Sunday, March 13, 2011

Love and Best Wishes to Coleman Barks

The month of January on this blog was dedicated to Rumi and Coleman Barks who gave the great gift of Rumi to the entire western world.  During that month of sharing videos of Barks reading Rumi, I fell once again in love with both of them.  Rumi's words translated and read through the molasses-rich voice of Barks resonate deeply with millions of people around the planet.

Now I've learned from Maureen at Writing without Paper that Coleman Barks has experienced a stroke which has mainly affected, of all things, his voice.  The message he has sent to his friends and fans is included below, but it seems most appropriate to share another video of Barks ... this time one of his own ... and, very deliberately selfishly wish him a most speedy and complete recovery.  We need you, Coleman.

Louise at Recover Your Joy has also published a video of Coleman's this morning.

Message from Coleman Barks:

Trying to explain my silence, and my inability, maybe, to say poems in public for an indeterminate while. Please forgive this group emailing. Last Sunday morning (Feb. 27, 2011) I had a stroke. I was talking on the truck Onstar phone to my love Lisa Starr. I began to slur words, and then became completely inarticulate, then fairly coherent, then not, then back to some clarity. Driving down Milledge, I turned left on Springdale and drove myself to the St. Mary's Emergency room (a Gold Plus Stroke Center). They immediately put me on TPA. 

So I have been tremendously lucky, actually. In three months, my neurologist doctor (Van Morris!) says (by early June), we will see 80% of what improvement (in my half-smile and my speech) is possible. I plan to work with speech therapists, hypnotists, and whoever else, to get better. Larry Dossey and Fran Quinn say prayer is also a big help.Grace and practice. So there is my challenge for the short run. I am mostly sleeping as much as I can (grace) and listening to recordings of my old voice in my kitchen and talking along (practice). 

I am not answering the phone or the door, or emails (only a few). Please forgive me these reclusive measures. Think of me as an old dormant bear, healing. Lisa is here. Benjamin and Cole and Briny are close by always. Plenty of helpers. I should also tell you too that my cognition is working. I can read and write just fine, and no motor functions are impaired. Arms and legs active and strong. It is really just a slightly droopy right eyelid and my having only half a smile. Speech is, to me, the big problem. It radically comes and goes with its effectiveness. Hopefully, the brain will re-route itself back to normal.Love to all, Coleman

(Please forward thi s to anyone who might be interested.)


  1. And in these moments, when prayers are all I can offer -- I offer light-filled prayers for his recovery.

    Thank you Joyce for sharing this.


  2. Thanks, Joyceann. I, too, wish Barks a speedy and full recovery.

  3. My children, who have seen him over the years at Dodge, said, "But who will translate? Rumi is crying from his grave." Coleman, we love you dearly and deeply. Get well. LIsa

  4. I am sorry to hear of this occurring and wish him well.

  5. I've enjoyed and deeply appreciated this Master for more than 20 years. We send healing Angels of Peace, Love, Grace and Practice for a speedy recovery. ~ Linda