Poetics and Poetry Discussion
(9/18/2005 12:20:00 AM)
Greetings movers and shakers, I'd like to introduce all of you to the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz,1911-1984. I am fortunate to have a volume of his work translated by, Dr Estelle Dryland. Here's a sample, enjoy:
IN MEMORY OF MAKHDOOM
'All night long your memory haunts me'
All night long
Time burns, then
darkens as the
All night long your memory
honed by piquant
All night long your
A message borne on the
sweet breath of
its story to
A door chain taps
who used to reply.
All night long
(9/17/2005 8:29:00 PM)
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I haven't followed all the Rilke discussion, but here's a powerful piece of his prose.
THE UNNATURAL WILL TO ART*
by Ranier Maria Rilke
Do not expect me to talk about my interior effort, -I must be silent on that score; it would be unwise to render account, even to myself, of all the changes of fortune I shall have to undergo in my struggle towards concentration. This reversal of all one's forces, this changed direction of soul can never be accomplished without a number of crises; most artists avoid it by means of diversions, but that is just why they never again succeed in touching their center of production, from wich they started at the moment of their purest impulse. Always when you begin to work you must recreate this first innocence, you must return to the ingenuous place where the Angel discovered you when he brought you the first binding message; you must find once more the couch behind the briars where you were then asleep; this time you will not sleep there; you will have to pray and groan, -no matter: if the Angel deigns to appear, it will be because you have convinced him, not by tears but by your humble resolve to be always beginning-to be a Beginner!
Oh, Dear, how many times in my life-and never so much as now-have I told myself that Art, as I conceive it, is a movement contrary to nature. No doubt God never foresaw that any one of us would turn inwards upon himself in that way, which can only be permitted to the Saint because he seeks to beseige his God by attacking him from this unexpected and badly defended quarter. But for the rest of us, whom do we approach when we turn our back on events, on our future even, in order to throw ourselves into the abyss of our being, which would engulf us were it not for the sort of trustfulness that we bring to it, and which seems stronger even than the gravitation of our nature? If the meaning of sacrifice is that the moment of greatest danger coincides with that when one is saved, then certainly nothing resembles sacrifice more than this terrible will to Art. How tenacious it is, how insensate! All that the rest forget in order to make their life possible, we are always bent on discovering, on magnifying even; it is we who are the real awakeners of our monsters, to which we are not hostile enough to become their conquerors; for in a certain sense we are at one with them; it is they, the monsters, that hold the surplus strength which is indispensable to those that most surpass themselves. Unless one assigns to the act of victory a mysterious and far deeper meaning, it is not for us to consider ourselves the tamers of our internal lions. But suddenly we feel ourselves walking beside them, as in a Triumph, without being able to remember the exact moment when this inconceivable reconciliation took place (bridge barely curved that connects the terrible with the tender...) .
*Letter,1920, from LETTERS TO MERLINE.
excerpted in THE MODERN TRADITION, Ellman and Fiedelson, editors, Oxford University Press,1965.
(9/17/2005 7:32:00 PM)
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Here is a bit of Rilke, one version.
O dieses ist das Tier, das es nicht giebt.
Sie wußtens nicht und habens jeden Falls
- sein Wandeln, seine Haltung, seinen Hals,
bis in des stillen Blickes Licht - geliebt.
Zwar war es nicht. Doch weil sie's liebten, ward
ein reines Tier. Sie ließen immer Raum.
Und in dem Raume, klar und ausgespart,
erhob es leicht sein Haupt und brauchte kaum
zu sein. Sie nährten es mit keinem Korn,
nur immer mit der Möglichkeit, es sei.
Und die gab solche Stärke an das Tier,
daß es aus sich ein Stirnhorn trieb. Ein Horn.
Zu einer Jungfrau kam es weiß herbei -
und war im Silber-Spiegel und in ihr.
Ah, here it is, the creature without life
They could not know but did just to be sure
Admire, love, its features so alive
Into the depth of stillness to endure
Though it was not an animal to love
Yet had become one in that inner room
Where it stood out to raise its head above
Itself, she nourished it not with a single corn
But always with the thought that it could be
And thus a strength formidable defied all doom
To grow from deep within its forehead’s own
A growth into its world, a unicorn.
Within the silver mirror it was plain to see
White, inside the maiden it had grown.
(9/17/2005 1:57:00 PM)
Just posted a long poem entitled, 'IN SEARCH OF MY FATHER AND MYSELF'. A little prosy for some, maybe, but it has a lot of meat in it!
(9/17/2005 8:29:00 AM)
I was this very minute going to post to you, Sherrie, and all, what a magnificent work and a scrupulously loving translation this is, from 1996..for Europeans at least, he is the poet's poet, and every line is for me like a self-dedication...
(9/17/2005 12:25:00 AM)
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I have been called in to set something straight. Apparently you are having a fun time bashing some poetry on this site that you think to be atrocious and even more atrociously translated into your native language.
Before you know the backround of a thing you should be very hesitant about what you say, and particularly what you propose to advertise about it. It is one thing to speak directly to the persons involved and it is another thing to inspire a mob scene.
I will give you some background to provide you some lost perspective. The poems you are criticizing belong to a collection that were inspired by beautiful valley in the Black Forest, and though written in English, were very tightly linked to the language and culture of that area. To make the poetry more accessible to the people where we live, Marcy decided to have them translated and called in a native German speaker (professional translator) , and myself with many years experience of academic and practical study of the language.
If you find a problem with any of the poems and their translations it would be much more constructive for you to make a suggestion or a 'better' translation if you are able, rather than low level commentary. Any attempt at multi-cultural cross-over should be praised and encouraged.Replies for this message:
(9/19/2005 12:12:00 AM)
I'm extremely grateful to you, Nat, and to my friend Dorothee, for translating the Poems of the Zinsbachtal. They have more meaning to me when I can read the two languages side by side and working tog ... more
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- Marcy Jarvis (9/19/2005 12:12:00 AM) Post reply
(9/16/2005 7:27:00 PM)
Spot on Sherrie, Poetry is a beautifully written poem.
(9/16/2005 5:15:00 PM)
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On the topic of language. How do you convince a person who writes poems in her native tongue and adds a translation into a language she has not at all mastered?
It hurts my ears and gives me a toothache to have my native tongue so 'mutilated'.
I have lived in the English speaking world for some time yet find that on many occasions I am at a loss of how to properly express a thought.So I know about the problem.
Apparently she either does not or wants to give the impression to those who are not familiar with both languages that she is soooooo brilliant.
This is not meant as an ad hominem barb by the way.
(9/16/2005 3:29:00 PM)
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Hunters & gatherers,
I received an e-mail searching for the complete text of this old rhyme:
My father use to recite a poem, but I only know a few lines....'The countries are few that i haven't been through...I sailed every sea on the map. I journeyed to Rome, called Cairo my home.'
Anyone know? Any of you Brits, maybe?Replies for this message:
(9/16/2005 3:59:00 PM)
or.. is it an old music-hall song, like My Old Dutch? Then it would be the verse before the chorus '..but there isn't a lye-dee (lady) in the whole wide world..' (voice quavers...)
(9/16/2005 3:39:00 PM)
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Sorry. Max... it could be one of those poems that simply sing the praises of the old home at Little Shrinkingham... or it could be the first verse of one of those Rudyard Kipling poems that expand int ... more
- Michael Shepherd (9/16/2005 3:59:00 PM) Post reply
(9/16/2005 5:55:00 AM)
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I'd propose that there's a curious affinity between the careful, respectful use of words and that of money. Then charity takes its rightful place in both currencies.Replies for this message:
(9/16/2005 1:34:00 PM)
I meant charity as in love-and-charity rather than 'organised' charities. One of the privileges of being retired on our miniscule state pension here (taxable of course...) is that one can instead give ... more
(9/16/2005 9:43:00 AM)
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Charities are like any other kind of institution. Some are good and some are bad. Dismissing all, or even most of them, as being corrupt is ignorant.
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- Michael Shepherd (9/16/2005 1:34:00 PM) Post reply
Comment of the Day
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