Saturday, April 05, 2008

Rumi, birds, homemade maple syrup

In reverse order:

-- Go to Dave's blog for the latest on our homemade maple syrup! It's delicious!

-- I can't vouch for its accuracy but this site has a great list of bird superlatives. What's the biggest bird, for instance? It all depends on how you define it. The North African ostrich is, but does that count as a bird? The Andean condor is the biggest raptor and the albatross is the biggest sea bird. Cool!

-- About Rumi: Actually, more about Colman Barks. I really love The Soul of Rumi, the book I linked to in my previous message. But it does seem really modern--surprisingly so. Surprisingly accessible. Then I find out Barks doesn't know Persian. What he does is "translate" from direct translations. I guess you could say he modernizes the language. I don't know enough about the art of translation; is someone really a translator if they don't know the original language?

This Amazon discussion (scroll to near the bottom) was really interesting to me. The first guy says, look else for Rumi's essence. The second guy says, stay right here for his essence. The third guy says there's some essence in Barks' books:

As a Persian I felt I can write some illuminating remarks here. I came to this verse from Mowlanaa Rumi in this book: "Let the beauty of what you do be what you love" and I looked a lot for the original poetry. It seems to be like this originally:

Today we are drunken(=in love) like everyday
Don't start worrying and start playing instead
For whom the beloved face is prayer-niche
There are a hundred ways of prayer.

and Barks' translation:

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.

you see they are quite different and the translation seems to be distorted.

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