re: source of "Who Says Words With My Mouth"

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Howard Olivier

Nov 16, 2023, 2:31:35 PM11/16/23
to Dar-al-Masnavi
Dear Dr. Gamard,
I apologize for starting a new thread for this; I tried to find the original one and have been thwarted. I know you had a Persian version of the source poem, and a friend located an Entlish translation of the non-Rumi poem which COleman Barks included as the first poem in 'The Essentail Rumi'. You may already have this, but on the chance you don't

with deep gratitude,

I cannot say who it is I am.
        I am amazed, I am amazed!
I cannot call this self “myself”.
        I am amazed, I am amazed!
Who is in my eyes seeing?
who is in my heart enduring?
who is inhaling and exhaling?
        I am amazed, I am amazed!

Who is speaking with my tongue?
Who is listening with my ears?
Who is understanding with my mind?
        I am amazed, I am amazed!

Who is stepping with these feet?
Who is tasting with my mouth?
Who is chewing and who swallowing?
        I am amazed, I am amazed!

and so forth

Seyyid Seyfullah Nizamoglu (16th. Century)

from “Quarreling with God”



Nov 16, 2023, 3:10:58 PM11/16/23
to Dar-al-Masnavi
Dear Howard,

I do not think that the poem you submitted is the source of the first poem in Barks' Essential Rumi ("All day I think about it..."). 
First, the poem that Barks modified is from a book published in Iran (that Barks called the "Safa Anthology") that was presumably owned by 
Barks' Iranian friend John Moyne (now deceased), who presumably translated this poem for Barks to modify (a favor that Moyne did for Barks' earliest versions). By the way, 
Barks has never shared the initial translations from Persian done for him by Moyne (Javād Mu'īn]). Second, the poem you submitted wa composed in Turkish
by a Turkish Sufi poet. And third, the theme of the poem that you submitted is, Who is seeing, breathing, stepping..."—whereas the theme of Barks' version is
somewhat different.


Howard Olivier

Nov 17, 2023, 2:10:49 AM11/17/23
Thank you, Dr. Gamard.
I have much to learn, and I'm grateful for your patient explanations and information.
It seemed like a good fit at first and I now see clearly that you are right.
Again, thank you.


Howard Olivier
208.850.4170- cell


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