On Friday night’s show when Rachel and Richard were talking about how hot it is in Baghdad, Richard mentioned that there are Ottoman poems about how much they hated the heat there:
“There are Ottoman poems that describe it as, well, in an unflattering four-letter words and then say, Baghdad, it is excrement and it is infernally hot. I’ll give you the poem. I think from the 17th century.”I’ll try to find out if he has a link or some other copy of the poem, but I figured he’s kind of busy and not exactly hanging out in an Ottoman poetry library at the moment so I tried to find it myself. In the scope of translated-to-English and free-on-Google I wasn’t able to find the particuar lines he mentioned, but I did have a pretty good time reading Ottoman poetry. Google Books had a couple of offerings that were incomplete but still good for browsing: After the jump, a sample of what I found: From Ottoman lyric poetry: an anthology By Walter G. Andrews, Najaat Black, Mehmet Kalpaklı, page 134. I think the poet’s name is Nedim, from the year 1730.
At the gathering of desire you made me a wine-cup with your sugar smile Oh saki, give me only half a cup of wine, you’ve made me drunk enough You crushed me under teh hoof of a wild horse that runs like fire In those places flames rise up from my ashes like cypress trees Ah, east wind, you came to me with the scent of my lover’s hair You made me love-bewildered like the hyacinth’s curl With your beauteous grace my hair has been standing like a jinn With love you’ve made me mirror-colored from head to foot Don’t make your crying Nedim drunk and devastated like that Saki, give me only half a cup of wine, you’ve made me drunk enoughFrom A history of Ottoman poetry, Volume 3 By Elias John Wilkinson Gibb, page 46. This poet is Usuli of Vardar Yenijesi and he lived into the mid-900s, so I reckon that’s when the poem is from as well. (And yes, this is well out of the range Richard mentioned but by this point in my search I was pretty much just wandering.)
Each wave that riseth on the sea of Absolute Existency Declares the secret ‘I am God’ or openly or secrectly. All things are mines, and of their quintessential nature they beget, Some gold, some silver, other stones and clods of earth, in verity. Although in truth this orchard hath but one water and one gardener, What myriad trees do grown herin from multiform reality Behold the race of men and see how some are poison, sugar some; How great a marvel, diverse fruits appearing on a seingle tree! What myriad acts are ordered fair, what myriad shows are brought to naught; How passing strange a work is this, whereof no workman we can see! Lo, thou hast entered and shalt quit this fane nine-domed, hexagonal/ Yet neither entrance-door nor gate of exit is beheld of thee. How sore must labour the Adept ere he attain perfection’s point; What blood the mine must drain to form a single gem of radiancy! In all beholders wait the virgin fantasies expectant till That link Usuli there arise a lord of perspicacity.
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Fruitless search for Richard's poem not without rewards