The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Wednesday


Some Kiss We Want
By Jalaluddin Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks


There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of

spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling! At

night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its

face against mine. Breathe into
me. Close the language- door and

open the love window. The moon
won't use the door, only the window.

--------

SFGate had an interview a couple of days ago with Rumi translator Coleman Barks, who admits that he doesn't speak Persian but uses scholarly translations "and then I work with the English, trying to be as faithful as possible to the images that come through the words and the spiritual information coming through those images." (I often tinker when I post amateur translations so I find it really heartening that Barks does this too!) "Of course, the way I approach these poems has to be filtered through my own experience. [Rumi] is an enlightened being, and I am not. And so there must be some distortion resulting from that," Barks adds. "He had a great joy in being alive. He said that just being sentient and in a body is cause for rapture. Whitman had that sense of wonder, very close to Rumi's, I think. And so did Emily Dickinson...he is showing us a vision of the world that we have wanted to have a spokesman for."

Barks also says, "Rumi is known as the dissolver of boundaries in the history of religions. He was beyond religious doctrine. He says, 'If you think there are important differences or divisions between Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims, then you are dividing yourself, between your heart — what you love with — and how you act in the world.' That's a radical thing to say." And Barks describes amazing mystical dreams that makes me want to read his own poetry.

Had mostly an unexciting Tuesday enlivened only by firing off furious e-mail to Adam's science teacher, who accused him of plagiarizing -- specifically, cutting and pasting sentences from the web. I demanded to know her definition of "plagiarism" and her evidence for same; I received a fairly conciliatory note in which she said she would allow Adam to rewrite the paper in question without penalizing his grade -- it's a fairly minor assignment anyway. Am torn between complaining further, since Adam did not plagiarize in the first place, versus the potential of making the teacher despise him and make a subject he likes miserable for him if I push the issue with the principal. I wrote the teacher back saying that if this is an issue of improper paraphrasing or citation, then I think the whole class needs an explanation of acceptable standards of use of sources -- the essay was on decomposition, something about which Adam knew nothing when he started the essay, so every sentence was adapted from a source and in sixth grade the students are required to use only a Works Cited list, not footnotes.

Otherwise my day consisted of folding laundry while rewatching Sunday night's Brotherhood which we had forgotten to record at the time -- of any returning series for the season, this may be the one that has thus far retained my excitement from the previous season -- writing articles on Nichelle Nichols and Zachary Quinto and working on my holiday postcards. I know that sounds a little insane, but last year half my holiday cards were late even though I started more than a month in advance, so this year I am determined to get everything to everyone on time! Instead of doing something cheesy and fannish, I am going with glossy and photographic...not exactly elegant but more tasteful than photocopied a Snarry joke. *g*


The glassblower from Art of Fire giving a demonstration.


I almost bought one of these little glass cats, but was afraid I'd manage to break it at the joust or something, and when I returned on the way out at the end of the day, they were all sold!


I was also tempted by the far more expensive fish and seahorses (dementordelta, of course I thought of you *g*).


Dancing Pig Pottery had wonderful goblets for Samhain and other ritual items, but the thing I coveted most in there was the Stonehenge quilt. (The woman who made it had a booth at the fair, but she was so rude when I went to ask whether she would make another that I decided it would give me bad vibes to own one made by her -- wish I could get this Stonehenge quilt!).


One of my favorite signs from the food area. I love the head.


Adam's favorite food sign. Guess why.


And a fine idea from the House of Musical Traditions.
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Boston Legal did not enthrall me -- I really miss Brad as a regular, Denise's interactions with Shirley and particularly Paul keeping everyone in line -- Carl isn't making me any happier than he's making Denny. I would like Lorraine much better if she weren't defined as Alan's fuck of the month, too (I read somewhere that Saffron Burrows and Fiona Shaw are lovers! Is this true? Hot!). I did like the resolution to Alan and Gloria's story, and also Jerry's insistence that Alan would make a wonderful father even if he comes from a long line of dreadful ones -- Alan may be dysfunctional with women but he's good at being paternal with Jerry and Clarence and even with Denny, who's also his own surrogate father figure.

On the other hand, I wish Alan would come up with better replies to Denny's misogyny -- Denny declares that women's eggs and brain cells go at the same time and he thinks Gloria is a total nutjob, which by Boston Legal standards she really is not. Then Denny hits on Lorraine, explaining that Alan can't be faithful so she should take the burden of effort from him: "Sleep with me! For Alan!" Later, when Alan confronts Denny about this, Denny insists, "I didn't proposition her, I merely asked her to sleep with me." Alan wonders how Denny would feel if he asked Shirley to sleep with him, apparently forgetting that he has done that before! But Denny's real worry is that Alan is in love with Lorraine, not that he's a competitor for Shirley. Alan has already figured out that Carl is the issue there.

Then there's Katie, the beauty who tamed the beast...sorry, but there are rather icky racial overtones to the murder case she's trying, which the episode ignores entirely -- everyone talks about how the defendant is a big hulking scary man but no one brings up the possibility that he is being judged as a black big hulking scary man differently than he would be if he were some other ethnicity. It's not like this series to cop out on that issue, though a lot of other things were silly in the murder case (like why wasn't the husband called back to the stand) and it seems like maybe they're setting up some kind of scary issue between the husband and Jerry for later on, though maybe they're just planning to drop it. I wish we'd had a bit of explanation of when Brad decided to become a prosecutor -- it's as incestuous as Shark with all the lawyers who know each other/used to sleep together.

Alan says something really sad in his explanation of why he can't have a child with Gloria: "Every woman I have ever loved, I have stopped loving." There's not one where it didn't work out due to timing or priorities or life events or even someone else coming between them? "It's sad how you go from intimacy to nothing," observes Denny when he learns that Alan and Gloria will not be staying friends. Upon learning Alan's speculation about Shirley and Carl, Denny's first reaction is, "I'll shoot him," then he adds, "I don't think I can handle that. I still love her. In my heart I still believe she's the one." Alan is surprised that after five or six divorces, Denny still believes in the one, but Denny insits that it's the only thing that really matters...and, trying to look on the bright side, hopes that Shirley is just using Carl to get over Denny Crane.
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