Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Fear of God - Robert Frost

Bismillah. I'm currently listening to Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's Refinement of the Heart CD set. Masha'Allah, as Salik commented, "classic Shaykh Hamza!" Anyhow, he mentions the following poem by Robert Frost which is just beautiful!

The Fear of God

If you should rise from Nowhere up to Somewhere,
From being No one up to being Someone,
Be sure to keep repeating to yourself
You owe it to an arbitrary god
Whose mercy to you rather than to others
Won’t bear to critical examination.
Stay unassuming. If for lack of license
To wear the uniform of who you are,
You should be tempted to make up for it
In a subordinating look or toe,
Beware of coming too much to the surface
And using for apparel what was meant
To be the curtain of the inmost soul.

- Robert Frost

2 comments:

  1. Interestingly,
    Frost's first four verses: 'If you should rise from Nowhere up to Somewhere, From being No one up to being Someone..'
    - translate very close this Qawwali and the lyrics at the 4:25 mark:

    "... main kiya tha aur - mujay kiya banadiay Tu nay... "
    = "What was i (ie: nothing) - and what have You made me into (ie: Graced)"

    See:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgCAss7U2m8

    [Farid Ayaz, Abu Muhammad & Brothers/Ensemble (currently playing on PIA's in-flight prog.!)]

    Frost' fifth verse: 'Whose mercy to you rather than to others... '
    Is like the verse repeated in the Qawwal:
    "Karram kiya" = "Graced me You did"


    My Urdu if quite weak, so feel free to help me translate - but a few lines that caught me were:

    "... Jab saab Tera sajdah meh saraf karta hai..." @ 2:05
    (When everyone in Your Prostration - bows down)

    "... Tahwid ki maa'nay yahi kahtahay - Tabib... " - @ 2:15
    (Tawhid's meaning is this - says the Doctor (saw))

    "... ju Teray siway hai - voo Tera banta hai... " - @ 3:00
    (What/Who-ever is other than You - become Yours)

    "... main kiya tha aur - mujay kiya banadiay Tu nay... " - @ 4:25
    "What was i (ie: nothing) - and what have You made me into (ie: Graced)"

    "... yey banda niyazmand hai - aur Tu: beniyaz hain... " - @ 4:00
    "This worshiper or person is full of or in need of desires and You are without desire"

    [Alternately, this can be understood as - I am always in need of desires or things but You are not only in need of anything but the Grantor of those desires]

    - kuhlsnotes (aka: 'nameeman')

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  2. I put music to this beatiful poem of Robert Frost
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laif5YQxMpU

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