Reasonable Words: Poetry

Tipped off by TLS to poetic translations of Classical Arabic, Persian, Hebrew and Turkish poems by historian Bernard Lewis, I did what I do, and found it in the Takoma Park Library.

Pretty wonderful, herewith some samples:

Lord, of your grace all that I hope is this–
keep the realm of my pleasure prosperous
avert from me the calamity of chastity
and keep far from me the doom of repentance.

‘Ubayd-i Zakani

They said be patient, patience will bear fruit.
I suppose it will, but in another life.
I have spent my whole life being patient.
I’ll need another life to reap the fruits.


One grey hair appeared on my head
I plucked it out with my hand.
It answered me: “You have prevailed against me alone–
What will you do when my army comes after me?”

Yehuda Halevi

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