Friday, June 29, 2007

His Stone Is Diamond

I found the following piece of translation few weeks ago. It dates back to 20 February 2004. One of my ostaads had asked me to translate it from Persian into English in my leisure time. But it remained unfinished. "Sange Man - Almas" is one of the most representative pieces by Askar Hakim, a kind of poetic autobiography, worthwhile to be read.

The translation has not been edited and/or corrected, hence, not immune to lapses:

Askar Hakim

My stone is diamond

Who am I?
A tree-like human
My roots are entrenched
in the heart of the village’s water,
My branches are green
on the trunk of the city.
Rooted up of myself,
How to be engrafted into another?

I am not able to take
The golden paw of my roots with me
To make it green in the new land.
My branches and leaves are a heavy burden
For these thin roots in the sand.
Oh, I feel a fear of hurricane.

Let us leave the talk on the storm for a while,
Although every moment of my life
is full of squalls.

I became civilized,
I am a burgess, I mean.

All my friends from childhood
Left behind in the village.

But I visit the village
Once a year though, with swallows
Just to walk in the vineyards
Seeking Mother’s embrace,
Just to talk to the spring as I used to my sister
And to say: “Hello, brother!” to the tallest white poplar,
To embrace as my granny
The old trunk of mulberry
And to lay on a pillow of a hard stone,
As hard as my childhood,
Just to sleep…

Then to find myself surrounded
By a carpet of apricot flowers
And to see a nimble swallow
Building a nest on the ceiling.

Once our roof hosted pigeons
Flying and babbling with them,
Filling the house with a song
And the song was a subject of the law of the morning.

There was a piece of green land
Right behind the roof of the doves
Full of bats swooping on moths.
When the sky was dark above,
We as children used to run
Throwing our caps above
In the hope to catch a bat…

Once I hurled my cap to the sky,
Strengthened by a strong desire.
The cap caught on Pleiades’ ear.
Thereafter I lost my fear.

Now I still can walk on Earth,
But my head is beyond the Moon.

I like to deal with words and pen,
And I love to plough an autumn land,
But now deprived of a land and a plough,
I scribble this leaf
As ploughing a land
To see on it a sudden green plant,
Wheat or a barley stalk,
At least for an ant
From this pen-ploughed land.

I love the eruption of peach flowers
And bee’s affection to apple-flower – his bride,
That impregnates her just with a sweetest kiss
And I water the bride with my pen on the leaf.

I like the honey-moon kiss of a bee
Taken from the lips of a flower,
With a honey ending of it.

There is a lesson to learn
From this sweet-bearing small creature:
To sting just for joy
And to die from the sin of innocence,
If there is another purpose.

In my book sometimes I have nothing –
Neither honey, nor bee and nor apple.
Just few pale withered leaves, alas.

I would like to see limpid drops of dew
- thirsty to join the Sun’s spring –
not to be beholden to a leaf for its favour.

I wish every drop of a sea to perceive
That a sea is dependent on drops,
That the drops have created the seas.

I was born in the year of the Dog,
And the month of the Scales.
My affection and faith is from the year,
From the month I’ve received sense of justice.

My stone is diamond.

Nothing common between a diamond and a glass,
My stone is consisted of the smoke of smouldered hearts.
From blue to green, from white to red it changes though sometimes,
However, it is limpid and sparkles with crystal shines.

The sparkle of its blaze is derived from my heart-light.

My heart is my temple,
The Islamic “al-Hamd” on my tongue everyday
I pray
With the breathes of Christ
And the faith of Judah
With the lenience borrowed from Buddha
I pray to every creature with a belief in its heart.

I pray to keep green
The root of my faith
By God, who keeps you green.
I pray to the clouds in the sea of the heavens
To convey my benediction to the Sun.

If we say that the heavens have the water of blessing,
We should add that it covers not only the flowers,
And it pours not only on cypresses and basils,
And it waters not only raspberries…

We should know that the water of blessing is for thorns too,
And it pours on camel nettles and mote thistles as well.

Thorn is despised in a lawn,
If beside it a rose has been shown.

If you see a thorn-bundle on a short wall,
Touch wood.

Touch wood,
If you see a raven singing songs
Or a bat’s eyes acquainted with the Sun
Or a trap breaking itself to free a prey

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Rainy Thought

Rain is being sucked out of deeply dark-hearted fortified clouds by Earth’s gravity.

That’s the way a greedy child lactates generous breasts of its mother.

Walking on Amsterdam’s sidewalks in such weather does not appeal almost anyone.

Streets are gloomy and void. Sky is rattling at times just like a tiger roaring and crying from pain. Nobody wants to feel the burden of the pang so tangible and loud and incomparable with our own teeny trivial pains.

However, if not for my endless cold and coughing I wish to take a celestial bath right now to sense a link with the skies deep under my skin precisely for letting away whatever nonsense that keeps me puzzled these days.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Whirling Back To Windmill Land

A dragging affection of my Dutch colleagues’ embraces filled with warmth of sincere kindness was open to welcome me in the City of Windmills. Only then I felt it acutely how much I had missed them in past five months. No matter how far-stretching our modern communication means have become and how fast they are growing; nothing can replace a real proper physical contact. You can talk to them over the phone, invite them to a broadband video chat, and keep them posted via e-mails and texts, but still, you need to see them in person to understand how much you’ve missed them and how happy you are to see them again.

Amsterdam, itself, doesn’t contain any enigmas for me anymore. While still on board, approaching the city outskirts you can see a gigantic yellow “M” for McDonalds and a massive DHL store, and even if you are from the States (or maybe exactly because of that), you would not notice anything particular and distinguishable from other parts of the Americanized world. Apart from whirling wheels of its windmills, of course.

Who knows, there still could be enigmatic elements hidden in deeper layers of the society. I arrived in the city just few minutes ago and got a couple of weeks to explore it thoroughly. Bebinim o ta’rif bokonim!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Defeat Is A Reason

I keep posting my replies to Anon 2 as separate articles to keep the discussion running and attracting as many participants as possible. That's the latest one:

Dear Anon2,

Sorry for the delay longer than before. Some hassle with my broadband connection and British Telecom’s misconduct kept me deeply engaged with local bureaucracy and now I’m sitting here satisfied and triumphant, enjoying my broadband after almost 3 months of struggle.

As for our debate, seemingly we are getting each other’s points more easily. Whatever you said about difficulties and hardship back at home were the point of my concern in my initial postings.

Even if you want to get more distraught you can pick up any other sphere of life in Tajikistan and you'll sink into a real depression. Corruption is webbing the entire country faster than ever, mother tongue is vanishing and the link between the language and thought is disappearing leaving a tribe in pain of explaining a simplest thing with hundreds of “kim-chi xel”s and “vay-vay”s, nothing new is coming out of our thoughts as the result of our linguistic difficulty, xenophobia is flourishing as a means of self-defence of a weaker against a stronger, books are rarely published and even more rarely read, the art of verbal debate has joined history years ago, a top official swearing at a bunch of journalists does not raise our eye-brows anymore, the most elementary ethics downgraded to its minimum as well as the nation’s world view…

The list could be continued forever, but… There is a big BUT. There is a way out, because a little sparkle of hope is still twinkling, and on no account our depression could lead us to embrace that sparkle. There are still people not afraid to face the truth in its bare and ugly shape and speak about it. One of them is you. The very fact of thinking about our problems is that much promising sparkle. As the first step we have to talk about our discontent as long as to see it wide spread in the entire country. No room for bla bla, sheer lies and comic pride.

One of the oldest reasons of our misfortune could be our historic defeat. We could not rise and hold our heads high after Samanids were broken by Ghaznevids into tatters. Central Asian part of the Persian world succumbed to a pit of stagnation after that with a huge historic blister on its leg. The old nation still kept moving, but the blister of defeat would not allow it move as fast as before and show the previous agility and creativity. A bleeding nation was easier a prey for fresh predators who crawled into our backyard and stabbed us again and again until we stopped moving at all. That’s the moment we are living now with you.

Defeat of a nation is a significant topic of social psychology. There were years after World War II that German parents had to beg their offspring not to shout national mottos in football matches and not to display their national pride at all. Of course, Germany is still a top nation of the world, however, it was reduced from the world’s superpower to a satellite nation to accommodate over 60 000 soldiers of a rising superpower, namely the USA. That American contingent in Germany is still the largest American troop abroad. Germany is still doing well and the collapse of the Soviet Union served it well to recover faster than they imagined. However, it lost its second-ranking power to Japan in the field of industry. Such is the price of just one defeat. Can we now imagine the price of our endless defeats?

In order not to lose what has left in our possession we need to enhance our world view and get closer to realities.

PS. Your recollection of OINA was breath-taking and moving. I thought it was well-forgotten by anyone who used to watch it.

Friday, June 01, 2007