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  • Poet on a Journey

    With Permission from "the editor" of "Dahesh Voice".
    Translated from "Short Stories and Wonderful Tales", Vol I, by Dr. Dahesh

    Poet on a Journey
    By Dr Dahesh


    The young poet, taking up his staff and leaning on it, set off on his way across the vast desert. The journey was arduous, with burning sun that melted steel and horribly hot sand. A cloak protected him from the devastating heat. He walked and walked, but the distances he had to cross were endless.

    When darkness filled the vast desert, the cold was bitter. The poet huddled close to his camel to draw some warmth, in addition to the thick sheep's wool cloak that covered him from head to toe.

    In the desert, the sun was grueling during the day, and at night, there was freezing cold.

    At sunrise, a moment of matchless beauty in the desert, he rose and mounted his sturdy camel. Together, they started off, beating the wind, to their destination. This time, he took care to protect himself and his camel from the burning sun. He had contrived an awning which he fixed on the back of his camel in such a way as to shade them both.

    At the end of a week he had drunk the last drop of water and eaten the last scrap of food. The ninth day he spent without food or drink. By the tenth day of his journey, he was starving and his throat was parched. His tongue felt like a piece of dry wood. His camel was getting agitated and restless for want of food. Thirst did not affect the animal since camels are equipped by nature to store up water which they regurgitate whenever they feel the need. This was a special dispensation with which Providence had endowed camels to help them survive thirst in the desert. In despair, the poet decided to kill the camel to ease his pangs of hunger with its flesh and quench his thirst with the water stored in its belly.

    A Tent and a Venerable Sheik

    Suddenly, he saw in the horizon, a tent pitched in the middle of the desert. He was surprised and extremely overjoyed. He hastened his steps until he reached it. A dignified, old sheikh, who was standing at the entrance, invited him in. The poet dismounted and stepped inside, then begged for water. The old man brought him water in a large earthen pitcher which the poet drank to the last drop. Delicious food was served, which the poet also devoured hungrily. A palm leaf basket stood in one corner of the tent full of all sorts of fruit. The poet helped himself, wondering how such delicious fruit could exist in that barren desert of burning sands. What surprised him even more was the strange coolness of the tent. Through openings in the tent, he also saw the camel eating away at a stack of hay while a heap of barley stood waiting. Now and again, the camel would lap up water from a voluminous container large enough to supply three camels languishing from thirst.

    He Writes Songs to a Genie He Does Not Know

    The poet turned to his host and expressed his astonishment at how the camel had been supplied with fodder and drink though there were none but themselves in the tent. The old man smiled: "Was it not you," he said, "who wrote these lines":

    Oh, when shall we come to meet,
    lovely muse?
    I long for you
    in the long sleepless nights
    which extend into the dawn.
    Fair moon of my days,
    you are full.
    Lovesick, I pine for you
    and am ever faithful
    and steady in your love.
    With your love coursing in my veins,
    I shall cross the vast reaches of the desert,
    and where you are
    there shall paradise be.

    The Poet Meets His Muse

    “Yes, indeed, those are my verses," replied the astonished poet. "How did you know that? They have never been published and the folded paper on which they were written is still with me." In reply, the sheikh clapped his hands and called, "Come, Qamar [moon]!" The curtains parted and a ravishing young girl surpassing the poetic beauty of the moon came forward.
    "Yes, father."
    "Behold, your chosen spouse, my child," said the sheikh. "He has come for you across the endless expanse of the desert, braving the barren terrain and the burning sands. He has achieved the fulfillment of his dreams by seeing you.”

    A Lovely Dream Evaporates

    The poet stood speechless before the girl's astounding beauty. Stunned by the look in her eyes as she turned toward him, he could not help falling at her feet, covering them with kisses. He remained transfixed but the blistering heat of the sun scorched him back to his senses. He looked around him in a daze. There was not a trace of what had stood before him a moment before. Bedazed as well as gripped by fascination and horror, he gazed vacantly into space, his heart pounding like drums, his body trembling, his judgment clouded, and his tongue stammering incoherently.

    The Genie Invites Him to Her World

    Suddenly, a sweet, feminine voice echoed in the air. "Come, dear love," it called. "I am your beloved Qamar. I call you to be my master, my spouse, and the king of my heart that is beating with your love. But I can be yours only in the other world. When you will shed that mortal raiment of human form and assume an immortal, spiritual body, then you shall find me by your side, and I shall enfold you in my arms. Then you shall taste the honey of my lips, and know great divine ecstasy whose sublime sweetness is beyond words. Come to me, my beloved, come to me; don't tarry. I am fond of you, drawn to your manliness, and taken with your poems which speak of your love for me.

    As soon as she finished speaking, he pulled out a sharp dagger and plunged it into his heart, falling lifeless to the ground.

    USA September 13, 1976
    At 6:30AM
    Last edited by Loup Solitaire; 11-02-2008, 08:34 PM. Reason: Update Information regarding translation

  • #2
    Thank you Ron!

    Ron, thank you for typing up all those stories!

    In all candor, I am resisting reading them in depth because... well... being that I am "me"... I just know what will (or might) happen:

    I'll end up cross checking with the original and kvetch!

    That's probably a defeatist attitude... I know...

    But ... I just read their translation of the title of the Doctor's book and I "Wonder."

    So, here goes...

    I do not agree with the translation of the Book's main title, it should be "Strange Tales and Wondrous Legends."

    قصص غريبة و أساطير عجيبة

    I know Google translates the word عجيبةas wonderful...

    First the word itself used as a noun means "miracle."

    However, used as an adjective, it is used to express a sense of amazement when faced with something extraordinary that one marvels at.

    Which, really, expresses that sentiment?

    Would it be "Wondrous" or "Wonderful" ?

    Plus, "Wonderful" usually denotes "Happy"... "Admirable"...

    Here is Webster's definition:

    1 : exciting wonder : MARVELOUS, ASTONISHING *a sight wonderful to behold*
    2 : unusually good : ADMIRABLE

    And, in Arabic, "Wonderful" is "Raa'eh" (raa2e3) رائع

    Wondrous, in my view, incites inquiry...

    Plus, some of these stories are downright scary...

    Now, for anyone out there who is prone to say "Mario, you are committing a deadly sin by publicly critiquing the work of other Daheshists.

    Well, when someone does not react to— nor acknowledge— your advice and gives you the common courtesy of at least telling you "go to hell"... what do you do? Do you look the other way and let the mistake fester?

    Let me tell you a little story folks:

    When the first edition of "KALIMAAT" (Words) came out in 1939, an American University of Beirut student was so upset by the content of the book that she drafted a lengthy and passionate letter which "Al Amaali" Magazine published in May 1939. Let's just say that Miss Sameehat did not mince any words!

    So strong was her letter that — logically — no Daheshist in his right mind would have dared publish it.

    Well, guess what:

    Doctor Dahesh published that same letter—unedited—in the second edition of "Kalimaat" which came out in 1983.

    Now, that's class!

    When we are not afraid of our convictions, we do not hide from criticism.

    Freedom of thought, of speech people... don't forget that!
    "Fail, to succeed."

    Comment


    • #3
      Certainly there is no harm in constructive critique. Besides. I only scanned this one, and corrected the scanning errors. The effort here is a joint one here to provide meaning that Dr Dahesh intended. First, I am an optimist that the first person did give an earnest effort. What harm is done if you can add further flavor. Thank you for your efforts.

      Comment


      • #4
        That makes me feel a lot better. Thank you.

        In that case, and once we wrap up the last of remaining Daheshist Symbol movies*, I'll give a more in-depth review of these translations.

        *Speaking of the movies: we're now up to # 22. By our estimates, 8 more are left (and are currently in production) and should (hopefully) be wrapped up before 2009.
        "Fail, to succeed."

        Comment

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