Monday, June 21, 2010

A short poem by 'Unsuri ( ? - 1039/1040), from Persia (now Iran - mostly), in the ruba'i form (four-line stanza). By his time, the poetry that had emerged there had shed some of the Arab influences and both the imagery and subjects contained more from the songs from Central Asia.  Persian poetry also had more references to gardens and fruits, which was a bit missing from desert Arab writings. 'Unsuri was named "Lord of the Poets" by Sultan Mahmud, in whose court he served.  One of his duties was to evaluate the talent of any poets who wished to be part of the royal entourage.  (A great gig, if you ask me: to be gate-keeper against potential rivals!)  In this poem, I think there is a little oddness in the translation - not that I read Persian! - because I read the meaning as being that "she", being his love, is the one that "takes" those three things (grief, tears, fancy) from him.  Do you agree?

Three things have modeled themselves on three of yours –
Rose on cheek, grape on lip, beauty on face.
Three things each year are taken from three of mine –

Grief from heart, tears from cheek, fancy from eye.

                                                                     Abdul Qasin Hasan Unsuri - Persian (Tajik)

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