Islamic and Friendship Studies at Oberlin College

Mary Post FYSP Response #5

Fifth Response Paper 

The importance of Persian poetry remains to be that one can always grapple with life if they have the help of Hafez, Rumi, or other great poets. It is with the knowledge that we have more tools in life to grow as individuals. Poetry, calligraphy and other forms of art help individuals do this. 

Idyll poetry is defined as simple and approachable. With that, this form of poetry is most known to those who are of the middle level in terms of class and education level. This is because the poetry is able to be interpreted in many different ways — but its message remains the same. The message can be spliced together through context and day to day knowledge. This diverges from some other poetry forms such as epic or didactic poetry. 

As a poetic genre, I find idyll poetry to be the most enjoyable because it is the most accessible. Therefore, more people are able to draw connections and commonalities from it, creating a larger sense of community within society. This is different than other forms of poetry such as Epic and Didactic because they are meant for a higher class of society. This, in of its self is an interesting phenomenon. That is, that some forms of poetry were meant purely for the educated as opposed to the greater community. It begs the questions, why make a form of adoration for higher powers and others inaccessible to all? That is why I prefer idyll poetry. While simple, it remains attainable to the larger community. 

In the DIVANI SHAMSI TABRIZ, published in 1973, lives a collection of poems by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, in which he describes the many different levels of life through poetry. On page 81, reads poem XXXII in which Rumi grapples with the different levels in which one interacts with the other. 

“No joy have I found in the two worlds apart from thee, Beloved. Many wonders I have seen: I have not seen a wonder like thee. They say that blazing fire is the infidel’s portion: I have seen none, save Abu Lahab, excluded from thy fire. “ – Rumi

In the first section of the quote: “No joy have I found in the two worlds apart from thee, Beloved. Many wonders I have seen: I have not seen a wonder like thee.” Rumi writes to his Beloved articulating his love for them and how it is unmatched to the wonders he has seen in the world. More than that, Rumi is expressing a deep admiration for his Beloved, as they are the most prized wonder in his world. 

In the second section of this quote: “ They say that blazing fire is the infidel’s portion: I have seen none, save Abu Lahab, excluded from thy fire.”, Rumi writes to say that his admiration is so deep and personal it is unmatched by any other fire of passion. Further, it is this fire that has become his kryptonite for his future endeavors. Rumi goes on to explain his adoration through life and how there is an unmatched devotion to his Beloved as opposed to other things in his life. 

In terms of music, Rumi has informed various performances and different compositions of music. It is common in Persian culture to have musical pieces influenced by poetry. Specifically, with Rumi, there are many pieces of music in which Rumi has credited the inspiration. In terms of opera, Rumi again serves as a source of inspiration. In the puppet opera based on Masnavi and Divan E Shams, individuals put on a rendition of these stories in which the music is all based on Rumi’s poems. 

In terms of memorizing Hafez, the experience was very enjoyable. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from this course is that each person has their own dialogue and will remain authentic to that as they interact with many individuals throughout their lives. Hafez is a prime example of how no matter where one comes from, values will remain rooted in one’s moral compass. No matter where one might exist in the cosmos, the power of Hafez remains just as genuine and relevant. That is, to remain intentional in one’s life, and to seek and recognize happiness in one’s life. I find the memorization of Hafez cathartic and useful in terms of recognizing these core values in one’s life. 

My calligraphy experience continues to be endearing albeit frustrating at times. Practice makes perfect, as they say. It is fascinating to learn about different types of calligraphy and see which ones my classmates and I can resemble. It seems that the Kufic script has been easier to master than other forms of script. 

As said prior, the importance of Persian poetry is found in the connections one can make within their life and the community surrounding them. Idyll poetry is one of the most accessible forms of Persian poetry because of its inherent simplicity. It creates a more accessible way in which individuals can learn the wonders of poetry, and share their passion with others. 

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