Persian Poetry is an abiding cultural treasure with timeless relevance and popularity.

The Persian language, Farsi, is considered to be a language made for poetry. The rise to prominence dates back thousands of years to the 10th century but was inspired by themes emerging centuries earlier.

Prominent Japanese Iranologist Emiko Okada, Ph.D. in Persian Literature from the University of Tehran has called Iran “The land of poetry and literature”.

Iranians and descendants of other modern-day countries of the Persian empire hold dear the works of their ancient poets and significant role of Persian poetry in preserving ethnic traditions, customs, legends and folklore. People of Iran live with poetry. Books of the revered poetry are found in most Iranian homes. “Reading aloud and memorizing poetry is an enjoyable pastime and part of the daily life of Iranian people” says Okada. The treasured works are passed on to future generations as families, especially the elders, read and recite Persian poetry to their children.

The works of the great masters are in integral inclusion in the annual traditional celebrations of the Persian culture. During Shab-e-Yalda  the people gather together, reading the ancient poetry of the masters such as Hafez. The Haft-Sin table of the  Nowruz celebration of the New Year and Spring are adorned with items of cultural significance including a book of ancient Persian poetry.  Lyrics and themes of contemporary songs include passages from this enduring poetry.

The National Day of Persian Poetry and Literature is observed every year on the death anniversary of contemporary poet Tabrizi . Magnificent tombs and sculptures pay homage these masterful, mystical poets as travelers from near and very far come to connect with wisdom, guidance and inspiration of the classical Persian poets.

Although various poetic styles are attributed to particular poets the sentiments expressed included themes of the human need for joy, love and unrequited love, humanity, philosophy related to wisdom, introspection, the  meaning and the inherent angst of life, the beauty of the natural world,  and heroism to name a few.

Hafez and Rumi wrote in the lyrical (Ghazal) which uses mystical Sufi mystics concepts expressing that one can grow closer to God through His remembrance and working on the inner self.

Persian poetry statue of Ferdowsi

Hafez is considered by many to be Persia’s greatest lyrical poet and is regarded as Iran’s national poet. His collected works are regarded by many Iranians as a pinnacle of Persian literature. His work is known for expressing love, spirituality, and protest.

The Story Of Existence

“We are not in pursuit of formalities or fake religious laws,
For through the stairway of existence we have come to God’s door.
We are people who need to love, because love is the soul’s life,
Love is simply creation’s greatest joy.
Through The stairway of existence, O, through the stairway of existence, Hafiz
Have you now come, have we all now come to the beloved’s door.”

Persian poetry statue of Ferdowsi

Rumi A mystical Sufi, is the bestselling poet in the USA. His work influenced the great literature of humanity, philosophy, and religion “He’s a poet of joy and of love,” separation from love, the source of creation, facing death.

Seven Advices

 

“In compassion and grace, be like the sun…
In concealing others faults, be like the night
In generosity and helping others, be like a river
In anger and fury, be like dead
In modesty and humility, be like the earth
In tolerance, be like the sea
Either appear as you are, or be as you appear”

Persian poetry statue of Ferdowsi

Omar Khayyam Along with Rumi, is the best-known Persian poet in the West. Khayyam utilized the quatrain (Rubai) poetic style consisting of 4 lines. A collection of these poems titled the  Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam or simply “Rubaiyat”, the title given by Edward Fitzgerald to his collection of translations into English of ruba’i by Omar Khayyam.

Rubaiyat Verse – Enjoy

“Khayyam, if you are intoxicated with wine, enjoy!
If you are seated with a lover of thine, enjoy!
In the end, the Void the whole world employ
Imagine thou art not, while waiting in line, enjoy!

Persian poetry statue of Ferdowsi

Ferdowsi wrote in the epic style of poetry.  Ferdowsi is celebrated as one of the most influential figures of Persian literature and one of the greatest in the history Literature Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (the book of kings  or The Epic of Kings), a poem about the heroes of Ancient Persia, was written over the course of 30 years is and one of the definitive classics of the world .

Excerpt from Shahnameh

“I have reached the end of this great history
And all the land will fill with talk of me
I shall not die, these seeds I’ve sown will save
My name and reputation from the grave
And men of sense and wisdom will proclaim
When I have gone, my praises and my fame.”

Persian poetry statue of Ferdowsi

Rudaki is regarded as the first great literary genius of modern Persian and the founder of Persian classical literature. Rudaki is called “the father of Persian poetry” and is credited with making enormous contributions to modern Persian language.

Shahid’s Caravan

Shahid’s caravan left before ours.
Believe me, ours will also leave.
Count the eyes, there is one pair less,
Measure the wisdom, thousands less.
Reap all that enriches your soul
Before death comes to bind your legs.
All you have struggled to find, you must not lose easily.
Profit turns friend into stranger.
Pay him less to ward off that day.
No wolf is as fierce as a lion.
The sparrow’s cry does not reach the hawk.