Kabir c. When a friend told me about the Iraq war protest, I composed an anthology Peace Be With You including 52 poets on peace. I selected five Kabir peace poems. Legend has it that Kabir lived to years of age. When a monk asked "During the 24 hours, how is mind put to use? Which of these 'times' are you talking about?
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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — The Kabir Book by Kabir. Robert Bly Translator. John Stratton Hawley Afterward. Forty-four of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir "Kabir's poems give off a marvelous radiant intensity.
Bly's versions. Get A Copy. Paperback , 71 pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about The Kabir Book , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 22, Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing Shelves: religion , spirituality , philosophy , poetry. Not all that long ago, in another review, I wrote that I preferred the Rabindranath Tagore translation to this one. I take it back. I was a fool to say so. I chose Tagore because—in philosophical seriousness and bibilical gravity—I imagine his translation more closely reflects the original.
But, knowing nothing of the language, who am I to say? Besides, two Not all that long ago, in another review, I wrote that I preferred the Rabindranath Tagore translation to this one. No, the inescapable responsibility of the translator of poetry is to use his materials to create real poetry in his own language.
Here—and elsewhere, too, in his translations from the Spanish—Bly does this as well as any translator ever has. In addition, he creates a Kabir who speaks with an intense and immediate voice that transforms these spiritual insights into something both urgent and essential. The caller calls in a loud voice to the Holy One at dusk. Surely the Holy One is not deaf. He hears the delicate anklets that ring on the feet of an insect as it walks.
Go over and over your beads, paint werid designs on your forehead, wear your hair matted, long and ostentatious, but when deep inside you there is a loaded gun, how can you have God? Inside this clay jug there are canyons and pine mountains, and the maker of canyons and pine mountains! All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds and millions of stars.
The acid that tests gold is here, and the one who judges jewels. And the music from the strings no one touches, and the source of all water. If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth: Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside. Knowing nothing shuts the iron gates; the new love opens them. The sound of the gates opening wakens the beautiful woman asleep.
Kabir says: Fantastic! View 1 comment. What is it about ecstatic poetry by poets like Rumi that invites "translation" by people with no knowledge of the language in which the poetry was actually written? Why would a poet, who as a poet must be acutely aware of the need for precision in language, think that paraphrasing a translation of a translation of someone else's poem produces something worthy of publication?
I've seen this done by at least three different poets, all quite serious about their efforts. I guess this is the best one What is it about ecstatic poetry by poets like Rumi that invites "translation" by people with no knowledge of the language in which the poetry was actually written? I guess this is the best one so far, but still, I find it annoying. Robert Bly offers his "versions" of poems by Kabir, a 14th-century Sufi mystic and poet of Benares, India.
These "versions" are paraphrases of a Victorian English translation of a Bengali translation of poems written down at least a century after their composition, preserved by an oral tradition. The best part of this book is the afterward by John Stratton Hawley in which he discusses the difficulty of identifying Kabir's voice at all when the different extant written collections of his orally preserved compositions may not even contain more than one shared poem!
How does the poetry sound? Well, it sounds like Robert Bly of Iron John fame speaking in the voice of his idea of a 14th-century Indian mystic, and that's about what it is. It's like a Disneyland castle of spiritual insight.
You know what, though? I've always had a soft spot for Robert Bly, and I kind of liked his Kabir. So sue me. At least this book, between its forward by Bly himself and the more scholarly afterward, is more or less honest about its origins and limitations. That's in contrast to the last "translation" of Rumi I read, which was practically a hoax on a gullible public hungry for spirituality.
View 2 comments. Painfully, awfully, cripplingly awesome. I've been a fan of Bly for years, and of course he turns all of his translations into Robert Bly poems, but damn This book shames me and my own approach to writingeverything I try to say in words this book does in Sometimes I find a book I know I'll read about 30 times, and this is one of those booksit has given me so much joy, I am angry at it.
May 07, Joe rated it liked it Shelves: poetry. Picked this up at random at a used book store that specializes in the occult and other such flim-flammery following my policy of occasionally doing this. Kabir insists on a present, erotic divinity. This is a challenging conception of things, and the book is best when moving between this vital recognition and acknowledging the difficulty of following the path that such a recognition outlines--invitation and warning. Bly's translation, I Picked this up at random at a used book store that specializes in the occult and other such flim-flammery following my policy of occasionally doing this.
It's not that it's too "plain" but that there's no music to it--it's rhythmically flat. It'd be interesting to read a translation of this that's more idiomatic and draws on a fuller range of language. Either way, at 44 poems it's a quick read and an engaging though as I understand it, idiosyncratic entry point to Sufi thought. And, you know, reading Rumi is beat. Sep 17, Chiththarthan Nagarajan rated it really liked it. I asked myself, after reading this book. Did I miss anything special in my life?
Answer is Yes and No. I didn't read the 14th century heart-melting soulful words. And that "No" is just a lie. Kabir gives a mundane question with a complication in an air, but the answers were coloured with an essence of soul. What is god?
He is the breath inside the breath P. Why you should read this book? What is inside me moves inside you. Feb 13, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , poetry , romance , philosophy.
Knowing nothing shuts the iron gates; the new love opens them The sound of the gates opening wakes the beautiful woman asleep.
Don't let a chance like this go by! Jun 28, Mark Gonzalez rated it it was amazing.
The Kabir Book: Forty-Four of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir
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“Kabir: Ecstatic Poems” translated by Robert Bly
Robert Bly lives on a farm in his native state of Minnesota. Since publication of Iron John: A Book About Men , a response to the women's movement, Bly has been immensely popular, appearing on talk shows and advising men to retrieve their primitive masculinity through wildness. His magazines have been the center of a poetic movement involving the poets Donald Hall, Louis Simpson, and James Wright. Kabir : Ecstatic Poems.