The Guest House

The Open Door

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 are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
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 whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi
The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with this poem by Jelaluddin Rumi, then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

You can enter into conversation with this text by adding your haiku response below.

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. waiting for haiku…
    I choose to wash the bird poop
    off the car window

  2. James Irving Mann says:

    sadness floods my soul;
    my heart dances with joy-
    I am still alive!

    • Thanks, James. Yes — life is really just cells that keep dividing (or at least that’s one way to look at it). But I’m rarely aware of those little cells or what they’re up to. It’s feelings — joy, sadness, anger, frustration, love — that make me feel alive.

  3. the China Cat sits
    on the gravestone, gentle guide
    to There and Here

    This haiku is by my friend Brad, who posted it in response to this month’s lectio. But, mysteriously, his haiku got mis-directed and appeared as a comment on a different post! (I’ve noticed this problem before and will follow up with Word Press to find out what’s up.)

    Thanks, Brad, for giving us your intriguing and peaceful image.


  4. On the deck
    in the grain beyond clarity,
    petals and the house fly.

    This haiku is by Maz. I particularly like the juxtaposition of textures and stages of life in this poem — fallen petals, moving house fly, and wood grain beyond clarity. Thank you, Maz!

  5. Trees sway in the wind
    Branches crash through the windows
    Goodnight Irene

    This poem was submitted by my friend Marybeth, after watching the weather channel on the night that Irene struck land and moved up the east coast.

    Our hearts, prayers, and good will are with those now dealing with floods, power outages, and all the disruption of the aftermath.