I am an Anglo-Moroccan Muslimah who loves languages, books, tea and Islam.
This here is a collection of all (read some of) my random musings and interesting finds.
I’ve never done this before.
Stuck my neck out on the line.
Not for anyone.
It’s all too easy to end up heedless, headless.
I’ve never felt this before.
That little bird fluttering madly against my ribcage -
It sings a little louder when squeezed.
Until you can open the catch, it’ll be a bittersweet melody.
I’ve never said this before.
But I don’t care if you’re broken because
I want to gather those shards, taste
The blood and kiss each scar of gold.
He’s yours - half the beauty of the world -
But you’d blaspheme and say he was all.
Love and pain inextricably intertwined.
Oh, yes, these thorns hurt but, my God,
Just watch that rose bloom.
Last night, I attended a live performance by Amir Sulaiman at Rumi’s Cave.
It was an intimate affair: cosy, low lights, packed out, seated on cushions, we were transported to somebody’s living room, not a hall, having a conversation on art and spirituality, love and violence.
what of the one who so loved the unknown
he wanted to know the unknown
and in his knowing killed his beloved
what of the one who so loved peace
he fought for peace
and in his fighting he killed his beloved
what of the one who so loved contentment
he desired to have no desires
and in his desire he killed his beloved
what of the one who so loved love
he hated hate
and in his hating he killed his beloved
what of I who so loves you
- Amir Sulaiman, from ‘Love, Gnosis & Other Suicide Attempts’
“INTERVIEWER You are one of the most widely translated poets—into about thirty languages. Into what languages are you best translated?NERUDA: I would say into Italian, because of the similarity between the two languages. English and French, which are the two languages I know outside of Italian, are languages which do not correspond to Spanish—neither in vocalization, or in the placement, or the color, or the weight of the words. It is not a question of interpretative equivalence; no, the sense can be right, but this correctness of translation, of meaning, can be the destruction of a poem. In many of the translations into French—I don’t say in all of them—my poetry escapes, nothing remains; one cannot protest because it says the same thing that one has written. But it is obvious that if I had been a French poet, I would not have said what I did in that poem, because the value of the words is so different. I would have written something else.INTERVIEWER And in English?NERUDA: I find the English language so different from Spanish—so much more direct—that many times it expresses the meaning of my poetry, but does not convey the atmosphere of my poetry. It may be that the same thing happens when an English poet is translated into Spanish.”
— An excerpt from Pablo Neruda interviewed by Rita Guibert in The Art of Poetry No.14 by The Paris Review.
This reminded me of a conversation I’d had with my Iranian colleague the other day.
I’d mentioned what I’d read on one of the blogs that I follow, namely how an Iranian guy had told his girlfriend, “Fadat besham (sp.?)”, literally “I would die for you”, as an expression for his love for her.
That’s pretty intense, right? And I love that about languages like Farsi, Arabic and Urdu. They have such rich rhetorical devices, such poetry, to describe things like love. English is really dry, in that respect.
“I love you." That’s cool. But it’s so… blunt.
Majid pointed something out to me, though.
"If he says ‘I love you’, then it’s direct, usually because he means it. With Farsi, he’ll tell you all those beautiful phrases, "Fadat besham", etc., etc., and even with that honey, he’ll still have his eyes looking around."
I laughed out loud but it got me thinking: these poetical languages are double-edged swords.
It can describe one’s love, one’s intensity, much better than the English can. Yet, at the same time, it leaves you open to a more evident hollowness, if you don’t mean it. The shallowness of insincerity is even more disappointing in a way.
I could go off on all types of tangents, but then I think of Darija equivalents and I cringe a little.
Is “kan bgheek” really the best we have to offer?
Love, now an universal birth,
From heart to heart is stealing,
From earth to man, from man to earth,
- It is the hour of feeling.
One moment now may give us more
Than fifty years of reason;
Our minds shall drink at every pore
The spirit of the season.
17 years. Lost cause.
What’s it like, not having a dad?
Had they not heard?
You can’t miss what you’ve never had.
That’s utterly mad, just absurd.
I see the pity in their eyes.
I simply shrug to emphasise
That lost cause.
It’s been 5 years. I made the call.
Didn’t cry, felt distant, cool.
Boy was it strange
To hear, to know:
Some little bros, another wife
And (inward sigh) split, strife.
Weary, he walks the lonely road,
Guitar on back and Rizlas rolled.
But he praises God and bears his load
– it’s for the best, I guess –
And so he goes.