Places | Migrations

How I Find Home in the Persian Poetry of Hafez

Home means that you’re anchored in something deeper than second-hand nostalgia, that you miss your country because it is a part of you.

Lost JosephYusef-e gomgashte.

Joseph, the lost, will return to Canaan, grieve not
This house of sorrow will become a rose garden again, grieve not

Oh grieving heart, you will mend, do not despair
This scattered mind of yours will return to calm, grieve not

When the spring of life sets again in the meadows
A crown of flowers you will bear, singing bird, grieve not

کلبه احزان شود روزی گلستان غم مخور

وین سر شوریده باز آید به سامان غم مخور

چتر گل در سر کشی ای مرغ خوشخوان غم مخور

I felt transported back to the garden in Shiraz that hot afternoon, trailing behind as my cousins led the way to the car. I watched them huddled together, reciting their favorite verses in the same rhythm I recognized from my father’s Hafez readings. I tried to make sense of the sacred experience we all shared, of the emotion that brewed inside of me for reasons I could not name. But their words floated over to me, empty and unintelligible, hushed and cryptic like secrets.

Grieve not.

Gham makhor.

Gham makhor.

Will baba let me go to the NSync concert? Will I win class president? Will I get the CNN internship? Will my boyfriend propose?

The splendour of youth has again returned to the garden of spring

Home may be perilous and the destination out of reach
But there are no paths without an end, grieve not


In a state of absent loved ones and troubling foes
God knows every sentence of your life, grieve not

The Gift.

The Gift

All this time
The sun never says to the Earth,
“You owe me.”
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.

The Gift

The Gift

Yusef-e gomgashte baaz ayad be Canaan, gham makhor

The Gift

The Gift

Gham makhor.

If the turning world does not move with our wishes today
This feeling in time is not permanent, grieve not

Gham makhor.