Tuesday, June 07, 2005

the strange and the familiar

Don't take me for a stranger, I'm from here.

The home I seek is somewhere very near.

I'm not an enemy, however I may look.

I speak like an Indian, but like you I'm a Turk.

#1187: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: strange

I used strange today because I wanted to continue with the theme of the unfamiliar. I'm distracted this morning as a result of incoming email. That has diverted my energies so I'll be brief.

There is a play here on national identity. Since Rumi came from Afghanistan which is quite near India, he might have been seen as a foreigner. He may still have had an accent from those regions. However he sees Turkey as his home. At the same time, "speak like an Indian" could relate to the more instrospective language of Hinduism and "like you I'm a Turk" could be read simply as "I am human like you".

It is very easy, with Rumi, to sense these other associations in his poetry, a basic humanity and lots of psychological insight.


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