Poetry /

Hafez's payāmé naseem

Part 6
پیام نسیم

In this lesson, we go over the last lines of the poem payāmé naseem by Hafez:

می‌ای دارم چو جان صافی و صوفی می‌کند عیبش 
may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee ō soofee meekonad aybash
خدایا هیچ عاقل را مبادا بخت بد روزی
khodāyā heech āghel rā mabādā bakht bad roozee

Listen to the full poem
zé kooyé yār meeyāyad naseemé bādé nowruzi
From the beloved that comes the winds of the new beginning
زِ کویِ یار می‌آیَد نَسیمِ بادِ نُوروزی
az een bād ar madad khāhee cherāghé del bar-afroozee.
If you need any help from this wind, light the fire within your heart.
اَز این باد اَر مَدَد خواهی چِراغِ دِل بَر‌اَفروزی
chō gol gar khordé-ee dāree, khodā-rā sarfé eshrat kon,
If like a flower you have little, spend what you have on joy,
چو گُل گَر خُردِه‌ای داری خُدا را صَرفِ عِشرَت کُن
ké ghāroon-rā ghalat-hā dād sowdāyé zar-andoozee!
For the richest man made many mistakes while threading his gold!
کِه قارون را غَلَط‌ها داد سُودایِ زَر‌اَندوزی
bé sahrā rō ké az dāman ghobāré gham beeyafshānee!
Go to the desert so that you can beat the dust of sorrow out of your clothes!
بِه صَحرا رو کِه اَز دامَن غُبارِ غَم بیَفشانی
bé golzār āy k'az bolbol ghazal goftan beeyāmoozee!
Come to the meadow of flowers so you can learn to say poetry from songbirds!
بِه گُلزار آی کَز بُلبُل غَزَل گُفتَن بیاموزی
jodā shod yāré sheereenat; konoon tanhā nesheen, ay sham'
Your sweet lover has left you, and now your candle burns alone,
جُدا شُد یارِ شیرینَت کُنون تَنها نِشین اِی شَمع
ké hokmé āsemān een ast agar sāzee va gar soozee.
For the skies have ruled for it to be this way, whether you build or burn.
کِه حُکمِ آسِمان این اَست اَگَر سازی وَ گَر سوزی
may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee ō soofee meekonad 'aybash.
I have wine that is as clear as my soul, but yet, the hypocrites are judging me.
مِی‌ای دارَم چو جان صافی و صوفی می‌کُنَد عِیبَش
khodāyā heech āghel-rā mabādā bakhté bad roozee!
Oh God, all these enlightened ones, don't bestow upon them this misfortune of blindness!
خُدایا هیچ عاقِل را مَبادا بَختِ بَد روزی


how are you?

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.


I’m well

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?)

salām bé hamegee! Hello and welcome to the very final lesson on our selection from the poem payāmé naseem by Hafez! This is the last part we’ll be learning from this poem, and after this, your goal is to memorize our selection…yes, the whole thing…and make a video of yourself reciting it in a beautiful location. We’ll have a link on the show notes of this episode where you can upload your video and watch the selection from all the other Chai and Conversation members that have completed this wonderful task. 

So to start this lesson, we’re going to listen to my khālé farnāz recite the entire poem. You should be trying to recite it along with her as you’re listening. Remember, listening to the poem recited is one of the best ways to learn it. We’ve also included a link to Shajarian’s beautiful rendition of it in classical music form for you to listen to as well on the show notes for this lesson. But for now, here’s Farnaz:

zé kooyé yār meeyāyad naseemé bādé noroozee.

az een bād ar madad khāhee cherāghé del bar-afroozee!

chō gol gar khordeyee dāree khodā rā sarfé eshrat kon

ké ghāroon rā ghalat-hā dād sowdāyé zar-andoozee!

bé sahrā rō ké az dāman ghobaré gham beeafshānee!

bé golzār āy kaz bolbol ghazal goftan beeyāmoozee!

jodā shod yāré sheereenat, konoon tanhā nesheen, ay sham’,

ké hokmé āsemān een ast agar sāzee ō gar soozee.

may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee ō soofee meekonad aybash.

khodāyā heech āghel-rā mabādā bakhté bad roozee!

Wonderful, and now, we’re on the very last lines of the poem. Now, I have to admit, these two lines, although they don’t have difficult vocabulary, I do believe are pretty difficult to understand. I’m interested in the discussion that will come out of interpreting these lines and really understanding them. So here are our two lines:

may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee ō soofee meekonad aybash.

khodāyā heech āghel-rā mabādā bakhté bad roozee!

All right, so the first line says “may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee ō soofee meekonad aybash.” So, the word may comes up in Classical Persian poetry so, so often; it means ‘wine’. So in Classical Persian poetry, there are so many different layers and levels to things. We talked about symbolism in the Persian poetry, how, for example, flowers have certain meanings and symbolize certain things. Wine is the same way. Generally, drunkenness is brought up so often. It can be taken in a literal sense, but it can also be taken in a spiritual sense. That the state of drunkenness is the state of losing oneself, losing one's ego, becoming closer to God. So in this case also, “may-ee dāram,” when we add -ee to a word, we are referring to a particular one of that thing, so “may-ee dāram,” ‘I have a wine’. “dāram” is the first person conjugation for ‘to have’. I have a particular wine. may-ee dāram.

may-ee dāram

chō,” as we heard before, means ‘like’. chō.


Then “jān sāfee”…the word “jān” is something you hear often in Persian conversation, for instance, after someone’s name. So someone could call me leylā jān. This means something along the lines of ‘Leyla dear’, but the word jān literally means ‘life’ or ‘soul’. jān.


Then “sāfee,” this means a ‘colander’, or something that purifies. sāfee.


So in Persian, the word “sāf” means ‘straight’ or ‘pure’. sāf.


And a “sāfee,” like I said, could mean a ‘colander’, one of those kitchen tools that strains something and takes the impurities out. sāfee.


So “may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee." This means ‘I have a wine that is like a purifier of the soul’, so ‘the wine that purifies the soul’. may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee.

may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee

Then “ō soofee meekonad aybash.” “ō,” of course, means ‘and’. ō.


So this can be pronounced either as “ō” or as “va”; both are used often. va.


But here we have “ō”: “ō soofee meekonad aybash.” So “soofee” is the same word as in English, a Sufi, someone who practices Sufism, the mystical sect of Islam. soofee.


And I love that wordplay there- sāfee and soofee: sāfee, a colander or purifier, and then a soofee. So “soofee meekonad aybash.” “meekonad” is the present tense third person conjugation of ‘to do’. meekonad.


And “ayb” is the word for fault. ayb.


meekonad aybash” literally means ‘does fault with it’. The “-ash” shows that the ayb is referring to our subject, the may or the wine. So “meekonad aybash,” ‘does find fault with it’, the wine. meekonad aybash.

meekonad aybash

So the Sufi complains about it, find fault with it, says that it’s wrong. soofee meekonad aybash

soofee meekonad aybash

So the full sentence is I have a wine that is like a purifier of my soul, and the Sufi deems it wrong. may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee.

may-ee dāram chō jān sāfee

ō soofee meekonad aybash.

ō soofee meekonad aybash

All right, and the last part is: 

khodāyā heech āghel-rā mabādā bakhté bad roozee!

Okay, so this last sentence begins as a plea. He goes “khodāyā!”


And the word “khodā” by itself means ‘God’. khodā.


And “khodāyā” is basically calling out to God, like ‘oh God!’. khodāyā!


So Iranians will often say this when they’re exasperated, just like you would say in English ‘oh god!’ or ‘dear lord’, for example. khodāyā!


Then “heech āghel-.” So “heech” means ‘none’. heech.


And “āghel” simply means ‘wise’. āghel.


But it refers to a wise person. āghel.


So “heech āghel-” means ‘no wise person’. “-” is just a direct object marker, meaning we’re talking about a particular person, not just any generic person. heech āghel-.

heech āghel-

And then “mabādā bakht.” “mabādā” is a conjunction word and translates as ‘lest’ in English, but it’s a little complicated to translate. It’s like ‘to prevent something, lest this happens’.  mabādā.


And “bakht” means ‘fortune’ or ‘fate’. bakht.


Another way “bakht” is said in current conversation is “āghebat.” āghebat.


I would also translate this as ‘your future’, ‘your fate’. So again, bakht.


So ‘lest he give the fortune’, so ‘he mustn’t give the fortune’. mabādā bakht.

mabādā bakht

And, finally, “bad roozee.” “bad” means the same thing as in English: ‘bad’. bad.


And “roozee" means ‘days’. roozee.


So “mabādā bakhté bad roozee” means something along the lines of ‘lest he have the fortune of bad days’. So the full last line says ‘oh God, may no wise person be given the fortune of bad days!’. Now, Fared in his translation translated this last part as ‘oh God, all these enlightened ones, don't bestow upon them this misfortune of blindness!’

So in a way he was insinuating that the “āghel,” or ‘wise’, in this phrase isn’t really supposed to be taken literally, but rather as a kind of jab, like people who see themselves as enlightened. So in a way, this line is referring back to the Sufi of the last line, saying that this is a person who sees themselves as wise, but this person finds fault with something that is actually purifying. So ‘God, don’t give the wise person the misfortune of bad days, of thinking they’re enlightened but being so wrong!’ 

So that’s an interpretation, but I’m so curious to hear your thoughts after hearing the full selection. There’s so much to unpack in this poem, and I think that’s the beauty of Hafez; it can be interpreted in so many ways and applied to so many different situations. And you might find yourself in a new situation, and all of a sudden a line from Hafez comes to you, and you suddenly understand it in a new way. I think that’s quite common.

But with this, we have come to an end of our study of this poem. Now all that’s left is for you to memorize it completely, recite it for us, and, of course, share with us your thoughts. I can’t wait to see your submissions! 

As you know, you can listen to this entire poem line by line as read by my aunt Farnaz on the lesson page; we’ll have all that linked to on the show notes.

Thanks you so much for coming on this beautiful journey with me! Until next time, and until our next beautiful poem, khodāhāfez from Leyla.