Friday’s Poetic Pause: “Two Kinds of Intelligence” by Rumi

Given the discussions I’ve had this week on the use and abuse of logframes and the gender of aid bloggers, I thought this poem especially fitting…


Two Kinds of Intelligence

There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,
and it doesn’t move from outside to inside
through conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.

By Rumi
From “Essential Rumi” Edited by Coleman Barks


Have some poems you’ve written that you’d like to share with fellow aid workers and do-gooders? Please send them my way at!


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