20 December 2012

زندگی - Life

زندگی یعنی چه ؟

روزی از گلی پرسیدم : زندگی یعنی چه ؟

گفت زندگی چیزنیست جز بوی خوش و عطر من

از سنگی پرسیدم زندگی یعنی چه ؟

گفت : زندگی چیزی نیست جز استواری و قدرت من

از رودخانه ای پرسیدم زندگی یعنی چه ؟

گفت زندگی چیزی نیست جز طراوت و پاکی من

از انسانی پرسیدم زندگی یعنی چه؟

گفت زندگی چیزی نیست جز مهر و محبت درون من.

زندگی هنر بافتن پارچه زیبایی است

- زندگی دوختن شا دیهاست

و به تن کردن پیراهن گلدار امید.

مجتبی کاشانی

I had this post written on May 2010 but I never clicked publish!
and this is a sort of translation of this poem:

What is life?

Once a flower was asked: What is life?

She said: life is nothing but my fragrances and perfumes

A stone was asked: what is life?

He said: life is nothing but my solidity and strength

A river was asked: what is life?

He said: life is nothing but my freshness and purity

A human was asked: What is Life?

He said: life is nothing but the love and kindness in me.

Life is a beautiful art of weaving a cloth
Life is sewing the happiness scarf
And wearing the floral shirt of  hope

Mojtaba Kashani


radius said...

Thanks for the translation of this nice poem. Sorry for my very prosaic question: Shouldn't both FLOWER, STONE and RIVER be of neutral gender ("it")?
And human, at least if one follows political correctness, should be ambiguous ("He/She"). Even if I risk myself to be considered boring asking such formal issues, but I am myself too often undecided what is the proper gender for the english nouns.
For sure, the poem would loose its flavour, if the flower and the stone would be "abbreviated" as IT. Too bad that W.Shakespeare is not reading you blog. I guess he would have known the best answer.

Daisy said...

You are right! I didn't realize this until you point it out. I believe I got the translation from somewhere. Unfortunately, I can't remember where since it sat on my blog unpublished until I came across it and published it. I remember that I modified the original translation and used Google translation as well. I'm thinking of changing all the nouns to HE if you don't mind. I think the poem will loss its essence if I use IT. What do you think?

radius said...

Intuitively, I also would use "she" and "he" for flowers and stones. I am not sure, but maybe there is an alternative rule for poetry in English, that allows deviations from the common rules of grammar. I will ask a colleague of english mothertongue tomorrow and let you know. In German, every noun can have male or female gender, also non-animated ones. How is this in Persian ? Probably the same. For translations of simply text or prosa, it wont be a big issue. But as you said, a translated poem would loose its essence if all nouns - in particular those have a symbolic meaning for something animated - are turned into neutrum. As soon as I get an answer from my colleague, I'll let you know.
best ragards, Michael

Daisy said...

In Persian, there is no gender specific pronoun. There is one that is used for human and another one for anything else. So as you see, a Farsi speaking person does not distinguish between genders :) However, we have Tu and Vous similar to French and if you want to be polite, you refer to them as vous not tu. It is fascinating when you start comparing languages.

radius said...

This is what my british colleague told me about the assignment of gender to unanimated objects in poetry: This is indeed common practise. If you choose male or female, however depends not simply on the context, but on the "character" that this item carries. So I guess if the poem is about
a gently blowing summer wind, this will be a SHE, but if it is about a horrible thunderstorm, this must be a HE.
A nice, colourful, delicate and well-smelling flower will most likely be assigned a female gender. But if the poem is about a carnovourous plant, ugly looking and nastly smelling, it would be more appropriate to assigned it a male gender.
Unless, of course, an american trash musical like "Little Shop of Horrors" introduces a man-eating nasty plant and calls it "Audrey II" (where - I guess - this conflict between expectation and reality is crucial for its humor).
There are some fixed cases of assigned gender: The Sea is always male, whereas ships are always female. In contrast to German, where the Sea is female (but the Ocean is male (?), and ships are neutral.
So british poetry, like the british character in general, takes a very pragmatic position, in contrast to German, which you have to follow the rules of grammar, and where it does not matter whether you write a sonett or a car damage report.

best regards, Michael