LitBirthdays September 3, 2010

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September 3

Mahjoor (Ghulam Ahmad) (born September 3, 1885) – Kashmiri poet Mahjoor

Read about Mahjoor here and here

Let the immanent soul dwell in you
Like light in a jewel, so that all barriers
Are removed that separate you from God.

You can’t remain enmeshed forever
In the world of sinuous curls !
Emerge from this enveloping darkness
And locate the fountainhead of beauty.

Better to be a short-lived flower, radiating charm,
Than a lasting thorn in the garden of life.

How did the lonesome raindrop become a pearl?
He plunged fearlessly from the clouds
Into the depths of the stormy sea.

Maybe you’ve mastered the mystical truth;
But where is that bowl of your heart’s blood
That you are supposed to drink?

God has endowed man with two talents –
The ability to live in a hole like a worm,
Or soar like a winged bird.

The world admires you now for perfect wisdom
If you can win people’s confidence,
And pass off glass beads as pearls !

The times have changed, for in the world
Of ever-growing challenge,
And science invading faith,
All religions have lost their hold.

Remember, Mahjoor ! Now he alone
Will acquire eminence, who dedicates his life
To the fulfillment of his desires.

COME GARDENER! (volo ha baaghvaano)

Come, gardener ! Create the glory of spring ! Make

Flowers bloom and nightingales sing – create such haunts !

The dew weeps, and your garden lies desolate;
Tearing their robes, your flowers are distracted.
Breathe life once again into the lifeless blossom and the bird !

Rank nettles hamper the growth of your roses.
Weed them out, for look — thousands
Of hyacinths are crowding at the gate !

Who will set you free, captive bird,
Crying in your cage ? Forge with your own hands
The instruments of your deliverance !

Wealth and pride and comfort, luxury and authority,
Kingship and governance – all these are yours !
Wake up, sleeper, and know these as yours.  I

Bid good-bye to your dulcet strains. To rouse
This abode of flowers, create a storm,
Let thunder rumble, – let there be an earthquake !

(adapted from the translations by Triloki Nath Raina at The Best of Mahjoor website)

Eduardo Galeano (born September 3, 1940) Uruguayan journalist, novelist, political activist – Open Veins of Latin America

Read the Wikipedia article about Eduardo Galeano

Read Richard Hoffman’s blog post about Eduardo Galeano

Watch Eduardo Galeano on Democracy Now!

Read an excerpt from Mirrors (2009)

Darwin told us we are cousins of the apes, not the angels. Later on, we learned we emerged from Africa’s jungle and that no stork ever carried us from Paris. And not long ago we discovered that our genes are almost identical to those of mice.

Now we can’t tell if we are God’s masterpiece or the devil’s bad joke. We puny humans:
exterminators of everything,
hunters of our own,
creators of the atom bomb, the hydrogen bomb, and the neutron bomb, which is the healthiest of all bombs since it vaporizes people and leaves objects intact,
we, the only animals who invent machines,
the only ones who live at the service of the machines they invent,
the only ones who devour their own home,
the only ones who poison the water they drink and the earth that feeds them,
the only ones capable of renting or selling themselves, or renting and selling their fellow humans,
the only ones who kill for fun,
the only ones who torture,
the only ones who rape.

And also
the only ones who laugh,
the only ones who daydream,
the ones who makes silk from the spit of a worm,
the ones who find beauty in rubbish,
the ones who discover colors beyond the rainbow,
the ones who furnish the voices of the world with new music,
and who create words so that
neither reality nor memory will be mute.

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