Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Love poetry by the Ayatollah Khomeini

Sorry not to've had this up by Valentine's Day, but I like to think no one's holiday was the worse for it: Daniel Kalder (via 3QD) draws our attention to William Chittick's translation of a surprising poem by the Ayatollah:
I have become imprisoned, O beloved, by the mole on your lip!
I saw your ailing eyes and became ill through love.
Delivered from self, I beat the drum of "I am the Real!"
Like Hallaj, I became a customer for the top of the gallows.
Heartache for the beloved has thrown so many sparks into my soul
That I have been driven to despair and become the talk of the bazaar!
Open the door of the tavern and let us go there day and night,
For I am sick and tired of the mosque and seminary.
I have torn off the garb of asceticism and hypocrisy,
Putting on the cloak of the tavern-haunting shaykh and becoming aware.
The city preacher has so tormented me with his advice
That I have sought aid from the breath of the wine-drenched profligate.
Leave me alone to remember the idol-temple,
I who have been awakened by the hand of the tavern's idol.
Presumably allegorical, but probably better than any of Stalin's verse.

1 comment:

  1. Read "To the Moon" by Stalin when hewas 15. Stalin only wrote when young, being a bit vusy thereafter, but he was published before goming into the dictating trade.