Forever Under Construction

Posted in Iran, Poetry by homeyra on June 19, 2009


Click picture

The seed of the word

Posted in Iran, Poetry by homeyra on April 9, 2009

“Magnificent Buildings will be destroyed
From rain and the radiation of the sun.”

“I founded a great palace of verse so high
That is impervious to the wind and the rain”

“Thus I won’t die that I am the eternal lord
As I’ve spread the seed of the word”


This Iranian new year was marked by the annual celebration, near Masjid-e Soleiman – south west of Iran, of the Iranian poet Ferdowsi (935-1020) and the Shahnameh,  the Epic of Kings, which  narration is an important feature in the Bakhtiari culture.




See also Classical Iranian Poetry: A Very Personal Introduction to Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh by Richard Jeffrey Newman

The Epic of Kings, English translation

Journal of Shahnameh studies

Previous posts: 1925, about the Bakhtiari tribe

Slide show of a Shahnameh narration

The address

Posted in Poetry by homeyra on March 31, 2009


At the first light of the dawn

Asked the pilgrim:

“Do you happen to know

the abode of The Beloved?”

The skies went silent
save their mourning clouds,
save their falling stars.

The passer gave up his glowing twig
to the gloom of the sands
and replied:

“Don’t you see that poplar tree?
Well, right before the tree,
There is lane that you’ll reckon, I deem.
For it is greener than a heavenly dream.
For it is generously shaded with the deep blues of love.
Well, If you See.

So walk down that lane
You’ll arrive to the garden of sense
Turn to the direction of the loner lake
Listen to the genuine hymn of leaves
Watch the eternal fountain
that flows from the spring of ancient myths
till you faint away in a plain fear.

And when a rigid noise clatter into the fluid intimacy of space
you’ll find a child
on the top of a tree,
next to the nest of awls
in hope of a golden egg.
Well, if you See.

You may be sure; the child’ll show you the way.
Well, If you just ask about
the abode of The Beloved.”

Sohrab Sepehri 1928-1980

Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani
Previous post: Let’s not muddy the water

Youtube at its best

Posted in Philosophy, Poetry, War on Terror by homeyra on February 15, 2009


Thanks Sophia for directing me toward Alain Badiou, and thanks 99 for this series of great links.

Here are 9 short videos: Alain Badiou debating with Cornel West. Although Badiou is much less mediatic than Zižek, you won’t be disappointed taking the time to hear it all.

An excerpt of Badiou’s talk (video 6, mn 3)

“[…] and we have to find a new way for peace. A peace which is not only the end of the war, but a peace, which is beyond the war itself.
You know today we have a question of what is really peace. Peace is not the contrary of war. Peace is something beyond the war, and the key is to be inside the truth, inside of the process of the truth, inside a new subject, to become a part of a new subject.
And so we have to be inside the truth and we have not to receive the truth from outside.
We have to be a part of the becoming of the new truth, of the new political subject, and not to receive passively from outside this subject.
And maybe this conception is more poetic than purely philosophic. I think the conception of incorporation to a new the truth, the conception of the possibility of something impossible, the conception to become something eternal in time itself, in the realm of the time, is for the moment a poetic conception.[…]”

Enemies of Spring

Posted in Iran, Poetry by homeyra on June 9, 2008

It’s time to mow the flowers,
don’t procrastinate.
Fetch the sickles, come,
don’t spare a single tulip in the fields.
The meadows are in bloom:
who has ever seen such insolence?
The grass is growing again:
step nowhere else but on its head.
Blossoms are opening on every branch,
exposing the happiness in their hearts:
such colorful exhibitions must be stopped.
Bring your scalpels to the meadow
to cut out the eyes of flowers.
So that none may see or desire,
let not a seeing eye remain.
I fear the narcissus is spreading its corruption:
stop its displays in a golden bowl
on a six-sided tray.
What is the use of your ax,
if not to chop down the elm tree?
In the maple’s branches
allow not a single bird a moment’s rest.
My poems and the wild mint
bear messages and perfumes.
Don’t let them create a riot with their wild singing.
My heart is greener than green,
flowers sprout from the mud and water of my being.
Don’t let me stand, if you are the enemies of Spring.

Simin Behbahani, A cup of sin

Translation: Farzaneh Milani, Kaveh Safa – h/t Naj

SomEwhere …

Posted in Poetry by homeyra on April 19, 2008

… in a kindergarten

Link via Balatarin

Not all that great

Not All That Great

Posted in Poetry by homeyra on March 30, 2008

The goods produced in the factories of space and time
are not all that great. Bring some wine,
because the desirables of this world are not all that great.

Heart and soul are born for ecstatic conversation
with the soul of souls. That’s it. If that fails,
heart and soul are not in the end that great.

Don’t become indebted to the Tuba and Sidra trees
just to have some shade in heaven. When you look closely,
my flowering cypress friend, you’ll see that these trees are not all
that great.

The true kingdom comes to you without any breaking
of bones. If that weren’t so, achieving the Garden
through your own labors wouldn’t be all that great.

In the five days remaining to you in this rest stop
before you go to the grave, take it easy, give
yourself time, because time is not all that great.

You who offer wine, we are waiting on the lip
of the ocean of ruin. Take this moment as a gift; for the distance
between the lip and the mouth is not all that great.

The state of my being – miserable and burnt
to a crisp – is proof enough that my need
to put it into words is not all that great.

You ascetic on the cold stone, you are not safe
from the tricks of God’s zeal: the distance between the cloister
and the Zorastrian tavern is not after all that great.

bly_1_s2.jpgThe name Hafez has been well inscribed in the books,
but in our clan of disreputables, the difference
between profit and loss is not all that great.

Hafez, 14th century
Translation by Robert Bly
From The Power of Poetry, Bill Moyers
See Previous post: Robert Bly (in Iran)

Robert Bly (in Iran)

Posted in Literature, Poetry by homeyra on March 30, 2008

Among many excellent interviews by Bill Moyers I came across a few about Persian poetry:
Bill Moyers talks with poet Robert Bly

Coleman Barks reads Rumi

I will quote some excerpts in my next posts.


Robert Bly and Coleman Barks visiting the tomb of Hafez in Shiraz

[…] Bill Moyers: You went to Iran a few months ago. Tell me about that.

Robert Bly: Yes, they flew us to Shiraz where Hafez‘s grave is. So, we got up in the morning, and we went to the grave. And about 8:00 in the morning, you know, children started to come. Maybe third grade children. And they stood around the little tomb and sang a poem of Hafez‘s. Really charming. And then they went away, and now some fifth graders came. And they stood around the tomb and sang a poem of Hafez.

And, of course, every poem of Hafez is connected with a tune, so you teach the children the tune, and then they have the poem. So I said to myself, “Isn’t that unbelievable? And why don’t we do that? Why don’t we go to the grave of Walt Whitman and have children come there?” Do you understand what it is–

Bill Moyers: I do. I don’t have an answer. Why don’t we?

Robert Bly: Because we don’t love– we don’t bring Walt Whitman and love him in the way that the Iranians bring in their poets and love them. So, that’d be great if children could go to Walt Whitman‘s grave and recite little poems.

Bill Moyers: What do you think it would mean if we went to the graves of our poets?

Robert Bly: You’d bring the poets into the heart, instead of having them in your head in graduate school. And that’s what you do with children. You bring children in, and they get associated with the heart when they’re very small, and then they can feel it all through their lives. […]


Hafez’s tomb by night

Robert Bly website
Next post: Not all that great

Connected, Always

Posted in Books, Iran, Literature, Poetry by homeyra on February 11, 2008

I used to have a record of Shamloo reading a selection of Rumi ‘s poetry including the following. The Persian text is mesmerizing. I hope someone will put it on the web.

I am tired of my feeble companions.
The lion of God, the heroic Rustam, is what I desire.

Bankrupt as I am, I still won’t accept cheap flowers.
A mine of precious stones is what I desire.

Weary of these weary people, I am weeping.
The shouting and jumping of drunkards is what I desire.

Pharaoh in his tyranny fatigues my soul.
The light of Moses of Imran is what I desire.

“We have searched,” they said.” It cannot be found.”
That which cannot be found is what I desire.

All things come from Him, yet He remains hidden.
The hidden whose works are manifest is what I desire.

From Richard Jeffrey Newman‘s blog:


A Bird In The Garden Of Angels is out!

If you’re a fan of Rumi, this new anthology, on the poetry sections of which I collaborated with primary author John Moyne, is one you will want to get. A Bird In The Garden Of Angels is also a wonderful introduction to Rumi for those new to his work, or those who may know of him but don’t know much about him.” … read more

Sample poems

Previous post: It is all connected

Venice & Bidel

Posted in Iran, Italy, Photo, Photography, Poetry by homeyra on February 11, 2008


An email from Riccardo Zipoli :
I have recently updated my website with 157 new photos featuring Iran (the site now contains 595 photos of Iran). There are four new collections […] also new galleries of other countries […]

I am glad to announce the opening of my exhibition Venice in windows at the Museum of Modern Arts of Tehran (19February-13 April 2008). The photos, which show Venice reflected in the panes of its own windows, are accompanied by lines of verse dedicated to the theme of the mirror taken from the Persian divan of Bidel (1644-1720).”
See Venice in windows in the Italian gallery

Riccardo Zipoli is a professor of Persian language and literature at the University of Venice. He has published many articles and books about classical and contemporary Persian poetry. He is also working in the field of translation such as two books of poems by the Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami. Currently he is working on questions of stylistics and rhetoric with a special focus on Persian rhyme and satirical and obscene verse. He has also carried out an intense photographic activity initially devoted to the Persian landscape… read more


Previous posts:

Relevant link: Abdul-Qader Bedil, and Devoted to
Inner Eye: The photographs of Riccardo Zipoli at Tehran Museum of contemporary art


Posted in Iran, Music, Poetry by homeyra on December 17, 2007

Zolf bar bad
Mohsen Namjoo singing Tresses in the wind by Hafez
Official website
Lyrics: English, Persian

Hafez will never turn away from you
For he became free the day he was entrapped by you

Shab-e She’r

Posted in Persian literature, Poetry by homeyra on December 12, 2007


Persian Art Festival

Thanks Richard for informing us about the “Shab-e She’r”, a night of Persian poetry in NY. Read more

Poet and essayist Richard Jeffrey Newman has translated a selection of Saadi‘s Bustan and Golestan, see previous post: It is all connected

In That Fair World

Posted in Poetry by homeyra on November 24, 2007

May I be allowed,
to behold the hue of that fresh blossom
as I stand at the base of this wall?

And, through this bloody, thorny fence,
this barbed wire,
may I drink a sip of spring water?

May I be allowed Outside, In Front of the Door?
And to regain my strength,
rest by this tree, may I?

Or, must I pass through this road,
a stranger, now and always,
swallow centuries of “You May Not”,
like a dagger piercing my patient throat?

In the shadowland of this vast cerulean tent,
it would have been fair,
if trees, land, water or sunshine,
did not belong to anyone!
Or, better yet,
belonged to all. […]


Fereydoon Moshiri
his voice

Translated by Faranak Moshiri
Fereydoon Moshiri at 99