Wednesday, April 20, 2005

daily discipline

A central idea of Shahrazad's meta-story is that of a daily discipline or routine: in this case, what happened every day was that the king beheaded yesterday's bride and married a new virgin. This routine was replaced by Shahrazad's telling of tales with each story left suspended at dawn and needing to be completed that evening. In this way the storyteller was spared the usual beheading.

For a few years now I've been consciously practising a daily routine. At first it was an early morning walk but my feet became diseased and I replaced this routine with morning pages as recommended by Julia Cameron in her The Artist's Way program.

Although I feel I have benefited from that routine, I am looking around for a new one. I recently came across a translator of Rumi poetry, Zara Houshmand, who contributes to The Iranian. As she describes it:
Beginning in April 2000, I made a commitment to translate one of Rumi's quatrains each day for Jahanshah Javid chose the poems; it was part of my commitment that I would accept the choice, no matter how difficult, and do my best to create an equivalent poem in English.

There are just over 350 quatrains listed, almost one year's worth, and I thought I would use one each day on which to focus my writing here. I thought I'd start with one which contained the word "began" in its first line. Here it is along with an image of the original Persian script.

Persian script

When your love began to fill up my heart,

Whatever else I had was burnt away,

Logic and book-learning tossed on the fire.

Now I study song and poetry all day.

#606: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

I'll leave this entry now but return later today to this theme.



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