Persian Poetry: Part I

Monthly Column

By Mehdi Bagheri

 

I think of you

I hear the hymn of the Trees by the dawn

The slow dance of the Wind with the Wintersweets

The deep breath of the Anemone by the hillside

The commune of the Swallows and the Morning

The blushing radiant cheeks of the flowers

I hear them all

I see them

I don’t think about any of them

I think of You

Hey, utter beauty!

I only think of you

All the time

Everywhere

However I feel, I think of you

– Fereydoon Moshiri

To have a better understanding of Persian poetry, one needs to become familiar with the attributes of the Persian literature. In this first column I have chosen one that is relevant to the poem “I think of you” by Fereydoon Moshiri.

One of the prominent characteristics in both classical and contemporary Persian literature is allegory that`s fused with personification. This may be due to the long existing culture of verbal communication, in Iran and other Persian speaking states, in which one tries to avoid direct discourse, in order not to hurt the addressee`s feelings. This is still quite notable when you hear Persians speak. At times the preambles are tiresome, and often take long until you can hear a simple yes or a no answer. It should be emphasized again, that this way of interaction resembles pure decency whereas in other cultures it might be regarded as caddish.

Personification of elements of nature in Persian literature can be a result of Iran’s climate. Although Iran can be regarded as a country of four seasons, its climate is predominantly hot and dry. For this reason, Persians value the vernal traits of nature. Spring flowers, green trees, singing of birds, wind, water and many more elements of spring are personified to magnify the value of the subject in Persian literature.

In this very famous poem, Fereydoon Moshiri personifies elements of nature in a mesmerising tone to show what beauties he is surrounded with, yet he cannot get any joy out of such environment as what he can only think of, is his love. Personification in this poem may also hint that the poet is not willing to directly talk about women surrounding him, who are seemingly beautiful, so he uses these elements in order to pass his message without causing misunderstanding or hurting the reader’s feelings.

By the ending lines he calls his love the “utter beauty” after writing about other beauties that are so valuable and mesmerising. This is an elegant indication that nothing, no matter how beautiful and valuable, is comparable to his love.

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