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Words, Words, Words

A catalog of my comments and thoughts on books, reading, and writing as well as anything I come across that seems interesting. I used to sell other people's words at an independent bookstore but now I hope to get by on selling my own.

On Translation

Crow with No Mouth (Old Edition) - Stephen Berg

I was turned on to the 15th century poet an Zen master Ikkyū by the writer Peter Matthiessen, author of The Snow Leopard and a practitioner of Zen himself. When he died in 2014 the Paris Review (which he helped found) printed an Ikkyū quote from one of his books with his obituary. I was struck by the quote and have incorporated it into my own life:

"Having no destination, I am never lost"

I used it recently in my employee profile at a new job and decided to look further into the original poet. I took out the only book they have at the Free Library and on the first page came across this couplet:

"if there's nowhere to rest at the end

how can I get lost on the way?"

It is terribly obvious that translations will differ, and this is hardly the most striking example but it stuck with me all week and now I have to learn Japanese so I can understand the original. It will go on the queue with Italian, French, Russian, Spanish, and ancient Greek and Roman. I must know!