May Ziadeh’s ‘Green Hut’ in the Wood, Her Preface to a Favorite Book I Came Across

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These words just held me…I didn’t realize the book, translated as Smiles and Tears by May Ziadeh that I was reading in PDF form today was the book titled Memories or German Love, by F. Max Muller that I’d seen cited as a book she’d translated; I’ve read the book in English.

And I had my stationery and my pen with a similar warmth when in 2021, I’d first found her poetry book from 1911 in French, Flowers in a Dream, Fleurs de Reve. Here it is:

Preface by May Ziadeh:

I wanted to present the new edition with a word indicating how this book was Arabised and by explaining why I replaced its original name “Deutsche Liebe” with the name “Smiles and Tears,” which is known to Arabic readers, many of the most seasons. However, I can hardly remember the first translation until my surroundings begin to fade, and the pen falls.

From my hand I stare at the white paper as if it were a magical instrument that seduces the mediator and robs him of its secrets. It does not take long for a picture of the place whose sky shaded me at that time and whose voices resounded around me. The leaves rustle, the wings clap, and the birds sing on the branches.

Do not listen to the footsteps of those walking in the narrow red roads winding between the pine trees, ascending to a summit that overlooked the heights and depressions left and right, east and west. And look to the side at Sunin, the heaviest peaks of the waves around which the reflection of the rays, a gap of light, eased into the chest of space, with the complaining and groaning reached by the echoes of the strangers.

From its side, a series of round, rectangular, protruding hills emerge, and they remain decreasing and shrinking in harmony and knowledge until the remains of the rocks prostrate from them on the shore, as if the heights of Sannine carried out a letter to the sea to return the answer to it. And the sea, ah! See what that wavy blue says, smiles and tears.

Quietly and indulgently, as if it were a hammock of ether rocked by the hands of the gods of the air, to sleep within, a wondrous child who amazed the heavens with his beauty and fascinated the earth with his love?

Yes, here I am at the appearance of Shweir in Lebanon, that peaceful summer resort. We are in the midst of the heat and vacationers have flocked until homes and hotels narrowed them down. And the groups whose members differed in knowledge, politeness and elevation, and dissonance, habits, drinkers, and greed, they live under one roof, and they follow in the affairs of Jammah a single system that puts the guests all together.

People, and easy exercise in the methods of treatment and satisfaction. However, after the entertaining conversations, laughter, and solitude, I still feel a vast emptiness. Wondering what those remorseful, conspiring, backbiting know each other, I keep longing for solitude and solitude under the trees of little wood.

Therefore, I sought to build this narrow hut for me from twigs, and roofed with dry grass, and within it there was nothing but a seat and a table on which a few books were laid. Rather, my hut was called the “Green Hut” because I covered its walls from the inside with green fabric, except for the verdant fawns that yearned for him, and the tender green staring at him from all sides. 

Here I got acquainted with Max Muller and his beautiful book. I got to know him in solitude because great souls shrink in ordinary gatherings and only show fully in solitude. 

For anyone who was willing to receive the splendor of the iceberg, I started studying German in Cairo during the winter, but only twenty years of it, A lesson or a little more.

And when I had not supplied myself with books before I left, I added to my bag only a German book, this book, “German Love.” He was chosen because the Prussian lady who I was tutored in her remembrance praised the style of Maxmuller and saturated in thought and knowledge his ease and grace. Especially scientists and philosophers. 

I started browsing the book in the solitude of the “Green Hut,” and I didn’t even finish the first chapter. His poetic and philosophical spirit possessed me and inflamed my mind, so I was able to grasp the general meaning an introduction although I missed the meaning of the vocabulary a lot.

I only came to him and promised to review his reading several times until I rejoiced in his individual merits, and from my palace in Arabic, in which I published an article.

I used a pen and stationery to draw in my language these wonderful lines, and if I had the ability of Mix Muller’s intellectual and construction, I would not have revealed the movements of the soul, except them. 

One of the writers told me when I published “Smiles and Tears” in the trail of “Al Mahrousa” (newspaper) the following winter, he said: “I ask myself when I read the Al Mahrousa, rather, what we readers feel. How can we not judge him (main character) by that when he is the ignorant stranger, the secrets of our hearts, he has learned our secrets and has revealed them to us and to the worlds. And the book Smiles and Tears like this is a verse of magic and ingenuity, which is not limited to description, but rather: It is an inspiration landing for sensitive souls.

It was in the summer of 1911 and with me, it was ‘the girl’s first awakening’, her silent inquiry about cosmic, urban, and spiritual issues, her attentive, eager admiration for interest and enthusiasm, as well as her shyness, confusion, and hesitation.

And I was gloomy. I was depressed for no reason, and depressed for the motive factors of the meeting, which preoccupied me with them in the daytime. 

(Depression is the conclusion of a person’s feeling about beauty and ugliness, good and evil, justice and injustice, hate and love, victory and betrayal. To it ends the movements of affection in all the folds of the soul, that there is nothing behind it but the vague, the unknown and the complete darkness. 

Is it the result of a person’s feeling of weakness about the power of the world, and his inability to divert things from their course? It may be. But the reality is that sighing and complying is the end of every emotion and every thought, just as every human life is…)

It ends by sending a sigh and separating the eyelids. Before that I was walking, not turning away from anything, if my eyes fell on a person, or if my hearing knocked.

I looked at this topic and that look of superficial intelligence. As from there, I began to ask myself questions stemming from my ignorance thirsting for water: Who am I? What is my position in the world? Why do some conversations bother me, and some faces anger me, while I feel comfortable with others?

smiles and tears or German love Composed by Friedrich Mex Muller

Translation by Mai Ziadeh

Dedication

(To the eyes that I applied them to death before I cursed them.) To the smile that I know only her imagination. To the sweet name that my lips do not whisper without tears in my eyes. To the child who left to his Creator and completes the sentiment of brotherly love in me, so deprived am I of the brother’s tenderness, kisses, smiles and tears: To my only brother who shared the ether and riches.

by Mai

I can hardly remember the first translation until I am quietly and indulgently, as if it were a hammock of ether rocked by the agreement between the gods of fate, fascinated by the reversal of time and distance, an unmoving fluid, or undulating waves that carry me from my current to the world where I do not know; The life of a weak, naive humanity, a humanity that is ignorant of the purpose of its movement and existence, and does not cease to yearn for the purpose of claiming to be surrounded by it.

In fact, you don’t know what it is! as the vital force created a golden, auspicious, aetheric dust, emanating from the sea and the mountain, and all beings, and as a temple of nature, a warm and humble worship, as the worship of religious people, poets, and devotees, those who sanctify life outside their persons, and confined to a god, or a symbol, or a human being, and as tears filled my eyes, thanks to life, thanks to nature, thanks to all beings, thank them for this cry between the lines of his hope…

And smile, love, death and infinity. I think I said at the beginning of this speech that the pen fell from my hand, and that was what. Here is the pen: It runs on in the newspapers, little if not little, for those hours in turn, moving pictures follow on the stage cover,

and the words are nothing but pantomimes of the reality they express. However, the soul keeps them as precious treasures because they are of great importance in one’s spiritual and intellectual development.

“German Love” No, this book is not only German love, but rather it is a summary of human traits and expressions, so I called it “Smiles and Tears.” If that was a fake, the idea of ​​the author should be respected by each translator, as it is true in terms of my own conviction, or the image that was drawn from him in myself.

The brochure spread and its copy almost ran out three or four years ago, so its printing prevented my belief in the necessity of re-translation, because I saw with pleasure that I did not leave the book except that it was almost ashamed and worse for me, because I neglected a variety of beautiful ideas and meaning, Alraiq which may not be overlooked. 

And now I dedicate to you, reader, this new edition I am trying to highlight into Arabic, in its simple poetic form devoid of strange metaphors smiles and tears and oriental stylization. And the words that the author used the most, such as “I tried,” “I thought,” “my soul,” “my soul,” and “my heart.” All these and other terms I put in their places because they are necessary for the language of remembrance.

And you will love this book, whether you are a teacher or a learner, a philosopher or a poet, a politician or a merchant, happy or miserable, old or young. You will unite with them, invoking your past, or thinking about your present, or anticipating your future. It is sufficient to awaken in you the sweet and bitter memories of the surprises of love, life, death, smiles and tears, which are a legacy for All human beings.

by May Ziadeh

(from Archive.org, an open source file)

parenthesis in passage: I am not sure of meaning

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I’d called it “a seaside poetry cove” when I was reading May’s book.

I wrote a few lines of a reflective review in January when I’d read the English translation of this same book May writes about, Memories by F Muller.

My review:

If asked, I would advise myself to read this book for solace and wisdom…

…The little nourishing slice I’d felt like I was given I could unwrap and taste for myself for the moment lingers more fathomably reading this book, and it sets my treasures in life securely where I would have them…

Jade

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