Lesson 70: Forough Farrokhzad - Fathé Bagh, Part 2

This lesson covers a section of the poem Conquest of the Garden, or Fathé Bāgh, by Forough Farrokhzad. This portion of the poem is:

همه میترسند
همه میترسند، اما من و تو
به چراغ و آب و آینه پیوستیم
و نترسیدیم

 

hamé meetarsand
hamé meetarsand
amā man o tō
bé cherāgh o āb o āyeené payvasteem
va natarseedeem
 
Everyone is afraid
everyone is afraid, but you and I
joined with the lamp
and water and mirror and we were not afraid.

 

The Youtube video which claims to be Forough Farrokhzad reading the poem is linked here.

In this section of the poem, Forough brings up an important custom in Iranian weddings.


GREETINGS:

salām
hello
سَلام
chetor-ee
how are you?
چِطوری؟

Note: In Persian, as in many other languages, there is a formal and an informal way of speaking. We will be covering this in more detail in later lessons. For now, however, chetor-ee is the informal way of asking someone how they are, so it should only be used with people that you are familiar with. hālé shomā chetor-é is the formal expression for ‘how are you.’

Spelling note: In written Persian, words are not capitalized. For this reason, we do not capitalize Persian words written in phonetic English in the guides.


ANSWERS:

khoobam
I’m well
خوبَم

Pronunciation tip: kh is one of two unique sounds in the Persian language that is not used in the English language. It should be repeated daily until mastered, as it is essential to successfully speak Persian. Listen to the podcast for more information on how to make the sound.

Persian English
salām hello
chetor-ee how are you?
khoobam I’m well
merci thank you
khayli very
khayli khoobam I’m very well
khoob neestam I’m not well
man me/I
bad neestam I’m not bad
ālee great
chetor-een? how are you? (formal)
hālé shomā chetor-é? how are you? (formal)
hālet chetor-é? how are you? (informal)
khoob-ee? are you well? (informal)
mamnoonam thank you
chetor peesh meeré? how’s it going?
ché khabar? what’s the news? (what’s up?)
testeeeee

Hello and welcome to episode 70 of Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation! In lesson 69, we covered a large portion of the poem Fatheh bagh by Forough Farrokhzad, one of Iran’s best known poets. So, as I said in that espisode with our dear friend Fared, this is one of my favorite poems, because to me, it embodies the nature of true love- not the love that society expects you to have, but love that transcends societal norms and pressures. And I thought a lot about this poem when I was getting married actually- and specifically this portion that we’re going to learn in these next few lessons. It was hard to pick one spot to focus on and memorize, because the whole poem is so good and ripe with good vocabulary. So I’ve decided actually to include some of that vocabulary as bonus vocabulary to learn with each lesson- so you can do that on your own. But, the three stanzas I’m going to focus on, I believe really get to the heart of her message in the poem. So, without going any further, let’s listen to this portion as read to us allegedly by Fourough Farrokhzad- although I have to note, that I haven’t been able to verify that this is actually Forough Farrokhzad- there are some doubters out there. But either way, the person reading in this version does do a beautiful job, so let’s listen along as she reads this section of the poem.

 

hamé meetarsand

hamé meetarsand

amā man o tō

bā cherāgh o āb o āyeené payvasteem

va natarseedeem

 

sokhan az payvandé sosté dō nām

va hamāghdooshee dar orāgheh kohneyé yek daftar neest

sokhan az geesooyeh khoshvakhté manast

bā shaghāyeghhayé sookhteyé booseyé tō

 

va sameemeeyaté tan hāman, dar tarāree

va derakhsheedané oryāneemān

meslé falsé māheehā dar āb

sokhan az zendegeeyé noghreyeeyé āvāzeest

ke séhar gāhān favareyé koochak meekhānad

 

All right, so even if you didn’t understand many or any of the words we just heard, it’s good to hear the whole thing read in Persian so you can get a feel for the rhythm and cadence behind the poem. So much gets lost in translation, especially the lyrical quality of poetry. So, as we’ve done for the other two poems we’ve learned, we are now going to go over the first section of the poem line by line, word by word, and see what we can learn. So again, let’s have her read just this portion of the poem.

 

hamé meetarsand

hamé meetarsand

amā man o tō

bā cherāgh o āb o āyeené payvasteem

va natarseedeem

 

So she begins by repeated the line ‘hameh meetarsand, hameh meetarsand’. So hameh is the word for everyone. hame

 

(hame)

 

And meetarsand is third person conjugation for to be afraid. So meetarsand, are afraid. Meetarsand

 

(meetarsand)

 

hameh meetarsand, is everyone is afraid. hameh meetarsand

 

(hameh meetarsand)

 

So in conversation, that last d sound would get dropped, and you’d say hameh meetarsan

 

(hameh meetarsan)

 

But this is poetry, and for poetical reasons, she is using the formal conjugation here. So hameh meetarsand

 

(hameh meetarsand)

 

So again, everyone is afraid. Hameh meetarsand

 

(hameh meetarsand)

 

And as we said in the last lesson, she repeats this sentiment, making it a bit more impactful and a bit more musical. So let’s repeate it twice together, Hameh meetarsand, hameh meetarsand

 

(hameh meetarsand, hameh meetarsand)

 

There’s another sentiment, another blanket statement about ‘others’ that she repeats in this manner and that is hameh meedanand

 

(hameh meedanand)

 

And she says that one in the beginning of the poem and at the end of the poem. So, she’s talking about society at large, hameh, this concept of everyone, and hameh meedanand means everyone knows. Hameh meedanand

 

(hameh meedanand)

 

And again, meedanand is a very formal way to conjugate the third person to know, in conversational speech, you would just say ‘hameh meedoonan’

 

(hameh meedoonan)

 

Which just shows the major difference between conversational and formal Persian. So again, in the poem, the formal version of everyone knows is hameh meedanand

 

(hameh meedanand)

 

Everyone knows, and the section we are learning begins with hameh meetarsand, everyone is afraid. Hameh meetarsand

 

(hameh meetarsand)

 

So these generalizations about society are repeated through the poem and act as a kind of anchor throughout. So after she makes this blanket statement, she says ‘ama man o to’. Ama is the word for but. Ama

 

(ama)

 

and the word man simply mean me. man

 

(man)

 

and to means you. to

 

(to)

 

and to, we should note, is the informal version of you, so she’s talking to someone she’s familiar with, and has a sort of intimate relationship with. So man o to, me and you. man o to

 

(man o to)

 

Which means o means and. o

 

(o)

 

So putting it all together, ama man o to, but me and you. Ama man o to

 

(ama man o to)

 

So again from the beginning, hameh meetarsand, hameh meetarsand, ama man o to, means everyone is afraid, everyone is afraid, but me and you. So let’s say this all together. hameh meetarsand, hameh meetarsand, ama man o to

 

(hameh meetarsand, hameh meetarsand, ama man o to)

 

Ok, so this is a cliffhanger here, so what about you and me? Let’s listen to the next part

 

bā cherāgh o āb o āyeené payvasteem

va natarseedeem

 

Ok, so first this word payvasteem, what does this mean. So payvasteem means we joined, we united. payvasteem

 

(payvasteem)

 

And what did we join to? Ba cheragh o ab o ayeene. So these are just simple nouns we can go over one by one. Cheragh means lamp or light. Cheragh

 

(cheragh)

 

Ab means water. Ab

 

(ab)

 

And ayeene means mirror. Ayeene

 

(ayeene)

 

And like we said in the last lesson, these are traditional symbols of a Persian wedding. We’ll link to our blog about Persian weddings in the notes for this lessons, but basically, in Persian culture, the most important part of the wedding ceremony is an altar you set up in front of the couple getting married. And symbolic items are placed on the altar, some of the most important of which are listed here. So cheragh, light, is placed on the table in the form of candles, symbolizing this concept of there being clarity, goodness and energy in the couple’s life. Ab, water or rosewater is used to perfume the air and make it sweet. And ayeeneh, or the mirror, is perhaps one of the most prevalent and important symbols on the table, and is used to symbolize bringing light and brightness into the couple’s lives. Looking into the mirror also symbolizes looking into eternity together.  So again, these are light, cheragh

 

(cheragh)

 

water which is ab

 

(ab)

 

and mirror, ayeeneh

 

(ayeeneh)

 

The word ba means with. Ba

 

(ba)

 

and as we learned before, o means and. o

 

(o)

 

So ba cheragh o ab o ayeeneh means with the light and water and mirror. Ba cheragh o ab o ayeeneh

 

(ba cheragh o ab o ayeeneh)

 

And the full sentiment is ba cheragh o ab o ayeeneh payvasteem. which means we joined with the light and water and mirror. Ba cheragh o ab o ayeeneh payvasteem.

 

(Ba cheragh o ab o ayeeneh payvasteem)

 

So again, taking it one step back, it’s

 

amā man o tō

bā cherāgh o āb o āyeené payvasteem

 

 

So this full thing means but you and I, joined with the lamp and water and mirror. So let’s repeat this all together. Ama man o to Ba cheragh o ab o ayeeneh payvasteem

 

(Ama man o to Ba cheragh o ab o ayeeneh payvasteem)

 

And finally she says va natarseedeem. Natarseedeem means we didn’t get scared. Natarseedeem

 

(natarseedeem)

 

and va simply means and. Va

 

(va)

 

va natarseedeem, so we didn’t get scared. Va natarseedeem

 

(va natarseedeem)

 

So putting it all together, she’s saying everyone is afraid, everyone is afraid, but you and I, we joined with the light and water and mirror, and we didn’t get scared. So let’s hear our lady read this whole section again.

 

hamé meetarsand

hamé meetarsand

amā man o tō

bā cherāgh o āb o āyeené payvasteem

va natarseedeem

 

 

And now, let’s repeat the whole thing together. I’m going to repeat it line by line and you repeat after me. Hameh meetarsand, hameh meetarsand

 

(Hameh meetarsand, hameh meetarsand)

 

Ama man o to

 

(Ama man o to)

 

 

ba cheragh o ab o ayeene payvasteem

 

(ba cheragh o ab o ayeene payvasteem)

 

va natarseedeem

 

(va natarseedeem)

 

Wonderful! So stepping back, it sounds here like she is saying everyone is afraid, but you and I have tied ourselves to these symbols of marriage, and we didn’t become afraid. So we avoided the trappings of society. In the next section, she’ll clarify this sentiment.

 

So before next week, go over this whole stanza over and over again until you have it memorized. It’s an easy one and has some really simple words in it, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. And then we’ll come back next week, and learn the next part. We’re taking these nice and slowly so you have enough time to really study the sections and get them memorized before we move on.

 

Let’s hear this section read to us one more time, and we’ll end the lesson after that!

 

hamé meetarsand

hamé meetarsand

amā man o tō

bā cherāgh o āb o āyeené payvasteem

va natarseedeem

 

 

Wonderful, thanks so much for listening to Lesson 70 of Chai and Conversation. Remember, you can get our complete bonus materials for this lesson on our website- the bonus materials include being able to listen to each of the lines and words individually so you can really practice them, as well as a written guide to the lesson. You don’t need to have listened to our previous lessons in order to understand the poetry series, you can jump right in where you are.

 

We’re so glad you’ve joined us, and looking forward to continuing the discussion of Fatheh Bagh with Forough Farrokhzad!