Sunday, April 8, 2007

Layla and Majnun

In an attempt to keep some of my sanity (shut up!) I've been making an effort to do some reading for pleasure outside of my classroom studies. Recently I've been reading from Nizami's The Story of Layla and Majnun, which relates the legendary Arabic story of a boy named Qays who falls madly in love with a beautiful girl named Layla. And while Layla returns his love she is forbidden to be with him by her family. Unable to have Layla and unable (or unwilling) to let go of his love for her Qays in driven insane and becomes known as Majnun (madman). It is a brilliantly poetic story of a heartbreaking unrequited love which helped inspire Eric Clapton's "Layla" from the Derek and the Dominoes Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album (Clapton also set one of Nizami's verses to music as the song "I Am Yours" on the same album).

Many of the passages are incredibly moving and/or beautiful, especially for anyone who has found themselves in similar situations. I found the description of Qays love at first site to be particularly worth repeating:

"Whose heart would not have been filled with longing at the sight of this girl? But young Qays felt even more. He was drowned in the ocean of love before he knew there was such a thing. He had already given his heart to Layla before he understood what he was giving away... "

There are many more memorable passages, which I may share at a later date.


Intergalactic Stacey said...

This sounds like a beautiful, poetic and romantic love story. Thank you for bringing it into my awareness!

The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.