Friday, June 30, 2006


Do you remember that I was puzzled not long ago by the praise of booze in Gertrude Bell's translations of a great Muslim poet? According to Wikipedia:

The work of Hafez is inspired by the Sufi teachings of his time, in which the love of youths and the drinking of (forbidden) wine are metaphors for ecstatic religious states that cannot be otherwise described.
Well I never!

(I've also noticed on rereading that Bell's translations cleave to iambic pentameter the classic meter of English poetry which reminded me in turn of the youth fixation of the early Shakespeare sonnets, so "nothing new under the sun" then.)

Anyway speaking of drinking while looking at youths, we're shutting up shop early today to get to the pub to watch Germany versus Argentina in the World Cup. (We haven't had a war with either of them for ages.)

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