CHAIN YOU TO MY BODY
Are just a front.
What I would really like to do is
Chain you to my body,
Then sing for days
And days and
Translation is always dangerous, and translating poetry… terrifying. Daniel Ladinsky is a particularly controversial translator (and this is why, lover, when I challenged you to find the original of this poem, do you remember, I knew I wasn’t playing fair). From Ivan. M. Granger, curator of the Poetry Chaikana website:
“People sometimes wonder why I don’t feature more of Hafiz’s poetry from Daniel Ladinsky’s book, The Gift. They are such delightful, ecstatic, irreverent poems that have inspired so many people…
Ladinsky’s books put me in an awkward spot. I really like the poetry from Ladinsky’s books… but, well, they aren’t actually by Hafiz. His collection of poetry entitled “The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master” actually contains no lines of poetry written by the great Sufi poet Hafiz!
Daniel Ladinsky seems to acknowledge this in his introduction to the book, when he writes, “I feel my relationship to Hafiz defies all reason… I had an astounding dream in which I saw Hafiz as an Infinite Fountaining Sun (I saw him as God), who sang hundreds of lines of his poetry to me in English, asking me to give that message to ‘my artists and seekers.'”
You might say that Ladinsky’s poetry is “inspired by” Hafiz. Or, if you prefer a broader interpretation, you could say Ladinsky channels Hafiz. But his “translations” are not the historical writings of Hafiz. From the more limited scholar’s definition, these are poems by Daniel Ladinsky, not Hafiz.
So here’s what I do: I enjoy Ladinsky’s playful, profound poetry, but I look to other books to savor the historical poetry of Hafiz that Sufis and seekers have delighted in for centuries.”
For purists, Granger recommends:
The Spiritual Wisdom of Hafez: Teachings of the Philosopher of Love, by Haleh Pourafzal / Roger Montgomery
Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi, Translated by Mahmood Jamal
Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems, Translated by Bernard Lewis
Drunk on the Wine of Beloved: 100 Poems of Hafiz, by Thomas Rain Crowe
Love’s Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition, Translated by David Fideler / Translated by Sabrineh Fideler
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