Friday, January 12, 2007

"Comes the time to carry loads"

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Ho, master, what a bird are you?*
Your name? What are you good for?
You do not fly, you do not graze,
you little sugar birdie!
You're like an ostrich. When one says,
"Now fly!" then you will say,
"I am a camel, Arab! – When
did camels ever fly?"
And comes the time to carry loads,
you say, "No, I'm a bird!
When did one burden birds? Oh please,
leave this annoying talk!"

-- Ghazal (Ode) 2622
Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
"I Am Wind, You are Fire"
Shambhala, 1992

* "What a bird are you " -- this could variously be translated
as "What sort of bird are you?" or "What kind of bird are you, that
you don't fly?" Sunlight thanks Panevis, in Tehran, for the
discussion and clarification. -- Sunlight Ed.

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