October 15th, 2008


Moar pomes.

This Early World Lit class continues to be huge fun. If it's October 15th, we must be sampling Islamic poetry. Here, have three robais (robai = quatrain) by Jalaloddin Rumi, 13th-century Persian Sufi mystic:

Listen, if you can stand to.
Union with the Friend means not being who you've been,
being instead silence: A place: A view
where language is inside seeing.

What I most want
is to spring out of this personality,
then to sit apart from that leaping.
I've lived too long where I can be reached.

And my favorite--I'm going to memorize this one as soon as I have brainspace to lodge it in.

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

These lovely translations are by Coleman Barks, whom the Norton Anthology recommends as the best of the free translators of Rumi. *bows before the Norton Anthology*
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