Lesson 62: Sohrab Sepehri - Dar Golestāné, Part 2

In this lesson, we continue the study of Sohrab Sepehri's dar golestāné by learning more about the words and phrases in the middle section of our selection.

As promised, here is an image of the beautiful red poppy flowers in the Zagros mountains in Iran:


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

Episode 61, Sohrab Sepehri, dar golestan

Hello and welcome to episode 61 of Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation. Notice that we are now calling our podcasts episodes instead of lessons. If you listened to Lesson 60, you know that we called that the last of our lesson series, and we talked about transitioning to poetry in the later lessons. Well, here we are a few months later, fulfilling that dream.

The love of poetry was passed down to me mainly by my grandfather. Even though he saw himself as a lover of physics and the sciences, he was equally mesmerized by poetry. I feel like in general in Iranian culture, the sciences and arts really live side by side in harmony, and are both equally respected, as can be seen by the importance all Iranians place on the art of poetry. My grandfather could recite a line of poetry in response to any question I had, or for any life situation we found ourselves in. Later in his life, he developed a love for Persian calligraphy, and before he died in 2012, he wrote out many of his favorite poems, bound and published them in volumes he gifted to his family.

So, in this series of podcast episodes, I want to pass on that love of poetry to you, our Chai and Conversation listeners. I’ll be going through my favorite Persian poetry, many of them from the writings of my grandfather.

Although the poetry learned in these lessons uses more intermediate or advanced language, we’ll go through it very carefully, and you don’t need to have gone through all 60 lessons of Chai and Conversation to understand the lessons. If we go over grammar or vocabulary that we’ve covered in the lessons, I’ll reference those particular lessons so you can go back and listen to them in depth.

Overall, I think this will be a perfect way to really master your understanding of the Persian language, and to immerse yourself in Persian culture.

One last thing before we start the lesson. We’ve recently done a big overhaul of the Chai and Conversation learning system. If you check out our completely redesigned and upgraded website, you can become a subscriber to our podcast. It’s easier than ever now to have access to our podcast bonus materials, which will help you to become an expert in the Persian language more quickly than ever. Check out all the changes at www.chaiandconversation.com, with chai spelled CHAI

So now, back to the poem we are learning this week, Sohrab Sepehri’s dar golestan. If you check out the shownotes for this page, we’ve also linked to a youtube video of Shahram Nazeri’s version of this song to his beautiful music- it’s so incredibly well done.

 

So last week, we talked with Fared Shafinury, my dear friend and a talented musician, about the feeling and meaning behind the poem. This week, as promised, we’re going to start going into the specific words and phrases used in the poem, learn the vocabulary, and learn how to use the words in different contexts. This lesson will be a little different because it’s just me, but you should go ahead and repeat words after me just like we were doing in the lessons with Matt. I’ll leave space for you to do that after I say a word. Because we’re covering a lot of vocabulary, we’ve broken this portion of the analysis up into a few different lessons. And for the purposes of these lessons, I’ve had my aunt Farnaz, who is experienced in reciting poetry, record her interpretation of the lines of the poem that we learned. So before we go any further, let’s listen to Farnaz read the parts of the poem we went over last week.

 

dashthayee cheh faragh

koohhayee cheh boland

dar golestaneh cheh booyeh alafee meeyamad

 

 zendegee khaalee neest

mehrabani hast

seeb hast

eeman hast

aree,

ta shaghayegh hast, zendegee bayad kard

 

dar deleh man cheezee hast, mesleh yek beesheyeh noor, mesleh khaabeh dameh sobh

 

va chenan beetabam, keh delam meekhahad

bedavam ta taheh dash

beravam ta sareh kooh

doorha avayee hast

keh mara meekhaanad

 

All right! So there’s the whole poem. Perhaps some words sounded familiar to you, especially after last week’s lesson.

 

In today’s lesson, we’re going to go over the middle chunk of the poem, and in the next lesson we’ll go back and learn the vocab in the first part and the last part. So let’s start with the line zendegee khaalee neest

 

Zendegee khaalee neest.

 

You heard the silence there- that was for you to fill in by saying the word out loud wherever you are. So again, zendegee khaalee neest

 

zendegee khaalee neest

 

So we’ve definitely heard this word zendegee before. Like we do on the podcast, I’m going to say the word, and I want you to repeat it out loud. We no longer have Matt repeating it along with me, so you’ll be on your own with this one. So the word is zendegee

 

zendegee

 

And this is the word for life. Zendegee

 

zendegee

 

Khaalee is the word for empty. So ‘zendegee khaali neest’ means ‘life is not empty’. ‘Zendegee khaali neest’

 

Ok, now let’s hear my aunt recite this again

 

zendegee khaali neest

 

Again, life is not empty. Zendegee khaali neest

 

Zendegee khaali neest

 

So neest is the word is is not. Now this phrase can easily be said in normal conversation too. As we’ve said, written Persian is different than spoken Persian, and in this poetry series, we will certainly will point out when the poetry is different than something you would say conversationally, since our focus is conversational Persian. But again, this phrase is zendegee khaali neest

zendegee khaali neest

 

And what is the word for life again?

 

Zendegee. Now, first he says life is not empty. And then he lists several things that are in life that make it not empty. So let’s listen to the next few lines.

 

mehrabani hast

seeb hast

eeman hast

 

Ok, so now we’ve switched from neest, is not, to hast, or is. Let’s practice this with a different word. Let’s say your coffee has gotten cold, and you want to simply say ‘it is cold’. To say this in Persian, you say sard hast

 

sard hast

 

To say ‘it is not cold’, you say sard neest

 

sard neest

 

so sard hast, it is cold, versus sard neest, it is not cold. It’s as simple as that to make a positive sentence versus a negative sentence. So again, we started off with zendegee khaali neest meaning life is not empty. Now again, let’s listen to the list

 

mehrabani hast

seeb hast

eeman hast

 

So we’ve switched to positive sentences. Life is not empty. Now let’s talk about a few things there are. And this is a really nice and simple list, so let’s go over it. Mehrabani means kindness. Mehrabani

 

mehrabani

 

So mehrabani hast means there is kindness. Mehrabani hast

Mehrabani hast

The next line is ‘seeb hast’. And seeb is the word for apple. Seeb

 

seeb

 

Seeb hast means there are apples. Seeb hast

 

seeb hast

 

Technically, this phrase is just ‘there is apple’, so apples exist. Seeb hast

 

seeb hast

 

and finally, eeman hast. Eeman is also a beautiful word, and it means ‘hope’. Eeman

 

eeman

 

and eeman hast, there is hope. eeman hast

 

eeman hast

 

All right! Let’s listen to these lines again.

 

zendegee khaalee neest

mehrabani hast

seeb hast

eeman hast

 

So this should be really simple. Let’s go over these words again. This time, I’ll say the English, and you try to think of the word in Persian. The word for life in Persian is

 

zendegee

 

The word for kindness in Persian

 

mehrabani

 

The word for apple

 

seeb

 

And finally, the word for hope

 

eeman

 

Don’t worry if you didn’t get all these- remember if you’re a subscriber on our website, you can listen to each one of these words individually until you get them down perfectly.

 

So now, let’s listen to the very last line of this section:

 

aree,

ta shaghayegh hast, zendegee bayad kard

 

 

Now, this is one of my favorite phrases of any poem ever. So first he exclaims ‘aree’, and this is just a version of the word ‘areh’ which means yes. So he’s exclaiming ‘YES!’ ‘Aree’

‘Aree’

Now shaghayegh, which comes up in the line, is the word for the flower anemone. If you don’t know what an anemone is, it’s a brightly colored flower that’s often distributed in the wild. We’ll link a picture of one in the notes for this episode. So shaghayegh

 

shaghayegh

 

And he says ‘ta shaghayegh hast, zendegee bayad kard.’ This line basically means ‘as long as there are anemones, one must live’. So ‘ta shaghayegh hast’- hast is the word for is or to be. Ta is the word for until. Ta shaghayegh hast

 

Ta shaghayegh hast

 

So literally this means ‘until there are anemones,’ which translates to ‘as long as there are anemones’. ‘Ta shaghayegh hast’

 

ta shaghayegh hast

 

and next, zendegee bayad kard. Bayad means must

 

bayad

 

And we learned zendegee in the first line. It means life. zendegee

 

zendegee

 

So zendegee bayad kard, one must live. Zendegee bayad kard

 

Zendegee bayad kard

 

So altogether, it’s ta shaghayegh hast, zendegee bayad kard

 

ta shaghayegh hast, zendegee bayad kard

 

All right! Let’s listen to all this together again:

 

zendegee khaalee neest

mehrabani hast

seeb hast

eeman hast

aree,

ta shaghayegh hast, zendegee bayad kard

 

And we’re going to leave it at that for this episode. So like I said at the beginning of the program, if you check out the Chai and Conversation website at www.chaiandconversation.com with Chai