04 December 2006

One sip of an answer

The program for January's Hay Festival in Cartagena was finally posted on Friday of last week! I am going to do my best to make it up for at least one of the days over the weekend. It would be nothing short of amazing to see Wole Soyinka, David Mitchell, and Chimamanda Adichie here in Colombia. (Other speakers include Junot Díaz, Guillermo Arriaga, Christopher Hitchens, Mario Mendoza, Santiago Gamboa, Bob Geldof, David Starkey, and Guillermo Martínez.)

School is out, the apartment is emtpy and clean, and I am finally beginning to recover my sanity after one hell of a year. Hope to read the few books that are not packed away in storage before I head north for a month of family reunions, reading, and true winter. Interestingly, someone slipped me a copy of a local writer's novella for commentary, and I am contemplating a bilingual review. Also, there is Stendhal waiting--I'd done ok reading it online, but now that my internet access is intermittent, I'll have to stay silent until I can pick up my own copy next week (!). And so it goes...

There's a lovely little thread on literary allusions of a favorite band that brought a certain poem to my attention: Rumi's "Who Says Words With My Mouth?" translated by Coleman Barks (with thanks to Katherine):

All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I'll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This poetry, I never know what I'm going to say.
I don't plan it.
When I'm outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.