Vol VII Speakeasy

This week is a double delight – the poet  Rumi and his translator Farrukh Dhondy. And I am not even going to try to introduce either of them who are legends in their own right. 

While many recent ‘translations’ have sought to give Rumi’s poetry a certain hippy sensibility, robbing it of its true essence, Farrukh Dhondy attempts to bring out the beauty and sensibility of the verses whilst imitating the metre of the original. Dhondy’s translations provide a modern idiom to the poems, carefully keeping intact their religious context.


It was stories that first gave me
The idea of romance
I kept my young eyes open
Waiting for the trance

That would fall on me, strike me,
Heavenly Cupid’s dart
Till I realized that you
Were already in my heart.


This fairyland of love
Is a country to cry for
Getting lost in you
Is a loss to die for

I said, ‘I will make love to you
Then fade upon the air.’
She was appalled and said,
‘Don’t you even dare!’


Catastrophes, contrivances
The latest heinous crime
Are passing shows, the real news
Is the stillness beyond time.


The party was crowded –
Of our secret love
I could give you no token.
They started a game of whispers,
I put my cheek to yours,
My heart was broken.

[Excerpted with permission from Rumi A New Translation by Farrukh Dhondy Harper Perennial India]



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