Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 09-24-2019, 02:48 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,845
Default Rumi and the Wars

The Other Eye: Version VII

I traveled to the mosque for Eid al-Fitr,
to chat, to greet the angels at my sides,
as we went into Iraq and Afghanistan.

This was a time I'd leapt the centuries
to Rumi, with his love for what he saw.
Close both eyes to see with the other eye;

I did so, turning slowly in God’s wind.
Rumi’s drunken sentences filled me like water,
in my stocking feet, with my arms freshly washed.



Rumi and the Wars: Version VI

I journeyed to our mosque for Eid al-Fitr,
and greeted the angels seated on my shoulders,
as we went into Iraq and Afghanistan.

These were the days to cross the centuries
to Rumi, with his love for what he saw.
Close both eyes to see with the other eye,

he says. I turned like a dervish in God’s wind.
Rumi’s drunken sentences filled me like water,
in my stocking feet, with my arms freshly washed.




Rumi and the Wars: Version V

Love the pitcher less and the water more.


In days when we attacked two Muslim countries,
I came upon the Persian poet Rumi
for the first time, at the age of thirty-five.

It was a revelation. Close both eyes
to see with the other eye
, he says. I did,
and gave myself like a dervish to what’s holy.

I journeyed to our mosque for Eid al-Fitr,
and greeted the angels seated on my shoulders.
Rumi’s drunken sentences filled me like water,

in my stocking feet, with my arms freshly washed.


Rumi and the Wars: Version IV

In days when we invaded two Muslim countries,
I came upon the Persian poet Rumi
for the first time, at the age of thirty-five.

It was a revelation. Close both eyes
to see with the other eye
, he says. I did,
and gave myself to what’s holy, like a dervish.

I visited our mosque at Eid al-Fitr,
and chatted and greeted the angels on my shoulders.
Rumi’s drunken sentences filled me like water.

Love the pitcher less and the water more.


Rumi and the Wars: Version III

In days when we invaded two Muslim countries,
I came upon the Persian poet Rumi
for the first time, at the age of thirty-five.

It was a revelation. Close both eyes
to see with the other eye
, he says. I did;
I gave myself to what’s holy like a dervish.

I visited our mosque at Eid al-Fitr,
and chatted and greeted the angels on my shoulders.
Rumi’s drunken sentences filled me like water.

This was centuries after he put them on the page.

II

The Sufis tell us, Love the pitcher less
and the water more
.
But we love the pitcher more;

though any fool
could let us know the pitcher
won’t slake our thirst.

When will we turn
to water we can drink? Then what we’ve learned
would fall away, with our thirst quenched

by what that pitcher hid from us.


Rumi and the Wars: Version II

In days when we invaded two Muslim countries,
I came upon the Persian poet Rumi
for the first time, at the age of thirty-five.

It was a revelation. Close both eyes
to see with the other eye
, he says. I did;
I gave myself to what’s holy like a dervish.

I visited our mosque at Eid al-Fitr,
and chatted and greeted the angels on my shoulders.
Rumi’s drunken sentences filled me like water.

This was centuries after he put them on the page.

II

The Sufis tell us, Love the pitcher less
and the water more
.
But we love the pitcher more;

while any fool
could let us know the pitcher
won’t slake our thirst.

And we are such thirsty creatures!
Will there come
a time when thirst will lead us

to water we can drink? Then all we’ve learned
could fall away, with our thirst quenched
by what that pitcher hid from us.


Rumi and the Wars: Version I

In the days when we invaded two Muslim countries,
I came upon the Persian poet Rumi
for the first time, at the age of thirty-five.
This was centuries after he put his words on paper.

It was a revelation. Close both eyes
to see with the other eye
, he says. I did;
I gave myself to what’s holy like a dervish.

I visited our mosque at Eid al-Fitr,
and chatted and greeted the angels on my shoulders.
Rumi’s drunken sentences filled me like water,
making me embrace the world and see what’s holy in it.

II

The Sufis tell us, Love the pitcher less
and the water more
, because we’ve learned
to judge what we can’t see by what we can.

What’s outside can be so appealing! For
the core of things is hidden, and their inner
nature escapes our sight;

we love the pitcher more. And that is natural,
with things the way they are. Yet any fool
could let us know the pitcher

won’t slake our thirst; and we are thirsty creatures.
So there may come
a time when thirst will lead us

to water we can drink. And all we’ve learned
will fall away, with our thirst quenched
by what that pitcher hid from us.

Last edited by John Isbell; 10-11-2019 at 06:50 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 09-24-2019, 04:06 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,411
Default

Hi John,

I think there's quite a bit in here that over-explains.

I could be wrong, but I don't think you need S1L4. Few won't know who Rumi is, and even if they don't, 'Persian' should be enough to show that he's not modern. S3L4 also seems very telly, and explains the previous line, disempowering the metaphor. Cutting both would give you three-line stanzas throughout.

In S2, there's much that (repeatedly) spells out Sufi metaphor, which for me, leaves it significantly over-explained. I'd say all of what I've greyed out falls into that category and could be cut with no real loss to my understanding of the poem, and with the bonus of allowing the reader a chance to do some thinking for him or herself.

The Sufis tell us, Love the pitcher less
and the water more, because we’ve learned
to judge what we can’t see by what we can.

What’s outside can be so appealing! For
the core of things is hidden, and their inner
nature escapes our sight;


we love the pitcher more. And that is natural,
with things the way they are.
Yet any fool
could let us know the pitcher

won’t slake our thirst; and we are thirsty creatures.
So there may come
a time when thirst will lead us

to water we can drink. And all we’ve learned
will fall away, with our thirst quenched
by what that pitcher hid from us.

because we’ve learned
to judge what we can’t see by what we can.



In S2, we're told that what the Sufi's tell us, any fool could tell us, and we're thirsty. So the observation is something easily stated, but hard to act on. It's hard to overcome our conditioning and natural tendencies. But I don't see that the poem supports the logic of 'So' -- I don't think 'So' is the right connector. I reckon, "Yet any fool ... But there may come a time ...". Or "But any fool ... Yet there may come a time" takes you closer to the logic here.

The opening line scans to me as:

in the DAYS | when WE | inVAD| ed TWO |MUS lim | COUNtries,

(Though I guess the first syllable could be seen as stressed too.) Six feet, three iambs, which makes it hard to scan as iambic, since they don't dominate. And since it's the opening line you might want to try for something more regular.

I don't the see the purpose of the enjambment or the short line at:

"So there may come"

It's a very short line, the shortest in the poem, which gives it special emphasis. But why?

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-24-2019 at 04:13 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 09-24-2019, 06:45 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,845
Default

Good morning, Matt,

And thank you as always for your detailed comments! I have done some slashing and burning as you suggest and I think it's quite likely that I've got a much better poem in consequence.
I tweaked S1 L1, but I want that line to be overloaded, it's freighting a lot of information and I especially want to ram our wars up against Rumi on the page. I also took out the two lines you noted, though I put a modified version of the first back for now to close S1; I think ending on three feminine rhymes and "water" is hard and kind of inconclusive. Let me know what you think.
In S2, I chopped most of what you suggested, and modified various conjunctions as you proposed doing. I restructured to preserve my tercets - tercets throughout, now - and added an exclamation mark and a question mark. The rhythm of the narrative is a bit different. I also think this format does a better job of explaining why "Will there come" stands on its own. I think the whole thing's tighter and more logical (and less telly).

Thanks again, Matt - I think the poem's better -
John
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 09-25-2019, 03:44 PM
Simon Hunt Simon Hunt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Monterey, CA USA
Posts: 1,998
Default

Hi John--I don't have too much to say here, but I do think it's gotten tighter between the two drafts. I think you can ditch the extra line about the centuries in the first part. Anybody who knows anything about Rumi knows that your speaker is centuries younger. Similarly, would you think there would be something to gain by making the two sections more parallel in length and structure? It seems to me that stanzas 2 and 3 in part 2 could be folded into one pretty easily yielding a structure of two three-tercet sections...
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 09-25-2019, 04:21 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,845
Default

Hi Simon,

Thanks very much for the suggestions! I've adopted your idea and worked to create two three-stanza sections here. I tweaked the new end of section I, where I didn't like ending on three feminine endings, and did some work to bring section II in at three tercets. It does seem tighter, and I think it may work.

Cheers, and thanks,
John
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 09-25-2019, 05:13 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,411
Default

Hi John,

I think it's looking better tighter.

A thought: "while any holy fool"?

Also, maybe "though" for "while", just because it's clearer, easier to parse: 'while' can mean during.

I'm in two minds about the loss of the last line of part I from R1. I suggested cutting it in the original when it came much earlier part I. But in R1, as the last line, it seems to have gained something: implying perhaps that though Rumi had said, it had little effect on the world: the wars being an example of this. And that it has had little effect presages S2, which tells us that we can be told that it's the water not the pitcher, but it takes more than being told for it sink in and affect how we act and see the world.

-Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-25-2019 at 05:27 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 09-25-2019, 05:28 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,845
Default

Hi Matt,

Thanks for coming back! I've changed while to though - thank you - and restored the last line of section I. My wife didn't like "oil" there, and I, like you, value the resonance of the last line when moved to the close. I also quite like the three feminine endings in that format. What I might do, going forward, is look to give section II a hanging last line after the 3 tercets, for symmetry. I don't have one yet.
I do like the term "holy fool," but to me, they are quite specific beings. I had in mind really just any fool - anyone can state the obvious, but it took the Sufis to see the water not the jug. I also like your further point about wisdom; it's easy to hear and harder to listen to, so to speak. A point worth making.

Cheers,
John

Update: fix for the last line.

Last edited by John Isbell; 09-25-2019 at 06:23 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 09-25-2019, 06:26 PM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 6,049
Default

I would put a comma between "holy" and "like a dervish," and I would cut the last line of Part I, which is unnecessary, and completely undermines the positive impression I have of the preceding nine lines.

Although I love the Sufi quotation in Part II, the original material after it does not rise anywhere near the impact of the quotation itself. In that part of the poem, I feel as if I'm being forced to hear someone explain a joke that I understood the first time.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 09-25-2019, 06:39 PM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,429
Default

John,
I completely agree with Julie's comments. Cut part 2, and the last line of part 1.

Martin
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 09-25-2019, 06:46 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,845
Default

Hi Julie, hi Martin,

And thank you both. You make a compelling case.
OK, I'm trying out a thing.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,007
Total Threads: 19,843
Total Posts: 253,790
There are 259 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online