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  • Max Reif (9/18/2005 2:10:00 PM) Post reply

    I opened Daniel Ladinsky's 'The Gift', his 'renderings' of Hafiz, at random, after asking 'What poem shall I post to Poemhunter now? ' (In Iran, the Divan of Hafiz' poetry is used as an oracle in that way.) Here is what I got:


    My Master once entered a phase
    That whenever I would see him
    He would say,

    How did you ever become a pregnant woman? '

    And I would reply,

    'Dear Attar,
    You must be speaking the truth,
    But all of what you say is a mystery to me.'

    Many months passed in his blessed company.
    But one day I lost my patience
    Upon hearing that odd refrain
    And blurted out,

    'Stop calling me a pregnant woman! '

    And Attar replied,
    'Someday, my sweet Hafiz,
    All the nonsense in your brain will dry up
    Like a stagnant pool of water
    Beneath the sun,

    Though if you want to know the Truth
    I can so clearly see that God has made love with you
    And the whole universe is germinating
    Inside your belly

    And wonderful words,
    Such enlightening words
    Will take birth from you

    And be cradeled against thousands
    Of hearts.'

    (note: Ladinsky centers his lines on the page. I don't know how to do that with PH software.)

  • Max Reif (9/18/2005 9:20:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Poems often have something to do with the subject of identity. Here's a chilling article from CNN, about the way what used to be 'science fiction' is becoming medical option in our age. It's about a doctor who's ready to perform a 'face transplant'-and the possible physical and ethical consequences.
    (It's not just an 'extreme make-over'. The candidates are people whose faces have been so disfigured by wounds, etc. There are powerful consequences to having 'someone elses face'.

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    • Michael Shepherd (9/18/2005 9:30:00 AM) Post reply

      ...and then when we've all bought ourselves silky-tight 'ideal',2-D faces, TV will call for 'expressive' faces with lines and muscles and things, and face-drops will become the cutting-edge (hah) f ... more

  • Michael Shepherd (9/18/2005 4:44:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Here's another poem by Faiz not so far from Rilke's 'solitude':

    Loneliness like a good, old friend
    visits my house to pour wine in the evening.
    And we sit together, waiting for the moon,
    and for your face to sparkle in every shadow.

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  • Jerry Hughes Rookie - 1st Stage (9/18/2005 12:20:00 AM) Post reply

    Greetings movers and shakers, I'd like to introduce all of you to the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz,1911-1984. I am fortunate to have a volume of his work translated by, Dr Estelle Dryland. Here's a sample, enjoy:


    'All night long your memory haunts me'

    All night long
    silvern moomlight
    garnishes my
    Time burns, then
    darkens as the
    All night long your memory
    honed by piquant
    All night long your
    spectre, haunting
    A message borne on the
    sweet breath of
    sunrise imparts
    its story to
    with rose.
    A door chain taps
    remembering one
    who used to reply.
    All night long
    pervaded by
    by hope,
    my heart
    to find
    its Beloved.

  • Max Reif Rookie - 1st Stage (9/17/2005 8:29:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I haven't followed all the Rilke discussion, but here's a powerful piece of his prose.

    by Ranier Maria Rilke

    Do not expect me to talk about my interior effort, -I must be silent on that score; it would be unwise to render account, even to myself, of all the changes of fortune I shall have to undergo in my struggle towards concentration. This reversal of all one's forces, this changed direction of soul can never be accomplished without a number of crises; most artists avoid it by means of diversions, but that is just why they never again succeed in touching their center of production, from wich they started at the moment of their purest impulse. Always when you begin to work you must recreate this first innocence, you must return to the ingenuous place where the Angel discovered you when he brought you the first binding message; you must find once more the couch behind the briars where you were then asleep; this time you will not sleep there; you will have to pray and groan, -no matter: if the Angel deigns to appear, it will be because you have convinced him, not by tears but by your humble resolve to be always beginning-to be a Beginner!
    Oh, Dear, how many times in my life-and never so much as now-have I told myself that Art, as I conceive it, is a movement contrary to nature. No doubt God never foresaw that any one of us would turn inwards upon himself in that way, which can only be permitted to the Saint because he seeks to beseige his God by attacking him from this unexpected and badly defended quarter. But for the rest of us, whom do we approach when we turn our back on events, on our future even, in order to throw ourselves into the abyss of our being, which would engulf us were it not for the sort of trustfulness that we bring to it, and which seems stronger even than the gravitation of our nature? If the meaning of sacrifice is that the moment of greatest danger coincides with that when one is saved, then certainly nothing resembles sacrifice more than this terrible will to Art. How tenacious it is, how insensate! All that the rest forget in order to make their life possible, we are always bent on discovering, on magnifying even; it is we who are the real awakeners of our monsters, to which we are not hostile enough to become their conquerors; for in a certain sense we are at one with them; it is they, the monsters, that hold the surplus strength which is indispensable to those that most surpass themselves. Unless one assigns to the act of victory a mysterious and far deeper meaning, it is not for us to consider ourselves the tamers of our internal lions. But suddenly we feel ourselves walking beside them, as in a Triumph, without being able to remember the exact moment when this inconceivable reconciliation took place (bridge barely curved that connects the terrible with the tender...) .
    *Letter,1920, from LETTERS TO MERLINE.
    excerpted in THE MODERN TRADITION, Ellman and Fiedelson, editors, Oxford University Press,1965.

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    • Michael Shepherd (9/18/2005 4:30:00 AM) Post reply

      A century later, when we know so much more of - or have access to - other cultures, we might say, Rilke is making heavy weather of what comes quite naturally to a Chinese, Hindu, Sufi, or other mystic ... more

  • Herbert Nehrlich1 Rookie - 1st Stage (9/17/2005 7:32:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Here is a bit of Rilke, one version.
    IV. Sonett
    O dieses ist das Tier, das es nicht giebt.
    Sie wußtens nicht und habens jeden Falls
    - sein Wandeln, seine Haltung, seinen Hals,
    bis in des stillen Blickes Licht - geliebt.

    Zwar war es nicht. Doch weil sie's liebten, ward
    ein reines Tier. Sie ließen immer Raum.
    Und in dem Raume, klar und ausgespart,
    erhob es leicht sein Haupt und brauchte kaum

    zu sein. Sie nährten es mit keinem Korn,
    nur immer mit der Möglichkeit, es sei.
    Und die gab solche Stärke an das Tier,

    daß es aus sich ein Stirnhorn trieb. Ein Horn.
    Zu einer Jungfrau kam es weiß herbei -
    und war im Silber-Spiegel und in ihr.

    Ah, here it is, the creature without life
    They could not know but did just to be sure
    Admire, love, its features so alive
    Into the depth of stillness to endure
    Though it was not an animal to love
    Yet had become one in that inner room
    Where it stood out to raise its head above
    Itself, she nourished it not with a single corn
    But always with the thought that it could be
    And thus a strength formidable defied all doom
    To grow from deep within its forehead’s own
    A growth into its world, a unicorn.
    Within the silver mirror it was plain to see
    White, inside the maiden it had grown.

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    • Michael Shepherd (9/18/2005 5:16:00 AM) Post reply

      you hit on the poem that launched my 'unicorn' series, remembered after 50 years...

  • Max Reif Rookie - 1st Stage (9/17/2005 1:57:00 PM) Post reply

    Just posted a long poem entitled, 'IN SEARCH OF MY FATHER AND MYSELF'. A little prosy for some, maybe, but it has a lot of meat in it!

  • Michael Shepherd Rookie - 1st Stage (9/17/2005 8:29:00 AM) Post reply

    I was this very minute going to post to you, Sherrie, and all, what a magnificent work and a scrupulously loving translation this is, from 1996..for Europeans at least, he is the poet's poet, and every line is for me like a self-dedication...

  • Nathaniel Jarvis Rookie - 1st Stage (9/17/2005 12:25:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Dear Herbert:

    I have been called in to set something straight. Apparently you are having a fun time bashing some poetry on this site that you think to be atrocious and even more atrociously translated into your native language.

    Before you know the backround of a thing you should be very hesitant about what you say, and particularly what you propose to advertise about it. It is one thing to speak directly to the persons involved and it is another thing to inspire a mob scene.

    I will give you some background to provide you some lost perspective. The poems you are criticizing belong to a collection that were inspired by beautiful valley in the Black Forest, and though written in English, were very tightly linked to the language and culture of that area. To make the poetry more accessible to the people where we live, Marcy decided to have them translated and called in a native German speaker (professional translator) , and myself with many years experience of academic and practical study of the language.

    If you find a problem with any of the poems and their translations it would be much more constructive for you to make a suggestion or a 'better' translation if you are able, rather than low level commentary. Any attempt at multi-cultural cross-over should be praised and encouraged.

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    • Marcy Jarvis (9/19/2005 12:12:00 AM) Post reply

      I'm extremely grateful to you, Nat, and to my friend Dorothee, for translating the Poems of the Zinsbachtal. They have more meaning to me when I can read the two languages side by side and working tog ... more

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  • Jerry Hughes Rookie - 1st Stage (9/16/2005 7:27:00 PM) Post reply

    Spot on Sherrie, Poetry is a beautifully written poem.

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