Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sohrab and Rustum

I finished reading "The Kite Runner" last night but I don't want to comment on its merits and demerits here as that is a discussion for another venue.

Something I do want to remember though is the way a couple of nooks and crannies in the book were illuminated by the meanderings upon which the blog has taken me.

Stories of Mullah Nasrudin featured, as did nihari, and I was interested to see the state's encouragement of children to spy and report on their parents - subject of a recent rant of mine - used to illustrate the depravity of the Russian imposed Afghan regime.

The tragic story of Sohrab and Rustum also plays a central part in the book's story arc. I was pleased and surprised to find that I knew it already as I had studied Matthew Arnold's poem in the classroom as a boy. (Perhaps my lamentable state of education is more related to my being jaded when I was in school than to the school itself?).

There is a an annotated version of the poem at "Sohrab and Rustum: An Episode" (1853) which might be of interest to other Kite Runner readers.

He spoke; and Sohrab smiled on him, and took
The spear, and drew it from his side, and eased
His wound's imperious anguish; but the blood
Came welling from the open gash, and life
Flowed with the stream: all down his cold white side
The crimson torrent ran, dim now and soiled,
Like the soiled tissue of white violets
Left, freshly gathered, on their native bank,
By children whom their nurses call with haste
Indoors from the sun's eye; his head drooped low,
His limbs grew slack; motionless, white, he lay--
White, with eyes closed; only when heavy gasps,
Deep, heavy gasps, quivering through all his frame,
Convulsed him back to life, he opened them,
And fixed them feebly on his father's face;
Till now all strength was ebbed, and from his limbs
Unwillingly the spirit fled away,
Regretting the warm mansion which it left,
And youth, and bloom, and this delightful world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The film "the kite runner" is soon to be released later this year.