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"When I Die": A Poem by Rumi (Summary and Analysis)

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Mar is a child educator and an English lit graduate who enjoys reading and writing poems, articles, and short stories on various topics.

All About Rumi

One of the most famous religious scholars of all time, Jalal ad Din Rumi was a Persian poet born in Balkh, today's Afghanistan. In addition to his devotional manuscripts and poetry, he was also a great poet and a scholar of Sufism. Among his famous works are poetry, manuscripts, and other writings. The bulk of his writings are in Persian.

In addition to being considered one of the most popular spiritual authors of Persian literature, his work is also famous worldwide amongst lovers of literature and spirituality. This article analyzes one of his beautiful poems.



Numerous famous poems and other literary works have been written by him. "When I Die" is one of his most famous pieces of poetry which I will analyze and summarize in the following article.

Analyzing opinions is purely personal.

"When I Die" by Rumi

Rumi's famous pome "When I Die" has an interesting structure and theme, outlined below.


This poem consists of nine stanzas, where six stanzas are composed of five lines called quatrains, and three stanzas are composed of six lines called sestets, of irregular lengths.

There is no rhyme scheme in the stanzas or the lines of the poem, although there is a certain amount of rhythm in its reading.

Therefore, the format or form of the poem might be considered free verse.


The poet is happy upon his death and believes to meet the eternal love and long-lasting life which is the afterlife, where he goes after leaving this temporary world.

Stanza 1

When I die

when my coffin

is being taken out

you must never think

I'm missing this world


As early as the first stanza, the poet explains the meaning and concept of the poem. This poem is based on "eternal life after death," an idea that poets believe is based on the fact that death is destined for every physical form. We can never escape it since it leads us to eternal life and infinite existence.

Nevertheless, the poet acknowledges that he will never miss this time-based world when he dies. Upon his departure from this world, there is no need for any kind of grief or sorrow. This world, these pleasures, and worldly amusements are no more than just an illusion occupying our minds, but in reality, we all are temporary entities, which soon is going to meet their eternal life.

Stanza 2

Don't shed any tears

don't lament or

feel sorry

I'm not falling

into a monster's abyss


Poet is happy to leave the temporary world and asks his loved ones to not cry over his departure since he won't enter the devil's domain but his grave is a road to eternal living, a road to a great Lord.

Upon separation from this world and worldly relationships, he asks them to not grieve, cry or feel any sort of sorrow.

Stanza 3

When you see my corpse

is being carried

don't cry for my leaving

I'm not leaving

I'm arriving at eternal love


The poet is saying that he is not dying but rather is arriving at the place of eternity where no one will die and that place is not temporary but rather a permanent living and permanent and long-lasting love for the entire universe.

Therefore, he did not feel any regret for death since he has finally found eternal life. A person's final destination is the afterlife, which is eternal and awaits all living bodies.

Stanza 4

When you leave me

in the grave

don't say goodbye

remember a grave is

only a curtain

for paradise behind


Continuing, the poet explains that the grave is just the door to paradise, a reward for your good deeds. A person of virtue and kindness will indeed enter paradise as their final destination.

Those attending my farewell, please understand that my grave is actually just a thin wall that stands between a pious man and the eternal living.

Stanza 5

you will only see me

descending into a grave

now watch me rise

how can there be an end

when the sun sets or the moon goes down


The coffin carrying my body can be seen going into my grave, but it is not actually the end, but the beginning of my new life. The sun sets every night, signaling the end of the day, and the moon signifies the end of the night, but do they actually end?

But the setting down of the sun and moon is actually a preparation for the next day and new life. The same goes for all living entities, there is an awaiting eternal afterlife for all of us. we are gonna reborn again to live that long-lasting life of love and eternity.

Stanza 6

it looks like the end

it seems like a sunset

but in reality it is a dawn

when the grave locks you up

that is when your soul is freed


In fact, the setting of the sun and moon is an indication that they should perform their functions to bring in the new day and the new night. A similar scenario occurs when death separates the soul from the body since our true existence resides in our soul, which is eternal.

Our soul spent a temporary period of time in the world and is now free from all forms. In other words, when we enter the grave, we let our soul out of our body, which is now immoral.

Stanza 7

Have you ever seen

a seed fallen to earth

not rise with a new life

why should you doubt the rise

of a seed named human


The poet metaphorically compares man to a seed in this stanza, focusing on the phenomenon of a seed germination process reproducing itself as a new plant.

Human beings, he tells us, are like seeds and will be reborn into a new and perpetual life after they are buried.

Stanza 8

Have you ever seen

a bucket lowered into a well

coming back empty

why lament for a soul

when it can come back

like joseph from the well


We should believe in the possibility of life after death for humans. Our afterlife is certain and eternal. Our poet reminded us of the story of Prophet Joseph, who was being thrown into a well, but the Lord's mercy brought him back to life, and he lived a prosperous and exemplary life.

Why should you grieve over my burial? Through the mercy of God, I will be able to reach a place of greater esteem and prosperity for all time.

Stanza 9

When for the last time

you close your mouth

your words and soul

will belong to the world of

no place no time


We will all be devoid of meaning after we die and our words and thoughts are useless. We will forever leave this temporary world and will live in eternity. Where there will be no deadlines for life and no place to be physically present. We are souls, and souls are free from all physical forms.


The poem is spiritual awakening of our souls reminding us about death, which is our fate and actually a path towards an eternal life.

© 2021 Mar