Talk about a plot twist! A verse from the 13th century Persian poet Rumi turned out to have a kind of major role in last night's series finale for the Fox series '24,' a series more known for nuclear threats and vigilante justice than contemplative Sufi Muslim inspiration.
In the finale, the widow of the leader of a fictional Muslim nation called the IRK (Islamic Republik of Kamistan) -- which bears striking resemblance to Iran -- gives the U.S. president a pen in an engraved box. They are meant to use the pen to sign a peace agreement that has the promise of reversing decades (centuries!) of world strife caused by sectarian and nationalistic differences. The president is so moved by the gift that (spoiler alert!) it literally awakens her conscience and sense of right and wrong.
The inscription on the box, says the IRK leader, is from the poet Rumi:
"All religions, all this singing. One song."
Remarkable, and worth sharing the entire poem:
All religions, all this singing
The differences are just
Illusion and vanity.
The Sun's light looks
A little different on this wall than
It does on that wall,
And a lot different on this other one,
But it's still one light.
We have borrowed these clothes,
These time and place personalities
From a light,
And when we praise,
We're pouring them back in.
Check out this collection of Rumi quotes for more inspiring wisdom:
Bonus: Coleman Barks is reading "One Song":