Saturday, December 10, 2005

that secret song

Where do you come from, cry of the bowed string,

Full of fire and revolt and sedition?

You're a spy, the heart's desert messenger,

And its secrets are the message [that] you sing.

#1712: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: cry

Yesterday, my son and I did a washload and lost the rinse water down the drain. We usually catch it to feed the thirsty garden because we often have water shortages around here and we are charged high rates for water usage to keep it down. I was distraught over the water loss, much as one might cry over spilt milk, but I'm over it now. Instead, I'm focussing on caring for a small frightened bird that our cat caught yesterday. We've put it in the empty aviary and provided it with water and seeds. It can't fly, one wing being too damaged from the mauling, but it can hop about and it may recover in time.

I've inserted a "that" inside the fourth line of Zara Houshmand's translation because it feels more musically correct that way. I'd probably remove both "and"s in the second line as well. I may be musically inspired today having watched the movie Shine last night, with its amazing score and brilliant playing. Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto #3 takes central place and I'm inspired to hear it played well in a proper concert hall.

Rumi's musicality is, of course, something that I can barely access. However, I do like the way Houshmand renders his verse and she sometimes achieves a musicality which must be a fortuitous English resonance to the original Persian. Perhaps, too, there is a resonance inside my soul, a simple resonance to meaning, that somehow invents an appropriate musicality inside me. That is why I explore Rumi through my own writing, so I can listen out for and perhaps hear that secret song.


At Saturday, 10 December, 2005, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

Coleman Barks has made quite a vocation of translating Rumi. What do you think of his work?

At Saturday, 10 December, 2005, Blogger Arizona said...

Firstly, he doesn't translate at all but works on existing translations, transforming them into more poetic works. He is a poet first and that does limit his versions in some ways. He does seem to me sometimes to be too focussed on the aesthetic. However, bringing that out has brought Rumi to the world's renewed attention and I wouldn't have heard of him without Barks' efforts.

I've given serious consideration to learning Persian so I can access Rumi's work more immediately. Of course, I would still rely on the translations but I'd have enough knowledge then to research a word or phrase more along the line of my own interests.


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