Common sense wisdom

Listen well to this point:
If you do not understand, others do. 

To argue with a poet is like making requests in the presence of kings
– if you take purgatives they will work excellently.

Do not weaken yourself with toil
use wiles against your enemies

Argue with poets
– there is a ban on bleeding.

Today’s prompt at was “to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response.

I searched on The Met and found folios from a compilation of poems assembled by the Persian intellectual and poet Muhammad ibn Badr al-Din Jajarmi, titled Mu’nis al-ahrar fi daqa’iq al-ash‘ar (Free Man’s Companion to the Subtleties of Poems).

I couldn’t find much about the poems when I searched the net, but luckily The Met gave extra info in their catalogue description. I’ve added the translation of the poems beneath the pictures.

Title: Folio from a Mu'nis al-ahrar fi daqa'iq al-ash'ar (The Free Man's Companion to the Subtleties of Poems) of Jajarmi
Author: Muhammad ibn Badr al-Din Jajarmi (Iranian, active 1340s)
Date: dated A.H. 741 / A.D. 1340–41
Geography: Made in Iran, Isfahan
Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Accession Number: 19.68.1 and 57.51.25

The text in Persian reads:

“O lofty in origin, if you wish to know clearly
In which of the signs of zodiac the Moon is,
Know first that every month the Sun enters a new sign.
For instance, if the Sun should be in the month of Aries,
And if the Moon is ten days old, add ten more to that.
When the doubling has been done, then add five more.
Listen well to this point: allow one sign for each five.
Begin from the sign in which the illustrious Sun is:
The Moon is in Virgo, if the calculation is done right.
Look well at this example I have given;
In whichever sign the Sun is, make this calculation,
And if you do not understand, others do. I make it brief.”

“If the Moon should be in Aries, put on new clothes,
exert yourself in being bled, hunting, enjoyment, and war.
Refrain from marriage and taking medicine.
Drink the cup of joy with military men.”

“With the Moon in Taurus, know that companionship is good.
It is good for you to start seeing women.
Construction goes well, and the making of compacts,
Making marriages, and entertainments for guests.”

“With the Moon in Gemini, partnerships, making marriages and journeys
Are good, if you do them, O you mine of jewels.
Have clothing cut, make your requests from men of the pen.
Do not take medicine and be sure to shun bleeding.”

“With the Moon in Cancer, it is proper to have clothes cut,
And if you take purgatives they will work excellently.
Buy jewels, travel on water, for that is good.
Send messengers wherever you need to.”

“The Moon is in Leo. Work with fire is good.
Make your requests in the presence of kings.
Lay foundations, be bled, and make compacts
And avoid sewing and wearing new clothes.”

“With the Moon in Virgo, writing and teaching are good,
Seeing scribes and astrological calculations.
Bleeding and travel and building are good.

“Make marriages, wear new clothes,” the wise man said.

“With the Moon in Libra, making marriages is good, and journeys,
The seeing of women and noble servants.
Donning new clothes and merriment are good,
And it is better to shun the making of pacts.”

“With the Moon in Scorpio, taking medicine is good,
To make war and use wiles against one’s enemies.
Stay at home. Do not travel. Do not put on new clothes.
It is good to plant new trees.”

“When the Moon comes to the sign of Sagittarius
Make your requests from judges and men of learning.
Buy slaves, make marriages, and visit the bath.
Do not take medicine or weaken yourself with toil.”

“When the Moon has come to Capricorn, hold entertainments.
Dig qanats and canals, if you are able.
Buy slaves and animals, if you have the money.
Toil to acquire learning; do not behave ignorantly.”

“With the Moon in Aquarius, if you have money,
Buy furnishings and goods and Indian slaves.
To see agents and sheikhs is good.
There is a ban on bleeding, hunting, marriage making and travel.”

(Translated by A. H. Morton in Swietochowski and Carboni, “Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images”. New York, 1994)

4 thoughts on “Common sense wisdom

  1. Manja Mexi Mexcessive

    Ahh, I wrote mine first before reading yours. So I didn’t know of the ban on bleeding. 😮 😉

    But seriously, imagine a month good to “Buy slaves, make marriages, and visit the bath.”


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