Avox in Arcadia (perpetual) wrote,
Avox in Arcadia

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A little bit of poetry for your weekend

I just finished reading The Places in Between by Rory Stewart - not the kind of book that usually beckons me, but a fulfilling, contemplative autobiography that I thought was well worth it.

The parts that I wanted to save and dwell on, though, weren't by the author himself but quotations that he apparently wanted to save, too. I've thought of doing a kind of weekly poetry spotlight on this blog; figured I couldn't count on myself to hold to it, but I see no reason to refrain from an entry or two of that sort.

Here's a (translation of a) poem he used to head one chapter:

From the Muezzin, on the night I lay first with my girl,
The call to prayer broke night into dawn.
Aagh, foolish wretch! What time is this
To remind a man of God?

-Mirza Ghalib

And, with some of his own context left in, here's some lines from the Koran:

I told him I had hoped to understand the Hazara but had only gathered disconnected and puzzling anecdotes. I asked what could explain the Hazara to me. He smiled and put clean blankets on teh floor. And when I lay down he removed a bundle from a carved wooden box, kissed it, said a prayer, unwrapped it, and, opening the Koran, read:
And what can explain the steep path to you?
It is the freeing of a slave,
Or the giving of food in a day of starvation...

And as I lay wondering who he was, he continued gently:
Unbeliever, I do not worship what you worship,
Nor do you worship what I worship,
I shall never worship what you worship,
Nor will you ever worship what I worship.
You have your religion and I have mine.
Tags: a book i read, poetry
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