Poetry /

Rumi's beshnō een nay

Part 2
بشنو این نی

In this lesson, we're going to go over the first four lines of the poem beshnō een nay, (also known as beshnō az nay- we explain this in the lesson) and learn the vocabulary and phrases associated with the poem. We also learn other vocabulary words related to the ones learned in this part of the poem. Translation by Persian Poetics.

beshnõ een nay chon shekāyat meekonad
Listen to this reed-flute, how it complains
بِشنو این نِی چون شِکایَت می‌کُند

az jodāyeehā hekāyat meekonad
it tells stories of separation pains
اَز جُدایی‌ها حِکایَت می‌کُند

kaz neyestān tā marā beboreedé-and
since they cut me away from the reedbed
کَز نِیِستان تا مَرا بِبُریده‌اَند

dar nafeeram mard ō zan nāleedand
men and women have cried into my head
دَر نَفیرم مَرد و زَن نالیدِه‌اند


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?)

Hello and welcome to Lesson 92 of Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation.My name is Leyla Shams, and this lesson is part 2 of our lesson about the very famous poem, ‘behsno een nay’ by rumi. In the last lesson, we talked to Muhammad Ali of Persian Poetics about the meaning of the poem- if you haven’t listened to that lesson yet, do so before listening to this one. In this lesson, we’re going to go over the first 2 lines of the poem, and learn the individual words and phrases as they relate to conversational Persian. The goal of these lessons is to add to your knowledge of the Persian language- so even though we’re learning poetry, we’re going to learn how to integrate that into spoken language as well. You can get the pdf guide and vocabulary list for this lesson at our website at www.chaiandconversation.com with CHAI spelled CHAI. All of our resources include the poem written in Persian script, and in phonetic English, so you can follow along even if you can’t read and write in Persian. In the bonus materials, you can also click on each individual word of the poem to hear it read out loud by a native speaker so you can get the pronunciation down. These resources are available to members of Chai and Conversation- if you’re not a member of Chai and Conversation already, you can try a membership for free for 30 days. Check out the website to get more information on that. Again it’s chaiandconversation.com with chai spelled CHAI. More on that after the lesson, for now, let’s learn some poetry!


So, in the last lesson, we went over the entirety of the poem, beshno een ney, and today, we’re going to go over the first four lines of the poem, and learn it word by word. So before we begin, we’re going to hear my aunt Farnaz recite the four lines of the poem for us. 

Behsno een nay chon shekayet meekonad

Az jodayeeha hekayat meekonad

Kaz neyestan mara beboreede-and

Dar nafeeram mard o zan naleedeand


All right, so this is the first four lines of the poem. By the end of the lesson, you’ll be a lot more confident in understanding all the words in this poem! So first, ‘beshno een nay’. Beshno is a command, and it means hear, and it’s in the second person informal. It’s not used in conversation too often, because it’s a bit of a passive form of listen. Usually in conversation if you want to tell someone to listen, you say ‘goosh kon’- this is more of a ‘listen’ in an active way vs. hear, in a more passive way. But here, it’s saying ‘beshno’- so a sound is taking place, and the speaker of the poem is commanding you to hear that sound. So take note, and beshno! Let’s repeat this together- beshno


Meaning to hear. And to command someone to listen, you’d say goosh kon-

(Goosh kon)

So, when I say a word, I’ll pause, and during that pause I want you to repeat it out loud. That’s the best way to learn a language- to engage in this way. And it’ll help you in the future, because our ultimate goal is to memorize this poem. So repeating it now with me will help you to do that. So again, Beshno


Meaning to hear. Ok, the full command is beshno een nay. Let’s say that together- beshno een nay

(Beshno een nay)

The word een means this. Een


And nay is the word for a reed flute, a very popular instrument in Iranian culture. Nay


Beshno een nay

(Behsno een nay)

And I thought we’d take a little pause here to just hear what the nay sounds like- it has a very unique and sweet sound

(clip of nay)

So that’s the nay. So again, behsno een nay

(Behsno een nay)

I also want to note that in some versions of this poem, this opening line is ‘beshno az nay’. Az is the word for from, so this slight change means ‘hear from the reed flute’. In different manuscripts of the poem, you can see either version. There are slight variations like this in different versions of the masnavi, and it’s impossible to know which is ‘right’, or even if there is an absolute ‘right’ version. So this is the version we’ve chosen to go with. Beshno een nay. So one last time. Beshno een nay

(Beshno een nay)

And the next part is chon shekayat meekonad. So the word chon means because. Chon


And shekayat meekonad is a compound verb and it means to complain. Shekayat meekonad

(Shekayat meekonad)

So we have a lot of these compound verbs in the Persian language, where you have to put two words together to form the verb. So first, the word shekayat, it means complaint. Shekayat


And meekonad by itself means it does. So meekonad


So together, it means something like ‘it does a complaint’. We’ll see meekonad used in the same compound verb way in the next two lines, so we’ll have a second example of the compound verb. But meekonad let’s us know it’s happening in the present. So it’s currently in the state of complaining. Shekayat meekonad

(Shekayat meekonad)

So the full sentence is beshno een nay, chon shekayat meekonad. So listen to this reed flute, because it’s complaining, or because it does complain. Behsno een nay, chon shekayat meekonad.

(Beshno een nay, chon shekayat meekonad)

Now please note, if you’re following along with our pdf guides, and see the official translation Muhammad Ali of Persia Poetics provided for us, it’s going to be a little different than the way I’m translating right now. Because right now, we’re just focused on straight up vocabulary and understanding the words and phrases. In the translation Muhammad Ali provided, he’s concentrating on making a poetic translation, so translating the meaning and the feeling of the poem. So sometimes it’s a little different- like here he’s saying ‘hear from this reed-flute and how it complains’. The literal translation is what I’m saying here, hear this reed flute because it does complain. Ok, so one more time- beshno een nay, chon shekayat meekonad

(Beshno een nay, chon shekayat meekonad.)

All right! Now let’s move to the next line. First let’s hear my aunt read it:

(Az jodayeeha hekayat meekonad.)

Ok, first, the word az is a very simple one and used all the time in conversation. It means from. Az


And jodayee means separation. Jodayee


And adding the ha at the end makes it plural. Separations- jodayeeha


You might remember the movie that won the foreign language Oscar a few years back, called ‘a separation’. The title in Persian was actually ‘jodayeeyeh naser va seemeen’ which means ‘the separation of Nader and Simin’. So jodayee


And again, to make it plural, it’s jodayeeha


And next, hekayat meekonad means ‘it tells a tale’ and it’s in the present tense. Hekayat meekonad

(Hekayat meekonad)

So I’d mentioned we’d have another compound verb in this section, and this is it. Hekayat meekonad is a compound verb just like shekayat meekonad, or complains.  The word hekayat by itself means tale. And hakayat meekonad means, it’s in the act of taleing, for example. Hekayat meekonad

(Hekayat meekonad)

Hekayat is one of those words that isn’t really used in conversation much these days. A more common term for tale would be a story or dastan


Ok, let’s repeat this full second line- 

(Az jodayeeha hekayat meekonad)

All right, let’s listen to my aunt read the first two lines, and then we’ll repeat them after

Behsno een nay chon shekayet meekonad

Az jodayeeha hekayat meekonad

All right, now let’s repeat these two lines together-

Beshno een nay chon shekayat meekonad

Beshno een nay chon shekayat meekonad

Az jodayeeha hekayat meekonad

Az jodayeeha hekayat meekonad

All right! Now let’s listen to the next two lines.

Kaz neyestan mara beboreede-and

Dar nafeeram mard o zan naleedeand

I do want to pause here and say in the reading of this poem, my aunt and many others read this line as ta mara bobreedeand, and this is the way to read it in the poem to make the rhyme and meter work. However, the word comes from boreedan which means ‘to cut’, so in conversational Persian, this would sound more like beboreedeand. Many people, including Muhammad Ali of Persian Poetics, say it this way when reading the poem as well, and that’s how we’re going to learn it here- ta mara beboreedeand. Ok, let’s go over this line word by word-

So this first word- k’az is actually a combination of two different words- keh and az. Keh means that. Keh


And az, like we learned a minute ago, means from. Az


So to make the rhythm of the poem work, rumi combined them into ‘k’az’ k’az


So that’s super simple. Next word is neyestan. Neyestan


So we know the word ney from the first part, it means reed flute. Ney


And estan should be a familiar word- think Afghanistan Tajikistan, khazakistan- estan means land of. So in the case of those countries, Afghanistan is the land of afghans. Tajikistan is land of tajiks, and so on. Neyestan is a reed bed, or literally, land of reeds- so a place that is plentiful of reeds. Neyestan


So a place where there are many reeds. Neyestan


Next is the word ta, and let’s look at that word in context of the full phrase-  ta mara beboreedand

(Ta mara beboreedand)

So ta here is a preposition. It could mean a lot of things in different contexts, like until, or to, but here, the more correct translation is ‘as soon as’ . So ta


Next is the word mara. So this is a combination of two different words, man and ra. Man is the word for me. Man


And ra is what we call a direct object marker. This is a complicated subject, and we cover it in detail in lesson 8 of our speaking series in Chai and Conversation. But in this case, mara beboreedand means they cut me. means they cut. Beboreedand


So ra in this case connects man, or me, with the action beboreedand, or they cut. So it’s connecting the two- man ra beboreedand- what did they cut? Me! And that’s connected by that direct object marker- so it’s marking man as the object. Man ra beboreedand, and man ra gets reduced to mara


So let’s say all this together- mara beboreedand

(Mara beboreedand)

Now let’s say the full line together- k’az neyestan ta mara beboreedand

(K’az neyestan ta mara beboreedand)

And so in this context it means- as soon as they cut me from the reed bed. So again, the full line is – k’az neyestan ta mara beboreedand

Next is ‘dar nafeeram mard o zan naleede-and’

All right! So dar is the word for in. Dar


The next word, nafeeram is not one you hear very often in spoken Persian. In this case, nafeer means the internals of an instrument, so the inside of the reed flute. Nafeer


To say my inside, you say ‘nafeeram’, you add that ‘am’. So again, nafeeram


Dar nafeeram- in my insides. Dar nafeeram

(Dar nafeeram)

Next, mard o zan- now these are very common words we hear all the time. Mard means man, as in the male gender. Mard


And zan is the word for woman- zan


And o that connects them is simply and- o


Another word for and is va


But you hear both in conversation all the time- o 


And va


Ok so together- mard o zan

(Mard o zan)

And you’ll remember from our last discussion from Lesson 91 that in Persian, we actually don’t have pronouns. So you have to go out of your way to point out whether someone is a male or female, and that’s what the poet has done here- they’re pointed out that they are talking about men and women specifically. So mard o zan

(Mard o zan)

And the last word in this line is naleedeand. This means ‘they’ve wailed or cried’. Naleedeand


So the full sentence, dar nafeeram mard o zan naleede-and means in my interior, men and women have wailed. Let’s say this together- dar nafeeram mard o zan naleedeand. 

Dar nafeeram mard o zan naleedeand. 

So now let’s listen to both of these lines together, read by my aunt again,

Kaz neyestan mara beboreede-and

Dar nafeeram mard o zan naleedeand

And hopefully now you understood both of these lines. Now, we’re going to listen to both the full section we’ve learned together today:

Behsno een nay chon shekayet meekonad

Az jodayeeha hekayat meekonad

Kaz neyestan mara beboreede-and

Dar nafeeram mard o zan naleedeand

And one more time, let’s repeat it together, line by line.

(Behsno een nay chon shekayet meekonad

Az jodayeeha hekayat meekonad

Kaz neyestan mara beboreede-and

Dar nafeeram mard o zan naleedeand)

All right! So, the assignement for this week is to check out the pdf guide for this lesson, and start memorizing these first four lines. You can find the bonus materials for this lesson at chaiandconversation.com/lesson92 – there you can sign up for a free 30 day trial membership to our website to get access to the bonus materials, which include the pdf guide, and the ability to listen to this poem line by line or even word by word. That’s the best way to learn, to repeat these words and phrases out loud. We’re going to have two more lessons coming up that go over each individual word and phrase of this poem, and by the end, you’ll have learned the whole poem, and received a whole slew of words and phrases you can add to your toolbelt when speaking the Persian language.

So that’s it for now- thanks so much for listening to Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation. This episode was edited by Chadwick Wood and our theme music is by Bobak Rajabi. I’m your host, Leyla Shams, and until next time,