by Hafez for Beginners


"Plant the tree of friendship and reap its benefits

Unpluck the seeds of discontent that brings endless strife"


Often it takes the foreigner to worship us, while we as Iranians engage in cat-and-dog fights, not always, but often. I once had a student tell me: "Listen, Hafez was just another poet - stop worshipping the man." Goethe's love for Hafez was deep and profound, being one of the first in the West to recognize Hafez's true spiritual and poetic status. The life-embracing approach that Hafez took on as a priority, was during an era that was rife with challenges, occupations, invasions, you name it. This (today) is not Iran's first time going through such challenges, and I often wonder how many of us are learning the lessons of how to cope. The real artist that Hafez was, he did not resort to mud-slinging, and dug deeper, much deeper - and left us with a transcendent Divan.

In the year 2,000 Weimar, Germany honored "Hafez's twin" - that's how Goethe referred to himself, with the below monument. Two simple chairs carved out of stone, facing each other. Goethe too, recognized the danger of toxic ramblings and endless fights:

"When the sore oppressed complains 

None will help or hope afford

For his healing still remains

Virtue in a kindly word."  - Goethe (Book of Maxims: IX)

I love today's Beyt that I'm sharing with you, about Friendship vs. Enmity. Hafez telling us to nourish "friendships" and once faced with toxins, to unpluck them lest they grow into endless strife. "Good word, Good thought, Good deed" sounds simple, but is resonates much deeper than its surface value. And I always remind my students that if we think things are challenging in Iran's history now, it would be disrespectful to forget what the Mongol invasions inflicted on societies - and yet, I often wonder what Hafez would be doing on this site. Come and throw mud? At times, there's so much mud on Iranian.com that diving in you need a face mask, and somehow I doubt Hafez would do the same. That is surely one of the attributes that made him grand and what continues to keep him in the anals of spiritual inspiration! Here's to us remembering the priceless lesson that I continue to learn from every day.


"Learning form Hafez in DC" (YouTube):





Recently by Hafez for BeginnersCommentsDate
HAFEZ: Joe Biden
Oct 13, 2012
HAFEZ: Et si tu n'existais pas
Oct 06, 2012
HAFEZ: Omar Khayyam and "Koozeh.gar"
Sep 30, 2012
more from Hafez for Beginners
iraj khan


by iraj khan on

Thanks for your interesting take on 'life' through Hafez.

How we 'are' and we 'act'

in contrast with 'how would Hafez wanted us to be or act'.

You stated our antagonism against the 'other' .. grow into endless strife"

Isn't this last one a part of the ancient Persians' culture, the belief in the constant war between the Good (Ahora Mazda) and the Evil (Ahriman)?

It's hard to stay quiet in the face of injustice, especially when it comes to Israel's efforts to 'annihilate' Iran (as Gunter Grass puts it) through airtight sanctions, bombardment and invasion.

This is how Ahriman acts.

What would Hafez do?

Anonymous Observer

Interesting Iran related news article about Gunter Grass

by Anonymous Observer on

Anahid Hojjati

thanks Soosan Khanoom for the beautiful poem

by Anahid Hojjati on

the way you know some people are really not into science is when they bring example of anusheh. she did a wonderful tourist activity but she was no astronaut. now a real student of science would be able to distinguish between an astronaut and someone who goes to space more like a tourist.

Soosan Khanoom

I believe Afsaneh meant Hafez here

by Soosan Khanoom on

And the fact that he is much more ancient than the Noble Prize business.   Otherwise, I am pretty sure she is well aware of the Noble prize winners in the literature and their 

By the way,  my favorite among them all is the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda ..  

He saw the Spanish Civil War first hand and that's when he wrote the following poem, 

"I Explain A Few Things"

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?
I'll tell you all the news.

I lived in a suburb,
a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
and clocks, and trees.

From there you could look out
over Castille's dry face:
a leather ocean.
My house was called
the house of flowers, because in every cranny
geraniums burst: it was
a good-looking house
with its dogs and children.
Remember, Raul?
Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember
from under the ground
my balconies on which
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
Brother, my brother!
loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
pile-ups of palpitating bread,
the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue
like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:
oil flowed into spoons,
a deep baying
of feet and hands swelled in the streets,
metres, litres, the sharp
measure of life,
stacked-up fish,
the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which
the weather vane falters,
the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,
wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.

And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings —
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children's blood.

Jackals that the jackals would despise,
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate!

Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives!

see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull's eye of your hearts.

And you'll ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood

In the streets! 




AO and Fesenjoon

by Truthseeker9 on

You articulated your views well. Don't allow people to silence your views.



by Fesenjoon2 on

My friend,

Seeing that half the people on IC are either openly insulting us, "humiliating" us (!), or furiously demanding our voices to be banned, I can only surmise that we're doing a much better job than just a small dent! 

Have a happy Sizdeh!  


Anonymous Observer


by Anonymous Observer on

I gotta tell you dude, every single time that I think about that whole Anousheh Ansari thing, I cheer up.  It's just such an afront to the old Iranian patriarchial culture for a woman to be the first Iranian in space.  Just absolutely delightful!

An an aside, I have to also reietrate my abundant joy in seeing you sign up on IC again.  I am sure that together we will be able to put a small dent in the annoying Iranian phenomenon of phony self aggrandizement. 


Indeed women do rock!

by Fesenjoon2 on

Especially those in Science!

Ive always found the interviews of Charlie Rose with the the presidents of MIT, Princeton, and Harvard (all women) very enlightening.

My top student this semester is a Hispanic young woman. She put all the yabbering boys to shame with her midterm score.

Our library has an original copy of a Lise Meitner manuscript in their rare book collection. I'm planing to bring that manuscript to show to my students next week, to emphasize just how influential women have been in the history of science. 

I love the fact that our first ever astronaut was a woman too. And that she funded the X-prize award for the first private space flight. Light years ahead of our men. 

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Anahid is right

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I agree and if this is the way IC wants to go then fine. Not sure about the multiple IDs but just one ID is bad enough. The hate spewed from AO and Fesenjoon is enough to turn anyone's stomach.

It is a broken record which just repeats hate; and more of it. We got a few who are pushing out all other people. 

I never thought I'd say it but please ban them. 

G. Rahmanian

Let's not forget!

by G. Rahmanian on

Let's not forget Japan's democracy was imposed on it as a result of its defeat in 2nd World War. Japan's post-war constitution was also written by American experts.

Anonymous Observer

I know COP jaan...I know

by Anonymous Observer on


Not only Vietnam, but Japan

by Cost-of-Progress on

After 2 devastating thermonuclear detonations on their soil by the Americans, today Japan is a formidable economic power with US as one of the main consumers of their products- Japan has no oil or other marketable natural resources other than her people.

We only know how to bitch and complain and blame everybody else for our troubles. We have allowed a bunch of asswipes to beat us over the head as they work to erase our very national identity from the pages of history. Our "alternatives" are Tudeh and MEK; two equally miserable choices that will further push us into oblivion.

Congrats people.

Do Not Shoot Me

The process is highly selective by the Western Universities.

by Do Not Shoot Me on

Each year the respective Nobel Committees send individual invitations to thousands of members of academies, university professors, scientists from numerous countries, previous Nobel Laureates, members of parliamentary assemblies and others, asking them to submit candidates for the Nobel Prizes for the coming year. These nominators are chosen in such a way that as many countries and universities as possible are represented over time.

Anonymous Observer

In fact, looking at the list

by Anonymous Observer on

it looks as if Iran is one of the only countries in the world that has NOT won any Nobel prizes.  I was going to say Iran and Bangladesh, but it looks like even Bangladesh has a Nobel prize under its belt.

We are, however, very good at other things, such as: beating our chests and slashing our foreheads on Ashura.  We got that one down to a science.  If there's ever a Nobel category for that, we will certainly win it.  We're also good at hating Jews and coming up with conspiracy theories involving Jews.  Oh, we're also very good at holding grudges.  We still hate the U.S. for something that happened in 1953, when even Vietnam has let go of its hate for the U.S. for Darwin's sake.     

Anonymous Observer

Greeks and Egyptians have won Nobel prizes :-))

by Anonymous Observer on

for Greeks, both literature.  Both were poets! :-)

for Egyptians, one of which was for literature!

And no "Rome" exists today.  But Italians have won twenty Nobel prizes, six of which were for literature:


Totally unrelated: women do rock!!! That being said, it's bad form to play the race / sex card when you think that you may be on the losing end of an argument.  In other words, what does being a woman / men have to do with this particular argument?

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


to see AO gloating about kicking someone out. What a kind; gentle person.

Hafez for Beginners

MERCI Hamegi

by Hafez for Beginners on

Thanks for your posts.

Thanks especially to those who come on a poetry Blog, who actually enjoy poetry! (Soosan Khanoum + Anahid especially.) Sorry men, but Iranian women rock!! The Persian epic "Shahnameh" has 50 heroines:  vs. None in the Greek Illiyad and Odyssey. Go figure. (Learnt this amazing fact at a lecture by Dick Davis - the Ferdowsi scholar whose done a brilliant job of translating Persian literature, and currently lectures at Ohio University. ) You two ladies brought up some wonderfully inspired, intelligent  points. Barikalla! I'm learning a lot from you both!

"poetry not being a big deal":
Post of that nature here -  well firstly, darlings, post somewhere else that is a "big deal" to you. As for the Nobel Prize  theory - that Iran hasn't won any,  it's only a 100 year old award !! What a silly comment. How many Greeks or Romans or Egyptians for that matter have won? Does that negate their astonishing culture and indeispensible contribution to human society?  Really, such silly, silly  comments. Finally, someone said: "Poetry doesn't need as much time as a Science paper to write." That final comment, I don't even have an answer for.

Thanks everyone, again! And ladies: 
incase you didn't know it already - you ROCKED IT !! 

Anonymous Observer

So, rtayebi1 got blocked after his abusive and profane comment

by Anonymous Observer on

was flagged by yours truely.  I'm sure that he will show up now under another username and will claim that he is some sort of a victim of a vast Zionist conspiracy on IC.  

Seriously, why would you write such an obscene comment, knowing the rules of the site?  Do you hate my comment that much?!!!  Why don't you just respond to it without the profanity?  What, you think I'm not going to flag the profanity that you direct at me?!!

Anonymous Observer


by Anonymous Observer on

It's the serration inside the beak that you felt.  Many waterfowl have it.  It gives them the ability to catch slippery fish.  They do feel like teeth though.

As far as how they find their way, there are all kinds of crazy theories out there.  But the one that I, and many others, subsrcibe to is the basic and most simple explanation.  I believe that they follow landmarks and, at times, the stars.  The "maps" are learned, not instinctive.  They fly over recognized routes that they have been taught by previous generations.  There's a lot of research that back up the theory.   And you can also see the problems that arise with that technique, the most common one of which is getting lost.  They make mistakes sometimes and end up in unfamiliar territoroes.  Kind of sad and funny at the same time.  Sad because you see this out of place flock of birds lost and wondering in a daze on some farm, or desert, in the middle of nowehere at the wrong time of the year.  And funny because...well, for the same reasons.  

Anahid Hojjati

AO, don't worry

by Anahid Hojjati on

ic has many engineers among its readers and they will enjoy it (we actuallyl) if you blog about science. as far as taking time to write about science, don't worry either. you will enjoy it.



by Fesenjoon2 on

I actually got bit by one once! And I kept thinking that I felt some teeth when I was being bit. And they did hiss too.

Still. I think they are magnificent creatures. 

Whats interesting to me is their collective decision-making processes. How do they decide to go where and when? Do they form a consensus? Do they follow a flock leader? Or is Rupert Sheldrake's theory about "Morphic Resonance" valid (although quite bizarre)? If not, how the hell do they determine these patterns? Magnetic field lines? Pressure gradients? Is it by memory? 

In my next life, I'll pick vet med or zoology as my career. Much more rewarding. 

Anonymous Observer

Fesenjoon - just don't get too close to them when they have the

by Anonymous Observer on

little ones with them.  They can get pretty nasty, and will actually attack you.  They do this hissing sound first as a warning, and then attack if you continue to come at them when they are with the gooslings.  They have a pretty big (and powerful) wingspan also.

Although the populations are healthy and thriving, there have been some anamolies in their migration patterns that are being looked at.  Food source issues perhaps?  Don't know yet.  They're back in the Northeast though. They have impressive migration routes.  They can go as south as Mexico in the winter and as north as Alaska in the spring / summer.   



by Fesenjoon2 on

migration pattern of Canadian Geese?

That's actually a fascinating subject, I think.

Not to mention that they are lovely creatures as well:


And youre right. The manuscript I just submitted this week for publication is barely 12 pages long, but is the result of 2 years of experiments and planing. I come here for entertainment as well.  



by Fesenjoon2 on

I never said I'm against poetry

Please read AO's post on this thread written below on That is exactly the position I hold as well.

Secondly, please dont make things personal. Did I ever disrespect you? :-(

If youre interested in the aforementioned topics (QM, free will, Bells Theorem, brain-physics, etc), I'd be happy to see you participate in the following thread for a more detailed discussion:


Anonymous Observer

You actually bring up a good point Anahid

by Anonymous Observer on

Those of us involved in scientific fields realize that putting together a scientific paper on any given subject takes an enormous amount of time.  Anywhere from a few days to a few years, depending on the subject and the issue involved.  That is why you don't see people spweing scientific research material on IC.  For someone to come up with such a presentation on IC, one needs to devote a few days to it, and we really don't have that kind of time to waste on what is really entertainment on a social site.  Plus, who really wants to read my presentation on migration pattern of Canadian Geese?!!

Poetry, on the other hand, does not require such effort.  One can come up with one in a matter of hours (or less).  Perhaps that's how it fits so well with our culture.  I mean 'ki hoseleh dareh baba" to do research and entertain a bit of cursiosity.  Those things are not really rewarded in our culture.  We are a nation of afternoon naps in the middle of other people in this world consider working hours. It's not your fault, or any one else's fault for that matter.  It's how our culture has evolved.  We are not an industrious people, nor are we a curious people.  Our curiosity is limited to "irfan," which involves nothing more than sitting on our rear ends, drinking wine and smoking "taryak."  

Anahid Hojjati


by Anahid Hojjati on

 I am still waiting for some science related blogs from you and/or Fesenjoon1/2/ . The reason we suck in some fields is because many of us are complainers like you.

Anonymous Observer

The real irony here

by Anonymous Observer on

is that despite the fact that our culture has been consumed by poetry for hundreds of years, we have been unable to produce a single Nobel prize winner in literature!! 


Those blue eyed monsters have beaten us in our game too.  How ironic!!  At least the British and the German have notable scientists.  Wait a minute. It looks like the Germans also have a Nobel prize winning poet:


There must be a Zionist conspiracy there somewhere to keep the great Iranian nation from reaching its yet dormant potential in poetry. :-) 

PS- You just have to admit it:  we suck at everything, and it's no one else's fault but our own. 

Soosan Khanoom

Thanks Anahid

by Soosan Khanoom on

I should also add that the entire Gene Expression Phenomenon  by itself is pure poetry .. I shall write more on that 

Afsaneh, as Anahid mentioned, thanks for the blog...

: )  

Anahid Hojjati

Fesenjoon, rather than writing another comment against poetry

by Anahid Hojjati on

why don't you write couple blogs about all the thorems that you wrote. I don't remmeber ever reading a blog from you on any of these:

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Bell's Theorem, gene expression, and neuronal neoplasticity and how it relates to free will and reality,

Honestly, I doubt you know much about any of them. Real scientists or even those who have spent time studying science, don't waste time writing against poetry. They know that poetry helps imagination and imagination helps in science. The fact that you write against poetry indicates that you don't know much about science.

Thanks Afsaneh for your blog. Indeed Goethe admired Hafez.


Soosan Khanoom

Anything can be used as a tool to feed the ego of a dictator

by Soosan Khanoom on

icluding poetry... so what?

Don't forget that in the sphere of modern technologies and science Germany was far ahead of its basic war enemies. Should we all hate science for that? 

"The contributions of science brought great suffering during the Third Reich: biologists created an aggressive program of human genetics and eugenics, a program that was used to justify the murder of "undesirables;" engineers designed sophisticated rockets that brought destruction on Britain; physicists attempted to build nuclear weapons, and chemists and physicians participated in the efficient working machinery of genocide............  The myth that science is "pure" and value-free is assailed by Diane B. Paul, who argues in her article that distinguished geneticist Hans Nachtsheim, like other scientists in the 1930's and 1940's, never felt responsible for the perversion of genetics research. His zeal for eugenics (the study of heredity), led him to conduct vile experiments on helpless youngsters, and to condone even worse experiments conducted by colleagues. He did not consider himself a Nazi, and saw his research as leading to the elimination of many diseases. Ms. Paul uses the geneticist's life to examine the relationship between amorality and immorality.