art of resistance, Iran, travel

Persian poetry and Ferdowsi: “But all this world is like a tale we hear.”

Hakīm Abu’l-Qāsim Firdawsī Tūsī, widely known as Ferdowsi, was a highly praised Persian poet. He is the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and the Persian-speaking world. He spent over three decades (from 977 to 1010) working on the Shahnameh, and it became one of the most influential works of Persian literature.

I am trying, as much as I can, to read more “eastern” literature, since we, “westerners” very often learn and know so little about it. And it has so much to offer, a whole new world!

I like Ferdowsi’s work and some of his versus stayed with me throught the time.

So, I am sharing those with you, togheter with some nice illustrations from his books.

“I turn to right and left, in all the earth
I see no signs of justice, sense or worth:
A man does evil deeds, and all his days
Are filled with luck and universal praise;
Another’s good in all he does – he dies
A wretched, broken man whom all despise.” 


“Such is the passing that you must leave,
All men must die, and it is vain to grieve.” 

“From moment then to moment their desire
Gained strength, and wisdom fled before love’s fire;
Passion engulfed them, and these lovers lay
Entwined together till the break of day.” 


“But all this world is like a tale we hear –
Men’s evil, and their glory, disappear.” 


“I am deathless, I am the eternal Lord
For I have spread the seed of the Word.” 


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