Who Wrote the Poem?

 I have been putting together the poems I have written over the past decade or so. There are probably around 130 – 160 of them on a variety of themes familiar to most poets, as well as daily life. Love, impermanence, suffering, time, reality, death, mystery, truth.

I printed out about half of them for a slow careful read over a café latte in the Barrel. I sometimes wince over some of the contents, or one-liners, in my poems and sometimes I respond with amazement at the quality of the poem.

 

Who wrote the poem? Who reads the poem? The person who wrote the poem is not the same person who reads the poem days, weeks or years later. I am not a different person, either of course.

I only write a poem when an experience, situation or insight has touched me in some way or other.

At times, there are gaps of weeks or months between one poem and the next. Then I might experience a sudden surge of poems. Yet, I cannot recall the spark for quite a lot of the poems.

 

A beautiful poem carries with it the capacity to communicate a truth in relatively few words. I sometimes take a look at www. poemhunter.com to read a few poems. It is very hard to determine what makes a poem strike such a chord within that we treasure its statement.

 

I remember sitting in Barnes and Noble Bookshop in New York City a year or two ago reading a book of poems with commentary on Rumi. The translator had taken the words of Rumi and then placed beside the word in Arabic and Roman script an English word or two to convey the meaning from the Arabic. He then put the poem together as close to the original as possible. Wow! This translation really opened up my eyes to Rumi.

 

Rumi’s immense popularity in the West often says more about the Western translation than it does about the words of Rumi. I suspect that some of those who have ‘translated’ Rumi cannot read the original Arabic. We often say something is lost in translation. It could be worse than that in the case of Rumi. It could be nearly everything is lost in translation. We need to know the qualifications of the author to translate from old Arabic.

 

I left the bookshop and didn’t write down either the author’s name or title of this heavy hardbacked book. A pity.

 

Meanwhile I will continue to write poems. It is after all one of a 100 ways to kiss the Earth.