thought, and that made me start thinking. What if it’s about the entire populace of a country? Even the world? A very interesting line in the poem is, “People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.”(Rumi 5-6). This line makes it sound as though people are going between two worlds, but that is the literal translation. I believe two worlds refers to a world of light and a world of dark; the dreaming and reality. Lots of people nowadays will go about their everyday lives without thinking of anything but what they have to get done to get food on the table. They just accept anything told to them by their superiors blindly. No revolutions, no questions, just blind acceptance. The poem is trying to tell people to not go into that mindless, sleeping, state, to rebel, to question.
People tend to never truly know what they really want. Due to that, people will just go with the flow, and won’t ever be truly happy. “You must ask for what you really want”(Rumi 3). This line in the poem tells readers to not be afraid to ask for what they want. If someone wanted bread, they should ask for bread, not anything else. The third line in the poem brings to light how settling for second best or lower isn’t going to help you or make you really happy. “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you”(Rumi 1). The breeze could well be Rumi. The author wants to give the reader information, and comes into the poem to tell the reader that fact. Knowledge is power, and Rumi wants to give that to the readers. Knowledge can give you the power of choice, and once the people begin choosing different things from what their leaders are saying, they’ll start questioning bigger things, and get out of their little worlds of work, work, work.
This poem seems to refer to the entire world’s populace, and tells them to come back to Earth. You can’t have a bunch of mindless zombies walking around, following their leaders blindly. The world is almost like a hivemind, destroy the leader of a group, and the rest become confused. People need to become their own leaders and make their own decisions, the human race will not be able to continue evolving if they do not. “The door is round and open, don’t go back to sleep”(Rumi 7-8). The door being round represents the Earth, and it’s round shape, and also gives an inviting feeling to the reader. A round shape is not threatening like a cube, or a pyramid. There are no corners to hurt yourself on, nowhere for bad things to hide, it’s like a big round panic room. He uses the round door to bring the readers closer, and bring them to free thinking. Without freedom of thought, a nation cannot fully develop. There would be little to no patriotism, only fear.
We must think for ourselves, and this poem is only one way to know that. People like to go into their own little worlds and offer little to no resistance. They must reach into the dark and face their fears, ultimately accepting the responsibility of their own minds. This poem was true in the 13th century, and it is ultimately true to this day. How is the world going to grow when people accept things without even checking their resources first? Humans are capable of so many things, and the start of that is believing in them and letting them think for themselves.