HAFEZ: Polo and Ralph Lauren


HAFEZ: Polo and Ralph Lauren
by Hafez for Beginners

NEWS: There was controversy in the news yesterday - that Polo the clothing company, who has issued the official US Olympic opening ceremony outfits, has had them all manufactured in China. US team parading out proudly in Chinese outfits, essentially. The company at this stage is promising not to do this for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

POLO and ISFAHAN: As a lover of Isfahan, the story took me to the Maidan-eh Naghsh-eh Jahan (image of the world)  square - one of the largest urban squares in the world. A majestic place. Designed in the 1600s under Shah Abbas's reign. The Maidan/square is also one of the oldest Polo fields in history. 4 monuments are located on each side of this public square, one being the Shah's palace (Ali Qapu) - from which polo matches would be watched. The marble goal posts still stand on either side of the Maidan. In the photo collage I've tried to include a beautiful miniature I recently came across, that has players on horses playing Polo in Maidan-eh Naghsh-eh Jahan.

Polo is a national Persian sport - at least 2500 years old - and women as well as men played the sports all the way back to Cyrus's era. I've often wondered if Ralph Lauren knows this. Or whether he knows the oldest Polo field, that doubles as a beautiful urban square, is situated in Isfahan, Iran. I think of this each time the Polo logo flashes in front of my eyes. Of course, I also think of how good we as Iranians are  at PR (public relations) - that the world knows all that is awful about us, with so little that is so incredible? (And I don't blame any political this or that. I actually blame ourselves for falling victim to the 24/7 negative narratives)

HAFEZ, COOPERATION and POLO: Of course, this is a HAFEZ blog, and I wanted to share with you a Beyt (couplet) where Hafez also transports us to the Polo field. Again, it was a national sport. Here - the Beyt belongs to a poem that is all about friendship and cooperation having been lost in society. It made me think of the greed that also makes cooperating with the American factory worker, history - while proudly having US athletes wear a "US" brand. Cooperation has a multi faceted sense to it, and when reading of the news yesterday - my mind went to Hafez. 

گوی توفیق و کرامت در میان افکنده اند

کس به میدان در نمی آید سواران را چه شد 

The ball/sphere of benevolence and cooperation is rolling out on the pitch

But no one comes to play -  riders have all but disappeared

Conditions for life are a given in life. It's humanity that chooses to "cooperate" in those conditions or not. The ball is right there on the pitch, but no one comes out to play. It's humanity that has chosen not to - that chooses to put greed before benevolence. The poem was written during a possible Mongol invasion in 14th century Iran. But 700 years later, a factory worker in the US who lost his job to China - while the product is all about being "American" - might be uttering the same dialogue in his head.

Afsaneh Mirfendereski

Link to "Learning from Hafez in Washington, DC":




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Dear Afsaneh

by anglophile on

After your penultimate comment on this blog, I decided not to bother you any further with my 'fault finding' observations, after all, I couldn't dream of causing you any hurt by my comments. This is why I decided to stay away from your subsequent blogs.

The piece I quoted from Hafez refers to us both. You were obviously hurt by thinking that Demo and I may have stolen your blog by breaking into our own exchanges without making references to you (which was by no means our intention) and I felt aggrieved by your sudden outburst. Our takes on  Hafez, while common in most parts, differ in others but I don't see why such differences should cause any hurt.

I therefore hold my peace while you are speaking your piece.


Best wishes,



Hafez for Beginners


by Hafez for Beginners on

Mamour: Thanks for the generous grade - it makes me happy that it made you that happy.

Khaleh Mosheh: Glad you're enjoying the posts. :- ))

IranLovesIsrael: It's OK to deter folks not to come and hog the blog, but let's remember not to just criticize those we don't like, who do this. Technically, it should apply to all, at least in my book. But thanks for the note!

Yolanda: You are so right! I have noticed that most Ralph Lauren stores also have the most exquisite Persian carpets in their stores. I live close to one, and going in is often a cure for homesickness. One day we'll know what this is about - for now, I'll just assume the man has great aesthetic taste!

Anglophile: I'm a little dense and couldn't figure out who is doing the "sokhan'eh khashen" in your post - but... the feeling of your post is peaceful.


"and of course ..."

by anglophile on

صبحدم مرغ چمن با گل نوخاسته گفت

ناز کم کن که در این باغ بسی چون تو شکفت

گل بخندید که از راست نرنجیم ولی

هیچ عاشق سخن سخت به معشوق نگفت



غزل ۸۱  



by yolanda on

Here is a Ralph Lauren Persian Poet society rug bed sheet cover! It is selling for a whopping $440!


Here is Ralph Lauren's Persian fabric selling for $464:


Persian Patterned Ralph Lauren Polo tie:


The guy must be interested in Persian stuff!


khaleh mosheh

Dear Afsaneh

by khaleh mosheh on

It almost goes without saying- great blog. Hafez is a rich source of wisdom and your blogs a great way to study his masterpieces.

Dear Mehrban-Thank you- Im around often but less chance of getting engaged in the discussion. Good to know that I have friends here. hope we can chat soon.


Mamoor, instead of spending time on other people's blogs and


effectively ruining them why don't you and Demo do something to bring Mousa69 back?

Shlomo loves Mousa.



by مآمور on

That is the grade for your blog!!your blog has created a fantastic atmosphere where one, like me with little knowledge in literature, can learn one or two things!!respectful and informative. 

In my previous comment, I joked with my dear friends demo and anglo. As u know, the farsi language beside being sweet, it could get funny too!!I know, u would not like it, it some times gets too irresistible for me and I apologize for it!!

I wear an Omega watch


And of course

by Demo on

Your point is well taken Dear Afsaneh. Expressing sincere apology in breaching the rules. This will never happen again on my part. Thanks a lot for your much inspiring work. Regards.

Hafez for Beginners

and of course...

by Hafez for Beginners on

and of course... this isn't my website and I can't set the rules- but "Demo/Anglophile" I do come here to read up about posts specifically about the subject of the Blog.
I'm delighted a new private converstaion has popped up between the two of you - but this is a 3rd party's Blog and I hope it wouldn't be too impolite to ask if you could kindly do it on perhaps a new Blog that you yourselves can start?

I've never understood it on this site - when 2 people conduct personal conversations, even addressing each other, but on another 3rd persons Blog. Maybe it's just me, but  I've never gotten that. Common courtesy. I hope you understand. Yours respectfully,  Afsaneh


جناب فاضل گرامی انگلو فیل



صد هزاران گل شکفت و بانگ مرغی برنخاست  

گفتید آنچه را که حافظ در دل داشت و از برای آیندگان فاضل خود بجا گذاشت. به امید فرا آموزی بیشتر در آینده. با تشکری دیگر.

Hafez for Beginners

personal thanks

by Hafez for Beginners on

Demo: You're welcome.

Mamour: I honestly didn't understand your 2nd post - but enjoyed the title of your first post. I actually think Ralph Lauren is a talented designer, and I was simply curious as to his knowledge of the Persian heritage vis-a-vis Polo. 

Khaleh Mosheh: the link didn't come through, nice of you to post it, though - Folks can find it on iTunes also. Glad you enjoy the poem.

Shazdeh: Hafez has taught me a lot - and the final line of this poem, is one of the most poignant pieces of advice I've ever come across.

Anahid: Pheobe was my favorite "friend" and I totally remember that episode - especially her oblivious line: "Who's the silver fox?" when she saw a photo of Ralph Lauren. Like always, it was hysterical (I adored her)!

Anglophile: Thanks for the nuanced vocabulary lesson. If you came to our gatherings, I would recommend letting it go a little, and enjoy the spirit of the conversation at hand. Sometimes your fault-finding hurts my feelings, especially as you have often in no way been touched (positive or negative)by the bigger picture of the intention of the Blog. 

Albaloo: It's always nice seeing you.

Mehrban: I'd missed Khaleh Mosheh, too.

Zendanian: Thanks for posting the poem. The last line is deeply moving.


Hafez for Beginners


by Hafez for Beginners on

I enjoyed all these comments.

The aim of the Blog was to look at the concept of "Cooperation" - or the "lack" of cooperation - the theme of the poem the quote is from. Whether it is cooperating with an American factory worker when promoting the "American" brand - or cooperating in society, in Hafez's case one invaded by various outsiders.  "Polo" had come up in the Ralph Lauren story, and as a way of expressing my personal stream of consciousness - I was transported to the deserted "Polo" match that is used as a symbol in Hafez's couplet. And then an opportunity came up to expand on the history of Polo, the Naghsheh Jahan square in Isfahan etc. This was all conceived in a short few moments, before I sat down and shared them properly on this site. It's not easy just putting yourself out there. So forgive the "Karam" vs. "Karim" slip up///

Perfecting a vocabulary lesson - was not the gyst - although, thank you for those comments, too. In our gatherings, I smile on those who are getting the spirit of the conversation - rather than those focused on  whether or not Karam is "benevolence" - which in most translations, it is, for example. Hafez himself has many a quote for those who focus on less significant detail and miss the joy of the big picture. The comments quoting from dictionaries, had very little to say about the actual theme of the Blog. And that's always sad for me to witness. "Dude needs to chill and not be obsessed with finding fault, at the expense of his own joy of experiencing a bigger picture experience."

I did love sharing the big picture of my stream of consciousness in this piece with you. From Cooperation, to Polo the outfitter, from the deserted Polo field, and to  Hafez, all via the beauty of  Isfahan and beyond. Some of you got it, that is always an honor and a touching experience. 



یاری اندر کس نمیبینم یاران را چه شد


یاری اندر کس نمیبینم یاران را چه شد
دوستی کی آخر آمد دوستداران را چه شد
آب حیوان تیره گون شد خضر فرخ پی کجاست
گل بگشت از رنگ خود باد بهاران را چه شد
کس نمی گوید که یاری داشت حق دوستی
حقشناسان را چه حال افتاد یاران را چه شد
شهر یاران بود و خاک مهربانان این دیار
مهربانی کی سرآمد شهر یاران را چه شد
لعلی از کان مروت بر نیامد سالهاست
تابش خورشید و سعی باد و باران  را چه شد
گوی توفیق و کرامت در میان افگنده اند
کس به میدان در نمی آید سواران را چه شد
صد هزارن گل شکفت و بانگ مرغی برنخاست
عندلیبان را چه پیش آمد هزاران را چه شد
زهره سازی خوش نمیسازد مگر عودش بسوخت
کس ندارد ذوق مستی میگساران را چه شد
حافظ اسرار الهی کس نمی داند خموش
از که میپرسی که دور روزگاران را چه شد


دوست محترم جناب دمو



البته بقول حافظ که می‌گوید:

در حریم نکته دانان خود فروشی شرط نیست 

یا سخن دانشته گو‌ای مرد بخرد یا  خموش 

بنده به خود اجازه اظهار فضل در حضور نکته دانانی نظیر شما، خانم میرفندرسکی و استاد سعادت نوری نمیدهم  ولی‌ چون  مقرر فرمودید همین اندازه می‌گویم که غزلیات حافظ همانند آیات مبارکه قرانی که  شأن نزول دارند آنها نیز شأن سرود دارند و هریک به دلیل خاصی‌ سروده شده‌اند. در این زمینه مرحوم قاسم غنی تحقیقات ارزنده‌ای کرده اند که بنده به آن استناد می‌کنم. غزل موجود در زمانی‌ سروده شده که شاه منصور مظفر که از آخرین شاهان ال مظفر و خواهر زاده بزرگترین حامی‌ حافظ  یعنی شاه شجاع می‌‌بوده در پیکار با تیمور گورکانی به یکایک حکام محلی و شهزادگان مظفری و حتی به سلطان عثمانی نامه فرستاده و از آنها در مصاف با تیمور "یاری" می‌‌طلبد ولی‌ هیچ یک از آنها به او پاسخ مثبت نمی‌‌دهند و در نتیجه این شاه جسور یک تنهٔ و با لشکر نابرابری به جنگ با تیمور رفته و در نبردی که به ظهر عاشورا تشبیه میشود شکست خرده و کشته می‌‌شود و تیمور تمامی شهزادگان مظفری را گردن زده و بر باقی‌ ایران مسلط می‌‌شود. 

غزل موجود بسیار غم انگیز است و در سال پایانی زندگی‌ حافظ سروده شده چون حافظ که پیش بینی‌ فتح برای شاه منصور کرده بود سه سال قبل از کشته شدن شاه منصور از جهان رفته بود.

با عرض معذرت از اطاله کلام. 




Shajarian- Bidad

by Zendanian on


خاله موش


 کجا بودی؟




به غیر از باغ شمیران، چند دستگاه آپارتمان در تهران و چند هکتار زمین در سواحل دریا کاسپین .......برداشت دیگری ندارند!!! 

I wear an Omega watch


جناب انگلو فیل


با تشکر از زحمت شما اگر چند خطی هم از برداشت خود از این شعر حافظ مرقوم میفرمودید مرحمت خود را افزونتر مینمودید.


Anglophile, you are polite and very well educated.

by Albaloo on

Anglophile, you are polite and very well educated. We need more people like you on this site. 


سرکار خانم میر فندرسکی و جناب دمو


البته جنابان مختارید که هرگونه که مایل هستید هر لغتی را معنا بفرمأیید ولی محض اطلاع از معتبر‌ترین منبع واژگان فارسی‌ برایتان نمونه می‌‌آورم:

توفیق || لیاقت و شایستگی و قدرت و توانائی . قدرت دادن کسی را به کاری . (یادداشت بخط مرحوم دهخدا): 

گوی توفیق و سعادت در میان افکنده اند

کس به میدان رو نمی آرد سواران را چه شد؟


کرم . [ ک َ رَ ] (ع مص ) کرامة. کرمة. (اقرب الموارد) (ناظم الاطباء). مکرماً. (ناظم الاطباء). نفیس گردیدن و باعزت شدن . (از اقرب الموارد) (ناظم الاطباء).باثروت شدن . (ناظم الاطباء). || اعطاء بسهولت . ضد لؤم . (از اقرب الموارد). اعطاء بسهولت . (تعریفات ). سهل نمودن بر نفس انفاق مال بسیار در اموری که نفع آن عام باشد و قدرتش بزرگ بر وجهی که مصلحت اقتضا کند. (از نفائس الفنون ). جوانمرد گردیدن . (ناظم الاطباء). || بسیارباران گردیدن ابر. (از ناظم الاطباء) (از اقرب الموارد). || و کرم کرماً؛ ای ادام اﷲ لک کرما؛ یعنی پایدار کناد خداوند بزرگی ترا. (ناظم الاطباء). || کرمت ارضه ؛ نیرو داده شد آن زمین و نیکو رویانید. || کارمته مکارمة فکرمته (از باب نصر)؛ یعنی غالب آمدن او را در کرم . (ناظم الاطباء) (از اقرب الموارد).

کرامت . [ ک َ م َ ] (ع مص )کرامة. بزرگی ورزیدن . (فرهنگ فارسی معین ) : و مثال داد مبنی بر ابواب تهنیت و کرامت . (کلیله ودمنه ). جوانمرد گردیدن . (فرهنگ فارسی معین ). || (اِمص ) سخاوت و جوانمردی و نواخت و احسان و بزرگواری و بخشندگی و داد و دهش و بزرگوار داشتن کسی .(ناظم الاطباء) : گفتند چند مهم دیگر است که ناگفته مانده است و چند کرامت که نیافته است . (تاریخ بیهقی ). و انوشروان او را کرامتها فرمود بیش از حد. (فارسنامه ٔ ابن البلخی ص 89). و با این همه کرامت که با بنده کرده است و این نعمت داده .... هیچ سپاس ومنت بر بنده ننهد، بر دل خویش نهد. (نوروزنامه ). بفرمود تا آن سرهنگ را خلاص دادند و خلعت داد و بنواخت و بجای او کرامتها کرد. (نوروزنامه ). پس من خود سازم ایشان را از کرامت و نواخت . (کشف الاسرار ج 2 ص 530).و کدام خدمت در موازنه ٔ آن کرامت آید که در غیبت بنده اهل بیت را ارزانی فرموده است . (کلیله و دمنه ).

Anahid Hojjati

thanks. for the blog

by Anahid Hojjati on

if you have not watched that episode of friends with ralph lauren, you should watch it, it is very funny.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

گوی توقیف و ملامت در میان انداختند ...

Shazde Asdola Mirza

... بعد تو می‌پرسی‌ سواران را چه شد؟

دارن تو اوین آب خنک میخورن دیگه!

khaleh mosheh

Heavenly Poem indeed

by khaleh mosheh on

Here is a recitation from Shamlou that you may enjoy...








بدون تیتر


من نمیدانم آیا این را که میخواهم بگم به بلاگ شما مربوط میشود یا نه؟ انشالله که دارد و من شرمنده نمیشوم!!
من شخصأ از لباسها پولو خوش میاید! حراج که میشود یک تکه ای میخریم!!
اگر فردا شخصی یا شرکتی  عکس مینیاتور یک چوگان باز، که در نقوش کتاب حافظ هم بطور سنتی دیده میشود ،را به عنوان لوگو شرکت تولید لباس چوگو استفاده کند ؛ احتمالأ با استخدام یک وکیل خوب و بدور از سیاست میتواند دادگاه را از پولو ببرد!!

I wear an Omega watch



by Demo on

you Afsaneh for your fine blogs. Karamat's root word is not 'Karim' but rather it is 'Karam.' The closest English translation of Karam is once again 'Honour.' Look @ Verse 70, Ch. 17 of Quran, for instance, to see the difference between the two. Tofigh's root word is 'Movafagh' which has nothing to do with neither 'grace' nor 'cooperation.' In any event your take of the poem is more than welcome & is being greatly appreciated. Keep up with your good works & thanks again.      

Hafez for Beginners

Merci ...

by Hafez for Beginners on

Something seems to have gone wrong, as your comments aren't coming through. I do look forward to your comment, though.

Yolanda: Polo indeed was the Iranian national sport of Kings. I believe it was also an entertaining way to keep the troops fit and trained.

Fanoos: Thank you for the interesting culinary tid-bits regarding Mr. Lauren - I enjoyed reading about them,  and I'm glad you liked the Blog...

Demo: 1. Karamat and being Karim are mostly translated in English as being "generous/benevolent." Tofigh has many translations, including, "grace." Instead of "benevolence and grace", I added "cooperation" as a nod to the entire poem which is about "Yari" - ie. Cooperation. Cooperation that has been lost in society. If you know the poem: "Yari Andar Kass Nemibinim" this is the poem where this quote of the polo players (savaran) who aren't coming out to play, is from. 

2. Hafez draws images from everyday settings, and the idea that a polo field is ready for the game, the ball is in the field, and it is the players that aren't coming out to play - is indeed beautiful. He is not celebrating the game of polo, but I thought that was obvious.

Faramarz: Kangavar sounds like an interesting place. 

Soosan Khanoum: Glad you enjoyed the Blog!

Albaloo: The post before yours has disappeared and if you Google RL - you'll see he is Jewish and of  Ashkenazi heritage (ie. of Eastern European heritage) and not Iranian or Isfahani which someone had posted, I'm guessing, as a joke - 

Where?: Did the comment go that started the whole Ralph Lauren is from the Isfahani Jewish community go? ISFAHAN did, as a matter of fact, start life as "Yahoodieh"  - but no connection to Mr. Lauren.



by yolanda on

Here is what Wikipedia says about Polo:

Polo (Persian: chowgan) is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Sometimes called "The Sport of Kings", it was started by Persians, and was popular in Iran until 1979, after which its popularity there declined sharply due to the Iranian Revolution.


IRI made ballet, women's swimming and platform diving extinct!

Under the IRI, Polo is not a popular sport at the birthplace of Polo anymore!



Ralph Lipschitz (Lauren) was born in Bronx, New York!

by fanoos on

No one knows if he has ever visited Isfahan or not but one of my girlfriends who used to work at his Madison Ave. store in New York told me stories about RL's love and appetite for Persian food. According to Yasamin, every once in a while, he would ask for Persian food from a local Chello Kabobi and his favorite dish is soltani with extra piyaz and doogh!

I enjoyed the blog immensely, thank you!


توفیق و کرامت


The first word means progress/success and the second one means  be honourable & honour others void of any self indulgence. The translations of benevolence and cooperation for those 2 words are simply wrong.

PS: The last thing Hafez had in mind was relating the Polo game with such heavenly poem!


Hafez for Beginners


by Hafez for Beginners on

Ralph Lauren was not born in Isfahan. Someone posted that as a joke - I personally didn't get it. But live and let live.

I invite comments that are relevant to the beauty of Hafez, the majestic city of Isfahan, the game of Polo or the notion of lack of "cooperation"  - and how whether through greed or other human flaws, circumstances can cause cooperation to collapse in any society. 

I do recommend that  if you want to joke about who is or isn't Jewish - to kindly do it on some other Blog. This was not the subject of the Blog.