Friday, December 13, 2013

Contentment

A poem attributed to Ibn Sīnā
   [Arabic, 11th century]

In this world I find contentment 
   in a morsel of food, a modest garment, 
and a sip of water from a broken jug; 
   say then to the sons of this world: 
depose or appoint whomever you wish, 
   let me behold this from afar. 
For neither the king of this world,
   to whom they lowly pay tribute, 
nor even the mighty prince, 
   live happier than I do – if you knew! 
But he is one-eyed, half-blind, 
   whom greed has claimed as its prisoner. 

[my translation]

Source: Anthologie de textes poétiques attribués à Avicenne
ed. & tr. H. Jahien et A. Nourreddine (1960), p. 137.

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