Inspired and Inspiring

May 10, 2021

Asian history, art, poetry, and tea, continue as we celebrate Asian Heritage Month. I have written about Kahlil Gibran, had read his poem aloud, “The Astronomer.” Maybe less known is a woman poet who inspired him and they became close through the letters they wrote each other even though they had not met in person—May Ziadeh. I was not able to find her poetry easily, but I did find one; it is beautiful and songlike.
She wrote in different languages including French, Italian, Arabic, and English; her first book was in French. And she was born exactly 100 years before me in February 1886! I enjoy looking at authors’ birthdays.
 
This poem in French, which she wrote under the pen name, Isis Copia, is from her book, Fleurs de Rêve (1911). 
 
I don’t speak French, but I tried finding some English translations and information. 
 
I will include both the original French poem and my translation in English.
 

To Miss C.

Your eyes are so beautiful, dear beauty,
That their gaze is torturous;
I love your name and I spell it,
Your murmuring flood of a name.
I am brunette and you are blonde,
This contrast is delicious,
A little of the depths of the wave

Mingles with the azure of the skies.
Because I am Night and you are Day,
a rose and blue day that sparkles;
Me, the lake; you, the shining star;
You, the dream, and I…I am love.

May Ziadeh 

(1911)

À Mademoiselle C.

Vos yeux si beaux, chère belle,
Que leur regard est torturant;
Votre nom je l’aime et l’épelle
Votre nom de flot murmurant.
Je suis brune et vous êtes blonde,
Ce contraste est délicieux,
Un peu des profondeurs de l’onde
Se mêle à l’azuré des cieux.
Car je suis la Nuit, vous le Jour,
Un Jour rose et bleu qui scintille;
Moi, le lac; vous, l’astre qui brille;
Vous, le rêve et moi… moi l’amour.

May Ziadeh 

(1911)

 
 

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