You never know how people are going to find your work, and you never know how it’s going to touch them or why. Earlier this month, a man contacted me asking for a copy of the uncorrected proof of my Selections from Saadi’s Gulistan, which I make available through my website to anyone who asks for it. All I ask in return is that they tell me a little bit about why they want it and how they intend to use it. I’ve gotten these requests from a wide range of people, including graduate students in Iran who are working on their MA in translation studies to people, a scholar in Russia who was preparing a multilingual anthology of selected works of classical Iranian literature, and several people from India who were studying Sa’di for their own purposes and preferred my translation to the ones that were available in their country.
The most touching request for a copy of this PDF, however, came this month from a man who, as he wrote, “happened upon [My Companion’s Scent Seeped Into Me] while reading The Male Privilege Checklist on Alas! A Blog.” I featured that poem on my blog on June 27th. Here it is again:
I held in my bath a perfumed piece of clay
that came to me from a beloved’s hand.
I asked it, “Are you musk or ambergris?
Like fine wine, your smell intoxicates me.”
“I was,” it said, “a loathsome lump of clay
till someone set me down beside a rose.
Then my companion’s scent seeped into me.
Otherwise, I am only the earth that I am.
That poem, he went on, “is a reflection of what happened to me.
I am a 46 year old male. I have recently been reunited with my ex-wife who I hadn’t spoken with for over twenty years. It has been a wonderful experience of learning and enlightenment thus far. She gave me a book to read by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements which has had a profound impact on my life and the way I live it. It is a book of wisdom. I would like to reciprocate by sharing this with her.
To know that my book has been a part of the experience this man describes–well, I can’t think of a better reason to write.
If you’d like to read this week’s “Sa’di Says,” it’s called “Creation Kills What It Was Made to Love.”
As usual, I’d love to know what you think.