Rumi — The Soul of Rumi (2001)

Very little grows on jagged

rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up
where you are. You’ve been

stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.


Rumi; Coleman Barks: The Soul of Rumi

translator: Coleman Barks

“Rumi’s masterpieces have inspired countless people throughout the centuries, and Coleman Barks’s exquisite renderings of the thirteenth-century Persian mystic are widely considered the definitive versions for our time.”

(see @ goodreads)
Folklore, Poetry

Milton, John: Paradise Lost


There are only so many places you can read or see or hear allusions to a classic work before you’ve got to read it for yourself, to grok the references. Frankenstein’s creature’s pitiful comparisons of himself to Milton’s Adam and Satan were the straw here. I’m glad I’ve already read Dante’s Commedia and some of the Greek and Roman epics; this would send me down those rabbit holes, too.

(see @ goodreads)
Humanities, Poetry

Lucretius: De rerum natura

ca 50 BCE

“…a 1st-century BC didactic poem by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius with the goal of explaining Epicurean philosophy to a Roman audience.” I’ve quoted from the William Ellery Leonard translation, available free at Project Gutenberg and elsewhere.

(see @ wikipedia)

Baudelaire, Charles: Les fleurs du mal


A provocative and often dark poetic work that got Baudelaire prosecuted for an ‘affront to public decency’ and six of its poems banned. I quoted from the essays in the back of the Larousse edition (which, sadly, is not bilingual, so I consulted for translations of the poems themselves).

(see @ wikipedia)

John Milton – Paradise Lost (1674)

…onely add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith,
Add Vertue, Patience, Temperance, add Love,
By name to come call’d Charitie, the soul
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A Paradise within thee, happier farr.