Sunday, March 5, 2017

Carpe Diem #1167 The Dancer

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of CDHK. As you all have noticed I didn't publish this weekend. That's my own choice to find some time for myself. I however had a difficult weekend, because I like creating CDHK and it felt like I was amputated this weekend, but ... I know it's better for me to take the weekends off. I hope you will understand that. After all ... I just have to say ... I liked having a weekend off. Please let me know if you are okay with this new structure of CDHK.

Today I have a wonderful poem by one of Persia's best poets ever. He lived in the medieval times and was not only a great poet, but also a great philosopher. Today I love to share a poem by Saadi (1203-1292).

Let me tell you a little bit more about Saadi:

Abū-Muhammad Muslih al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, better known by his pen-name Saadi, also known as Saadi of Shiraz, was one of the major Persian poets and literary men of the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but has been quoted in western sources as well. He is recognized for the quality of his writings and for the depth of his social and moral thoughts. Saadi is widely recognized as one of the greatest poets of the classical literary tradition, earning him the nickname "Master of Speech" or "The Master" among Persian scholars..

The poem of today is extracted from the first book of poetry written by Saadi, Bustan, the orchard. Bustan is a book of poetry by the Persian poet Saadi, completed in 1257 and dedicated to the Salghurid Atabeg Sa'd I or Sa'd II. It was Saadi's first work, and its title means "the orchard". The book contains the fruits of Saadi's long experience and his judgments upon life, and is illustrated by a vast collection of anecdotes. It includes accounts of Saadi's travels and his analysis of human psychology. He often mentions his accounts with fervor and advice similar to Aesop's fables.

As I was preparing this episode and saw the title of this poem by Saadi I first thought it was about the swirling Sufi dancers, but it turned out that it was about just a pair of youngsters dancing.

Persian dancers
Dancing is a joy and its origins are found on several places, but the most beautiful origin I think is that humankind watched at nature and saw how animals and especially birds were courting. 

The poem of today describes that "courting" in a particular way.

The Dancer

I heard how, to the beat of some quick tune,
There rose and danced a Damsel like the moon,
Flower-mouthed and Pâri-faced; and all around her
Neck-stretching Lovers gathered close; but, soon

A flickering lamp-flame caught her skirt, and set
Fire to the flying gauze. Fear did beget
Trouble in that light heart! She cried amain.
Quoth one among her worshipers, "Why fret,

Tulip of Love? Th' extinguished fire hath burned
Only one leaf of thee; but I am turned
To ashes--leaf and stalk, and flower and root--
By lamp-flash of thine eyes!"--"Ah, Soul concerned

"Solely with self!"--she answered, laughing low,
"If thou wert Lover thou hadst not said so.
Who speaks of the Belov'd's woe is not his
Speaks infidelity, true Lovers know!"

© Saadi (c. 1213-1291)(Tr. Edwin Arnold)

courting swans (photo found on Pinterest)

I think is a wonderful poem and it can be a source of inspiration, maybe for this specific poem a tanka will fit, because tanka is known as the love poem. So maybe I can challenge you to create a tanka inspired from this poem.

shadows on the wall
her skirt as thin as silk
moves by itself
she teases him to come and play
arouses his senses and flies away

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this wonderful poem by Saadi and I hope it will inspire you to create tanka (or haiku).

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 10th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, flute, later on.


  1. I like your tanka a lot Kristjaan! I imagine the butterfly ... teasing ... and I love butterflies ... especially the blue :)
    I like it more than Saadis :)

    1. Thanks Birgitta. I am not a great tanka-poet, but I like to challenge myself. This one was very succesful I would say (how immodest :-))

  2. You are great tanka-poet. This one is wonderful!