Rumi: A Hundred Ways to Pray

Translated any poems lately? If so, then why not post them here?
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Gematria
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Rumi: A Hundred Ways to Pray

Post by Gematria » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:18 pm

A Hundred Ways to Pray
Mowlānā Jalāluddīn Rūmī

Today we're wasted with the spirit. Drunk like every day.
Lock up your angst and musings. There is music you must play.
There are a hundred ways to make prostrations in that Mosque
Where a Beloved's beauty is your Mecca. Turn and pray.


امروز چو هر روز خرابیم خراب
مگشا در اندیشه و برگیر رباب
صدگونه نماز است و رکوعست و سجود
آنرا که جمال دوست باشد محراب

Transliteration:

emrōz chō har rōz, kharāb-ēm kharāb
ma-gshā dar andēsha-o bar gīr rabāb
Sad gōna namāz-ast-o rukū`-ast-o sujūd
ān-rā ke jamāl-é dōst bāsh-ad mihrāb


And just by way of comparison, here's Coleman Barks' "translation" of this quatrain:

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.

David
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Re: Rumi: A Hundred Ways to Pray

Post by David » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:56 pm

I think this is very good, but that's purely as an English artefact. I know nothing - nothing, I tell you - about Rumi. Should I? I believe he's (he's?) quite modish Stateside.

Your translation is very different from the other you've posted by way of illustration. Whose is the freer?

Very interesting and enjoyable anyway.

Cheers

David

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Re: Rumi: A Hundred Ways to Pray

Post by Gematria » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:24 pm

Rumi did enjoy something of a fad a few years ago in the US, aided by the disgraceful versions of Coleman Barks.

Here's a literal translation, for further comparison:

Today, like every day, we are wasted, wasted!
Do not open the door of vexation, rather, take up the rabâb
There are a hundred kinds of prayer, bowing and prostration
For one whose mihrab is the Beloved's beauty.

Line 1: The word rendered above as "wasted" (Kharâb) means "ruined, destroyed" but (like the translation) also means "drunk" and is related to the word for wine-tavern (Kharâbât)

Line 2: A rabâb is a kind of lute, rather like a zither-harp, played during musical sessions of ecstatic prayer (samâ)

Line 3: Namâz is the ritual prayer, done 5 times a day by muslims. Roku' and sojud are different postures assumed at various stages of prayer.

Line 4: All Muslims must pray in the direction of the Ka'ba in Mecca. The mihrab, or prayer-niche, is a marker pointing the worshiper in that direction. The dust, or "beloved" is a common name for God in Sufi poetic traditions.

David
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Re: Rumi: A Hundred Ways to Pray

Post by David » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:30 pm

Now, again, that's interesting. I thought I detected an erotic note in your first translation. Is that there at all? And, if it is, is it in the original?

I'm not sure you haven't achieved that effect simply by using "a" instead of "the" with the Beloved.

CB's, if yours is accurate, is quite shocking, isn't it?

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Re: Rumi: A Hundred Ways to Pray

Post by David » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:32 pm

Actually, your first translation reminded me of Goethe's West-östlicher Divan.

Lake
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Re: Rumi: A Hundred Ways to Pray

Post by Lake » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:10 pm

It is very interesting to learn a different culture. I don't know the language you translated from, so I really don't know how to compare. If comparing with the literal translation (taking it as more accurate?), my instinction is one probably used not quite accurate wording, the other ... added more of personal interpretations? Don't know.

Anyway, enjoyable read.

Cheers,

Lake
Aim, then, to be aimless.
Seek neither publication, nor acclaim:
Submit without submitting.

一 Cameron

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