Thursday, March 17, 2016

Arabia deserta -- resarta

Poking around  among the poems of Kipling,  I was astonished to stumble upon this:

Azrael's Count

Lo! The Wild Cow of the Desert, her yeanling estrayed from her --
Lost in the wind-plaited sand-dunes -- athirst in the maze of them.
Hot-foot she follows those foot-prints -- the thrice-tangled ways of them.
Her soul is shut save to one thing -- the love-quest consuming her
Fearless she lows past the camp, our fires affright her not.
Ranges she close to the to the tethered ones -- the mares by the lances held.
Noses she softly apart the veil in the women's tent.

Kipling is the bard of the British lands  from India through Afghanistan;  and peppers his poems with Hindi-isms, and slang from the pukkah-sahib.  But now this seems a straight translation -- nay, almost a calque -- from the pre-Islamic Arabic.

I have, in this age, tried my hand at much the same thing.  Sample here:

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