Contemplation - Abdulla Pashew's Search for the pearl of a soul

Courtesy of

Now's time for contemplation;
I inspect whatever is 
in the debris of my memory,
be it a battered notebook
a casket, or a shawl*

Just like a merchant,
I regret and I regret not
that I searched the shells of hundreds of bodies
to find the pearl of a single soul.

Pg. 137 Towards Twilight

Translation by Raber Y. Aziz

*There’s no mention of a shawl in the Kurdish version. I had to introduce it as one of the things the poet finds in the “debris of my memory” for the sake of rhyme and rhythm. But it does seem to be working one of the things he remembers about the people he had relationships with in search of a soul mate. It can mean either that he searched the souls of many but found only one “pearl” in all of them, that’s to say only one person captured his mind and heart, Or that he searched for a “pearl” (a soul mate) in many people but still did not find that pearl – a pearl, that he probably once loved, but did not attain.

I have also played around with the lines for that same purpose. This change is not only necessary for rhyming, but also for syntactic purposes. The line starting with "I Inspect" comes after the items inspected (the battered book, the casket, etc) in the Kurdish versions. English has an SVO (Subject Verb Object) structure. Kurdish has an SOV structure allowing the verb to come last. The English requires it to come right at the beginning before the items “inspected” are listed.

Abdulla Pashew is a prominent contemporary Kurdish poet. 


Post a Comment

Raber Y. Aziz (2015). Powered by Blogger.

Follow Kurdish Bookshelf Editor


Flag Counter

Follow by Email

Popular Posts