The German Summerschool has wonderful translators. I was lucky to have Fatima Be from Zurich, who brought the stories and poems to life in a seamless way. This is the afternoon class I gave for a week, covering the lives and stories of the 7th century women in the household of Prophet Muhammad.
As-salaamu alaykum, rufen sie
und laufen neben dem Kamel her,
Staedter, seine Familie, ausgehungert nach Muhammads
Heimkehr aus der Schlacht! Als sein Kamel strauchelt,
gleitet die Frau aus dem Umhang des Propheten….
They run alongside the camel, hungry
for Muhammad home from the rout;
townspeople, his family all shouting,
as-salaamu alaykum! When his animal stumbles,
the woman rolls out of the Prophet’s mantle….
During the week of the Summerschool, Natalia sat with the 12 or so Russian speakers and translated all the English into Russian for the classes. She is married to Murshid Saadi and lives in Edinburgh. The number of languages was impressive, as were the variety of countries represented. Prem and Sally were the farthest… New Zealand. Tanzilla is a Bosnian Cultural Muslim.. Gulsina, from Perm, Russia, is a history professor at the university there, in the Urals.
With Summerschool over, we are in the beautiful East German countryside outside Berlin. Nesting storks in the village. We are staying with Rahmana-Rahima in an old parish house next to a cathedral that dates from the beginning of the eighteen hundreds.
It has an immense garden full of apple trees and fruiting cherries that opens into the fields.
Shabda and I are preparing to go to Berlin tomorrow and Marrakech, Morocco on Tuesday, where I’ll present poetry at a large Sufi Conference next weekend.
Germany is beautiful, sunsets are after 10:30 PM, and the language still mystifies me!