‘Saadi & Me’ — a Guft o Gu
Ever since I linked up with the Persian language, I have been a huge admirer of Saadi Shirazi, an acclaimed poet of Iran. His metrical compositions have always stirred my vibes. His way of driving emotions by extraordinary metaphorical expressions is remarkable.
Whenever I leaf through his poems, I can’t abstain myself from uttering; “but..”, “no..”, “may be if..” “yes, but..”, apparently setting up a curious conversation. The reason being is his stupendous style of deliberately constructing ideas and concepts which are not ripe, obligating the reader to speculate and eventually end up infused in them.
A few days ago, a friend from Iran, who is certainly familiar with my Saadi-obsession, sent a staggering piece from Saadi’s compositions to me. The moment his words collided with my senses, I was certain that these words merit a response.
Thence, I finally decided to rise to the bait.
Although I was pretty sure I would drive Saadi up to the wall, I took the plunge. Having said that, I knew in fact, that mirroring Saadi Shirazi is undoable. Ergo, the response I have composed is confined within the intentions of learning. As the saying goes; ‘you learn something best when you face up to it’ (don’t give a second thought to the saying. I made it up because the method has always profited me).
Cutting my emotions to the bone, I would like to present ‘Saadi & Me’ — a Guft o Gu.
For all my Iranian friends, this is nothing but a humble effort, i.e. یک کوشش کوتاہ , as you all phrase it.
چون است حال بستان ای باد نوبھاری
کز بلبلان برآمد فریاد بی قراری
You can see the state of the garden, dried up, and giving out,
Also, you can hear the nightingales shriek, ah breeze of spring..
ای باد نوبھاری ایشان در حقیقت
در آرزوی عالی قدرند و انتظاری
Know! They are not whining about the winter, they’re not,
It’s the wait and desire ‘of the loved one’ that has led them to the pain, ah breeze of spring..
ای گنج نوشدارو با خستگان نگہ کن
مرھم بہ دست و ما را مجروح می گذاری
Mercy! Despite of possessing the cure, you left me in pain, wounded, why?
مجروح گر کسی است باید رود بہ نزدش
کز دست بوسہ ی او حاصل شود قراری
Wounded? In pain? Go to ‘the loved one’.
Kissing his hands will suffice you against the wounds, and griefs, let alone the cure..
عود است زیر دامن یا گل در آستینت
یا مشک در گریبان بنمای تا چہ داری
Is that oud you are wearing? Or you’ve hidden a flower within?
Or is it musk you’re holding? Tell me, what is that you’re scented with?
نگران تو نشو من دانم چہ آن نکھت
البتہ است از پاافزار شہ غباری
Cool it, be at ease. I know what it is, the dust of ‘the loved one’s’ footwear is what you are perceiving, indeed it is it, that is arousing you..
گل نسبتی ندارد با روی دلفریبت
تو در میان گل ھا چون گل میان خاری
Stating; ‘Your appearance is like a flower’, is an unfit analogy.
For your prestige is as of a flower amidst thorns.
وقتی کہ نظرِ او بر یک خارِ گل میماند
فوراً بہ جمعِ گل ھا او را شود شماری
When I see a thorn, attaining a glimpse of ‘the loved one’. I see it blooming, as a flower.
Yes, when amidst thorns that’s what he is apt to do.
ور قید می گشایی وحشی نمی گریزد
دربند خوبرویان خوشتر کہ رستگاری
Unlatch thy cages, no one is escaping.
Its better to be prisoner of someone like you then be free.
از قیدشان در رو مملوک سیف دین شو
گر تو رھای خواھی از قیدِ روزگاری
How about salvation from matter?
Be a servant of ‘the loved one’.
عمری دیگر بباید بعد از فراق ما را
کاین عمر صرف کردیم اندر امیدواری
A second chance, a rebirth is what I wish for.
Seeing that longing and waiting is only what I have done all my life.
در انتظار شہ بو تو عمر کردہ بودی
مانندِ وصل اندر آن است خوشگواری
Only if you had longed for ‘the loved one’.
You could have relished the sense of being with him, more so, in longing by distance.
ھر درد را کہ بینی درمان و چارہ ای ھست
درمان درد سعدی با دوست سازگاری
Pains do have cures,
like being with her is a cure for Saadi’s pain.
بالا ز درد و درمان داوود می رود چون
در یادِ شہ مفضل آید بہ او خماری
When Dawood is lost in remembrance of ‘the loved one’,
He sets himself free from the barriers of pains and cures.
Since translating the Persian language inclusive of emotions is a hard row to hoe, I am sure my English renderings are not up to the mark. Besides, I intentionally opted for selected verses in lieu of all of it, only to dish out a feel as to how Saadi’s poems get plugged into a reader’s mind.
Yet, I am unsure if I have managed to persuade anyone to be Saadi-fied, but justly, he is a cut above the rest.
My Iranian friends would definitely claim that I am smitten with Saadi when I say this; ‘Oh Saadi I wish to eat your liver’. I know it sounds creepy, but it is a scenic way of expressing love to someone in Persian, given that it is not translated; جگر تو بخرم.
At last, here is a feast for your ears. Enjoy!