Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Went to a reading tonight of selected ghazals from Jalal Ad-din Rumi and Hafiz-i Shirazi, in English and Farsi, accompanied with traditional Persian instruments. I have always hesitated to read translations of these poets, as I know that the translation process robs the original work of much of it's subtleties. But I found Iraj Anvar and Elizabeth Gray's translation to be wonderful, and it was a treat to hear Iraj's renditions both spoken and sung in the original tongue. Something about Sufi poetry sets it apart, I suggest you seek some out. Here is a taste from Anvar's book of Rumi translations:

If you bake bread from the wheat
that grows on my grave, it will intoxicate.

The baker and the dough, both will go crazy.
The oven will compose euphoric verse.

If you come to visit my grave,
you'll see my tombstone dancing.

But don't come to my grave without a drum, brother
for at the feast of God there is no sorrow.

Deep in the grave, with my chin tied closed,
my mouth is full of sweets and opium.

If you tear a piece of my shroud and wear it on your chest
an entire tavern opens from within you.

Drunks all around, shouting, fighting and playing the harp:
everything must give birth to something else.

God has made me of love's wine.
Even as death consumes me I am that love.

I am drunkenness originating from the wine of love.
Tell me, what can wine bring but euphoria?

My soul cannot wait to fly
to the high tower, that is the spirit of Shams-i Tabriz.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?