Sunday, May 11, 2014

Kabir: The Inner Lover (Sunday Serenade)


I talk to my inner lover, and I say, why such rush?
We sense that there is some sort of spirit that loves
   birds and animals and the ants--
perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you in
   your mother’s womb.
Is it logical you would be walking around entirely
   orphaned now?
The truth is you turned away yourself,
and decided to go into the dark alone.
Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten
   what you once knew,
and that’s why everything you do has some weird
   failure in it. 
    Version by Robert Bly

I've spent the last couple of months reading mystic poets - Hafiz, Kabir, Mirabai, and Rumi, among others - and have been overtaken by the form known as the ghazal, specifically a variant of Robert Bly's conjuring, 6 stanzas of 3 lines each.

Yes, I know that a lot that is being translated or written in English isn't the ghazal of Middle Eastern origin, but a modern English variant whose roots, one hopes, are sunk deep in the tradition of another culture.

Many would disagree.

But, there you are. This is some of what I've been up to. In fact, there will most probably be a collection forthcoming, after Yield to the Willow finally sees the light of day later this month. Never knew I had it in me.

It would seem, however, that Kabir knew.

just coming out
the earthworm dragged off
by ants

translated by David G. Lanoue


PS  Click to learn how to contribute to Wednesday Haiku.


_kala said...

Much enjoyed this post.

I've studied Kabir for a good 15 years... his longer poems sung as Bhajans, along with Mirebai, Surdas and Gorakhnath.

They all belong to the Bhakti movement, which spread through the whole of India from the 14th - 17th centuries.
The beauty is they are still sung in classical concerts all over India.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Kala - I appreciate your comment.

Some of the translations of Kabir speak so directly as to take the breath away.

Is there a modern Bhakti movement or is it basically historical? Did it develop into something else?


Ed Baker said...

speaking of Ratula.... she has also an album/c-d of GHAZALS:

and, besides what you present.... a very nice feature on Kabir via poem

though I much prefer a real book to the net....

I also think that Kabir has become an Hindu saint and a religion has formed around him/his poetry/his attitude.

((looks like (according to the info at bottom of the Ratula GHAZALS notes) Ratula since I met her (1968) she spends/spent much time performing in Europe))