First, let me say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and the author Dalia Sofer, enchants the reader from beginning to end. Lovely poetry, one can not help but be enticed by any story taking place in Persia.
Knowing so many Iranians, who have told me of the beauty of their country and culture, I have to say my dream, is to be able to visit there, to see today, and to see the ancient history told by art and poetry, both then and now.
Below you will also find a beautiful poem by Hafiz!
Author Dalia Sofer
I will provide a brief “wiki” summary of the plot. Suffice it to say, I loved the book, and am sure you will too.
During the first months after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, wealthy Jewish Iranian gemologist Isaac Amin is suddenly arrested at his office in Tehran by the Revolutionary Guards who take him to prison. During his prison days, he meets fellow prisoners of different backgrounds, who are tortured and finally prosecuted. In interrogation sessions, his interrogator Mohsen, once torturing him with a lit cigarette and having him lashed, refers to the injustice of being affluent and to the justice that the revolution is bringing to the oppressed. After the guards scare him by putting him before a firing squad and shooting around his body, he says to Mohsen that he has realized the truth and is ready to pay all his savings as his debt to the revolution. After emptying his bank account, Mohsen declares him free and leaves him alone in the street.
Below is a poem of which part was quoted in the book! Enjoy
Poems from the Divan of Hafiz, by Getrude Lowthian Bell, 1897
I CEASE not from desire till my desire
Is satisfied; or let my mouth attain
My love's red mouth, or let my soul expire,
Sighed from those lips that sought her lips in vain.
Others may find another love as fair;
Upon her threshold I have laid my head,
The dust shall cover me, still lying there,
When from my body life and love have fled.
My soul is on my lips ready to fly,
But grief beats in my heart and will not cease,
Because not once, not once before I die,
Will her sweet lips give all my longing peace.
My breath is narrowed down to one long sigh
For a red mouth that burns my thoughts like fire;
When will that mouth draw near and make reply
To one whose life is straitened with desire?
When I am dead, open my grave and see
The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet:
In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee;
Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet!
Ah, come, Beloved! for the meadows wait
Thy coming, and the thorn bears flowers instead
Of thorns, the cypress fruit, and desolate
Bare winter from before thy steps has fled.
Hoping within some garden ground to find
A red rose soft and sweet as thy soft cheek,
Through every meadow blows the western wind,
Through every garden he is fain to seek.
Reveal thy face! that the whole world may be
Bewildered by thy radiant loveliness;
The cry of man and woman comes to thee,
Open thy lips and comfort their distress!
Each curling lock of thy luxuriant hair
Breaks into barbèd hooks to catch my heart,
My broken heart is wounded everywhere
With countless wounds from which the red drops start.
Yet when sad lovers meet and tell their sighs,
Not without praise shall Hafiz’ name be said,
Not without tears, in those pale companies
Where joy has been forgot and hope has fled.
This blog was written while tasting a wonderful Shiraz wine, Sonovino from Sicily!
Hi there, the blog has been running for almost a year, and as you can see I try to keep up a few posts a month. More about poetry and fellow poets, but also about current events, social issues as well as art and music. I look forward to any suggestions from readers and fellow poets!