FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

An excerpt from "Death Before Dying"--Sufi poetry from the 17th century

My Granny Nanny Darling (yes–that is the name by which my grandmother prefers to be addressed) and I exchange letters, books and poems from time to time.  I shared with her some Bedouin poetry that I had come across in my grad school research and she shared the below excerpt from The Sufi Poems of Sultan Bahu 1628-1658.  Sultan Bahu was a Sufi saint and prolific writer.  I love the poem below--it captures beautifully many aspects of Sufism but also the prospect of facing death at the end of life.  He remains one of the most popular poets in India and Pakistan today.

Neither am I Sunni nor am I Shi’a–my heart is bitter with both
of them.
All long, dry marches came to an end when I entered the sea
of mercy.
Many nonswimmers tried and lost; a few climbed the other bank.
They made it across safe and sound, Bahu, who clung to the
guide’s hem.

From “Death Before Dying” 

More links:
Sufi Poetry Blog

Some of my favorite poetry books:

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