The magic and allure of Persian poetry

There is something truly magnificent about poetry and literature in any language. You could say that poetry is language in its most exalted form, where every imaginable and unfathomable protentional of words is dragged and exposed. There is something magical about words and poetry has the capacity to exert mastery over that magic, not to tame it, no, but the exact opposite: to give it the space and the purpose to be. unleash and break free.

With Persian, I have always found this magical aspect more powerful and present. Maybe it’s the bias that speaks here (after all, you can never ignore the influence of the language you grew up with and made your first sentences with), or maybe, judging by the reaction. ardent of many personalities with Persian poetry like those of Molana Rumi or Khayyam, there is an element of objective truth in the feeling. In any case, Persian poetry, for me, has always been a great selling point in convincing foreigners to start learning the language, no matter how difficult it may seem at first due to the different systems of learning. writing. After all, few souls would fail to soar and vibrate with fear and longing upon hearing this line:

“یاد می آرم نمی مانم”

“Thoughts of you leave nothing of me.” – Saadi, 13th century Persian poet

And that’s our classic poetry. But it rings so close and so intimate in our hearts today as if there is no 900 year distance between the two. This is the magic of Saadi. The magic of poetry.

Persian poetry has a very special place in the hearts of Iranians. Many of our most common proverbs are in fact taken from classical poetry (“آواز دهل شنیدن از دور خوش است”, literally meaning “the sound of the drum sounds better from afar” and close to “blue are the hills which are far far away Is a very popular Persian proverb and is, in fact, a line from a poem by Khayyam.) Our love for poetry goes so far that many Iranians even try to get spiritual advice from it. The tradition of fal-e Hafez, which uses Hafez’s poems for divination, is well practiced in many homes, especially on special nights such as New Years or Yalda Night, a festival celebrated on the ‘night of the night. longest and darkest of the year. “

It is for this great love and attachment to poetry that September 18 was later named on the Iranian calendar as the National Persian Poetry Day, coinciding with the anniversary of the death of Iranian poet Mohammad Hossein Behjat Tabrizi ( 1906-1988), who is mainly known by his pen name as Shahriar.

Shahriar is best known for writing in both Azeri and Persian. In fact, he is considered to be one of the first Azerbaijanis in Iran to write an important collection of poetry in the Azeri language. His most famous work Heydar Babaya Salam (1954) is in fact popular among Azeri speaking people and has been translated into over 30 languages. Much of his poetry is linked to tragic themes and he drew heavily on Hafez and Ferdowsi.

The National Persian Poetry Day gave me a good opportunity to talk about Persian poetry. Here is a list of some of the most influential Persian poets and their contributions to keeping the Persian language alive and flourishing. You may also recognize some of them.

Ferdowsi (c.940-1020)

Abul-Qasem Ferdowsi Tusi is the author of Shahnameh (“Book of Kings”), which is one of the world’s longest epic poems created by a single poet, and the national epic of Greater Iran, containing many tales amazing stories about Persian mythical heroes such as Rostam. Ferdowsi is celebrated as the most influential figure in Persian literature and one of the greatest in the history of literature. Many believe that the reason why the modern Persian language today is more or less what it was over 1000 years ago is because of Shahnameh and its enduring linguistic influence.

April 14 is celebrated as Ferdowsi Day in Iran.

Tomb of Ferdowsi in Tus, Iran

Hafez (1315-1390)

Khwaja Shams-od-Din Mohammad Hafez-e Shirazi, known by his pen name Hafez, is considered by many Iranians to be a major figure who has greatly inspired much of Persian literature. His poetry book is found in almost every Persian-speaking home, and many of his verses had become popular proverbs. He is also credited with influencing Persian writing after the 14th century more than any other author. His poems are used for divination, in traditional Persian music, visual arts, and Persian calligraphy.

October 11 is celebrated as Hafez Day in Iran.

The magic and allure of Persian poetry
Rose and Nightingale on the binding of a divan by Hafez (1842)

Saadi (1210 – 1291 or 1292)

Abu-Mohammad Muslih al-Din bin Abdollah, better known by his pseudonym Saadi, was born in Shiraz and was a great Persian poet and prose writer of the medieval period. His mastery of the language is undisputed, and the quality of his writings has earned him the title of “Master of the Word” among Iranians. The most magical element of Saadi’s poetry is how simple it seems at first, but in fact, how the meaning and beauty of it crosses the lines. Anyone can read Saadi and learn something from it, while scholars will delve into the many layers of meaning and expose the true beauty of every word and line.

Bani Adam (meaning “Children of Adam”) is one of his most famous poems, inscribed on a large handmade rug installed in 2005 on the wall of a meeting room in the United Nations building in New York. York. The poem emphasizes the unity of humanity, regardless of social barriers and labels.

April 20 is celebrated as Saadi Day in Iran.

The magic and allure of Persian poetry
“Bani Adam” by Saadi on a Persian carpet decorating the wall of a meeting room at the UN

Molana ‘Rumi’ (1207 – 1273)

Jalal ad-Din Mohammad Rumi, better known in Iran as Molana / Molavai (“our master / my master”) and in the world as Rumi, was a 13th century Persian poet, Islamic scholar, a theologian and a Sufi mystic from Grand Khorasan in Greater Iran. Rumi’s influence transcends national borders and ethnic divisions: Iranians, Tajiks, Turks, Greeks, Pashtuns, other Muslims in Central Asia and Muslims in the Indian subcontinent have greatly appreciated his spiritual heritage over the past seven centuries. His poems have been widely translated into many languages ​​of the world. Translations of his works are very popular, especially in Turkey, Azerbaijan, the United States (in fact, the most popular poet there) and South Asia. He is described as “a poet of joy and love”.

September 29 is celebrated as Molana Day in Iran.

Khayyam (1048 – 1131)

Born in Nishabur in northeastern Iran, Omar Khayyam was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and poet. As an astronomer, he designed the Jalali calendar, a solar calendar with a very precise 33-year intercalation cycle. There is a tradition of attributing poetry to Omar Khayyam, written in the form of quatrains. This poetry became widely known in the English-speaking world in a translation by Edward FitzGerald (Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, 1859), published in several hundred editions since. Khayyam’s poetry is best known for advocating living life in the present and enjoying small blessings to the fullest.

April 17 is celebrated as Khayyam Day in Iran.

By: Marjohn Sheikhi

This is a republished report

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