Verses Collected on the Occasion of the Vernal Equinox


Do you like my Victorian-esque title? I thought it would bring some mock-stateliness to what is otherwise a very simple post. All that to say, Happy Persian New Year! Enjoy these spring-themed verses I have collected and translated from some of my favorite classical Persian poets. All the poems here reference, or were written in honor of, Norouz. For those who may not know, Norouz is a joyous occasion celebrated in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and many other places to commemorate the coming of spring. It is an ancient holiday with Zoroastrian roots.

Lines from Sa’di

آن شب که تو در کنار مایی روزست

و آن روز که با تو می رود نوروزست

دی رفت و به انتظار فردا منشین

دریاب که حاصل حیات امروزست

رباعی ۱۵

When you are beside us, night turns into day,

And every day spent with you is like Norouz.

Yesterday’s gone; don’t sit waiting for tomorrow.

Know that life’s harvest is today.

بلبلی زار زار می نالید

بر فراق بهار وقت خزان

گفتم انده مبر که بازآید

روز نوروز و لاله و ریحان

قصیده ۴۳

At autumn’s cusp, the nightingale wept and wailed

That spring was too far away.

“Don’t despair,” I said, “For the day of Norouz,

“Tulips, and sweet-scented greens will soon return.”


برآمد باد صبح و بوی نوروز

به کام دوستان و بخت پیروز

مبارک بادت این سال و همه سال

همایون بادت این روز و همه روز


غزل ۳۱۳

The dawn breeze arose, bringing the scent of Norouz

And good fortune, just as friends would have it.

May your year be blessed, and every year after that;

May your day be felicitous, and every day after that.

آدمی نیست که عاشق نشود وقت بهار

هر گیاهی که به نوروز نجنبد حطبست

غزل ۵۱

No one can avoid falling in love in springtime;

Any plant unmoved by Norouz is just kindling for the fire.

کامجویان را ز ناکامی چشیدن چاره نیست

بر زمستان صبر باید طالب نوروز را

غزل ۱۲

All ambitious people taste disappointment sometime; there’s no escaping it.

One must endure the winter in anticipation of Norouz.

Lines from Bābā Ṭāher

جدا از رویت ای ماه دل افروز

نه روز از شو شناسم نه شو از روز

وصالت گر مرا گردد میسر

همه روزم شود چون عید نوروز

دوبیتی ۶۷

Parted from the sight of you, O bewitching moon,

I know not night from day nor day from night.

If I could just be united with you,

All my days would be like Norouz.

Lines from Khayyām

[Khayyām, you’ll notice, is a bit more on the fatalistic side!]

چون لاله به نوروز قدح گیر بدست

با لاله رخی اگر تو را فرصت هست

می نوش به خرمی که این چرخ کهن

ناگاه تو را چو خاک گرداند پست

رباعی ۲۷

Like the tulip, take a goblet in hand for Norouz,

Preferably with a tulip-faced beauty, if the opportunity arises.

Drink wine in jubilation, for this ancient Wheel [of time],

May grind you into dust again at any moment.

چون ابر به نوروز رخ لاله بشست

برخیز و بجام باده کن عزم درست

کاین سبزه که امروز تماشاگه توست

فردا همه از خاک تو برخواهد رست

When Norouz clouds rain down on the tulip’s face,

Get up and — wine in hand — resolve to do what’s right,

For the sprouts you look at today,

Will be growing from your dust tomorrow.

Lines from ‘Attar

دل عطار چون گل نوروز

تازگی می دهد ز شبنم عشق

غزل ۴۴۶

‘Attar’s heart, like the Norouz flower,

Revives with love’s dewdrops.

Lines from Manuchehri

نوبهار آمد و آورد گل تازه فراز

می خوشبوی فراز آور و بربط بنواز

ای بلنداختر نام آور، تا چند به کاخ

سوی باغ آی که آمد گه نوروز فراز

قصیده ۳۳

Spring has arrived, and brought with it freshly blossomed flowers;

Raise the glass of fragrant wine and make music on the harp.

O you of fortune and fame, how long will you stay in the palace?

Come to the garden, for springtime is at hand!

هر روزتان نوروز نوروزتان پیروز!

May every day be Norouz and may your Norouz be victorious!


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