Tag Archives: Shiraz

The beautiful “Shirazi Turk”-ish kid from the corny German commercial

24 Dec

As if that German commercial of the Turkish family cooking for their sullen German neighbor (redundant? “sullen German”?) didn’t pull enough heartstrings, the family’s son, who has the idea of approaching the old man, is a knock-out.

Makes one think of Hafez. Yes, I know this particular poem is quoted to death, but it’s one of the first that really grabbed me when I first discovered Persian poetry:


اگر آن ترک شیرازی به دست آرد دل ما را‎ به خال هندویش بخشم سمرقند و بخارا را‎

‘agar ‘ān Tork-e Šīrāzī * be dast ārad del-ē mā-rābe xāl-ē Hendu-yaš baxšam Samarqand ō Boxārā-rā

If that Shirazi Turk accepts my heart in their hand, for their Indian mole I will give Samarkand and Bukhara.


بده ساقی می باقی که در جنت نخواهی یافت‎ کنار آب رکن آباد و گلگشت مصلا را‎

bedeh, sāqī, mey-ē bāqī ke dar jannat naxāhī yāftkenār-ē āb-e Roknābād o golgašt-ē Mosallā-rā

Wine-pourer, give the rest of wine, since in heaven you will not find the banks of the water of Roknabad and the rose-walk of Mosalla.


فغان کاین لولیان شوخ شیرین کار شهرآشوب‎ چنان بردند صبر از دل که ترکان خوان یغما را‎

faqān k-īn lūliyān-ē šūx -e šīrīnkār-e šahrāšūbčonān bordānd sabr az del ke Torkān xān-e yaqmā-rā

Alas for these mischievous gypsies who do sweet things and make the town riot! they have stolen the patience from my heart like Turks at a banquet of plunder.


ز عشق ناتمام ما جمال یار مستغنی است‎ به آب و رنگ و خال و خط چه حاجت روی زیبا را‎

ze ‘ešq-ē nātamām-ē mā jamāl-ē yār mostaqnī-stbe āb ō rang o xāl ō xat če hājat rūy-e zībā-rā?

Of our imperfect love the glory of the beloved is independent; what need does a beautiful face have for powder and colour and mole and line?


من از آن حسن روزافزون که یوسف داشت دانستم‎ که عشق از پرده عصمت برون آرد زلیخا را‎

man az ‘ān hosn-e rūz-afzūn ke Yūsof dāšt dānestamke ‘ešq az parde-yē ‘esmat borūn ārad Zoleyxā-rā

I have learnt, from that daily-increasing beauty that Joseph had, that Love will bring Zoleykha out from behind the curtain of modesty.


اگر دشنام فرمایی و گر نفرین دعا گویم‎ جواب تلخ می‌زیبد لب لعل شکرخا را‎

agar došnām farmā’ī * v-agar nefrīn do’ā gūyamjavāb-ē talx mīzībad * lab-ē la’l-ē šekarxā-rā

Even if you speak harshly, and even if you curse me, I am grateful; a bitter answer beautifies a ruby-red sugar-chewing lip.


نصیحت گوش کن جانا که از جان دوست‌تر دارند‎ جوانان سعادتمند پند پیر دانا را‎

nasīhat gūš kon, jānā, ke ‘az jān dūst-tar dārandjavānān-ē sa’ādatmand pand-ē pīr-e dānā-rā

Listen to advice, my soul, since even more valuable than their soul youths who seek happiness hold the advice of a knowledgeable elder.


حدیث از مطرب و می گو و راز دهر کمتر جو‎ که کس نگشود و نگشاید به حکمت این معما را‎

hadīs az motreb-ō mey gū * vo rāz-ē dahr kamtar jūke kas nagšūd o nagšāyad * be hekmat ‘īn mo’ammā-rā

Tell a tale of minstrel and wine, and seek the secret of time less, since no one has ever solved or will ever solve this riddle with wisdom.


غزل گفتی و در سفتی بیا و خوش بخوان حافظ‎ که بر نظم تو افشاند فلک عقد ثریا را‎

qazal goftī o dor softī * biyā vō xoš bexān, Hāfezke bar nazm-ē to afšānad * falak ‘egd-ē Sorayyā-rā

You have completed your poem and pierced the pearl; come and sing beautifully, Hafez, that on your compositions Heaven may scatter the necklace of the Pleiades.


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“Might they open the doors of the wine shops And loosen their hold on our knotted lives? If shut to satisfy the ego of the puritan Take heart, for they will reopen to satisfy God.” — Hafez

3 Nov

WineryimageFrom Pulse News: Beer, wine flow in West Bank Christian hamlet”  by TIA GOLDENBERG | November 3, 2014

TAYBEH, West Bank (AP) — A tiny Christian enclave in the overwhelmingly Muslim West Bank has for years crafted the only Palestinian beer and brought thousands of visitors flocking to its annual beer fest. Now, it is adding wine to its list of libations, hoping a boutique winery will be another tourist draw and contribute to keeping the small village afloat.

While Christians around the Middle East have seen their numbers dwindle due to conflict and the lure of better economic opportunities abroad, Taybeh has remained an exclusively Christian village, the last in the West Bank.

The family behind the wine and beer says they are carrying out “peaceful resistance” by investing in their homeland and staying put.

“This is how we believe the state of Palestine can be built: by people like us to invest in the country and encourage other Palestinians to come and invest in their country,” said Nadim Khoury, who founded the brewery and winery.

I’ve always been fascinated by the association, in so much Persian(ate) poetry, of alcohol with non-Muslims — and by extension, licentiousness, sexual desire, subversiveness, sin, etc.  There’s probably a dissertation out there somewhere that I should try looking for.  I thought about it a lot in my rant on the Gezi Park protests and the symbolic importance of Pera in the İstanbul imaginary that I wrote from Kabul last November.  In fact, it was pretty much the thesis of the piece:

“And here we run into our first paradox, or the origins of a chain of paradox: that this now central “heart” of Istanbul began as a space of marginality.  The Byzantines originally put some of their unwanted Catholics there: Galata’s mother city is actually Genoa.  In Ottoman times, Christians and Jews lived there and made wine and everybody else came there to drink it.  While not an exclusionary, extramural ghetto of any sort – to their credit the Ottomans didn’t often do that kind of thing – it was sort of the wrong side of the tracks: the Ottoman equivalent of the suburbs or the across-the-river Zoroastrian neighborhoods in Iran where Hafez and company went to drink the infidel’s wine and torment themselves with the beauty of the innkeeper’s son: the other side of town, the refuge of disbelief and transgression, of unorthodoxy and the unorthodox in every sense.  The alcohol…”


If 2013’s protests then – at least Istanbul’s –were at their core about protecting aspects of the essential urbanity of Istanbul, and Greeks played such a large role in shaping that urbanity, shouldn’t that be acknowledged?  If Turkish society is playing out – again, at least in Istanbul – its most intense culture wars on a ghost blueprint of vanished minorities, then wouldn’t making that a more explicit part of the contest be immensely productive – all around.

See it all:Nobody really cares about Gezi Park: Greek thoughts on the protests of 2013



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