We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Friends of mine told me once if I wish to understand Turkishness I must read Rumi. I've read some of his work as well as a thumbnail biography--I'll read more though I can not speak to the quality of the translation in what I have read already nor of this poem.
We visited Tarik and Fusun in Vermont last month while they were in from Istanbul. It would have been nice to have asked them about this particular poem.
I was reading Khalil Gibran when someone told me to read Rumi. I liked them both - Rumi's universality most, but Khalil Gibran got to me. Here is one of my favorites of his from "The Prophet": I love it.
"Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the kind whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you shall drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."
It's been 27 years since I've read Khalil Gibran's The Prophet. His writing was such that I knew as I read this book some part of his work would stay within me and I would have to read it again. It may be time. Coincidentally, I'm beginning to read again--it's been years--compelled by some subtle change in my life I need to push myself into another space...to renew my mind. Your quoting of Gibran is a fortuitous gift. It gently reminds me of another time that in some way I might visit again and I am excited.
I read your comment and was quite moved by it. I was distracted and could not reply at the time, but the first thing that caught me was "renew my mind". It's been in my mind since I first read it, and all I can think about is how true that is. You made me think of a two-year bout with depression that left me unable to read, and that lead me to thinking about what I'd call reading to your 'renew my mind'. The word 'comfort' kept coming to me. I think had I been able to read, I could have cut that depression in half. But I couldn't, and when I was finally able to pick up a book and lose myself in its pages of narrative, I was comforted like nothing else could have done.... and, back to your words, my mind felt so renewed. From dead to alive again. I 'need' to read to put myself in another space. But that is only part of it - the pleasure of reading is what makes life good. Even when the books make you cry or recall sad events, it is still learning the wisdom of another's thoughts and applying it that makes it so cool. Sometimes when I read, I get kind of crazy that there's no one there to listen so I can read great lines aloud.
See where you took me? That comment knocked me out. The way you spoke so much with so few words.... mastery, Jephnol.