LibriVox volunteers bring you 13 recordings of An Ode by Táhirih (Fátimih Baraghání) (1814/1817 – 1852), and translated by Edward Granville Browne (1862 – 1926). This was the Weekly Poetry project for February 7th – February 14th, 2010. http://www.archive.org/download/an_ode_0102_librivox/ode_baraghani_rn_64kb.mp3″Running time=2m 22s (mp3@64kb)
The thralls of yearning love constrain in the bonds of pain and calamity
These broken-hearted lovers of thine to yield their lives in their zeal for thee
Though with sword in hand my Darling stand with intent to slay, though I sinless be,
If it pleases him, this tyrant’s whim, I am well content with his tyranny.
As in sleep I lay at the break of day that cruel charmer came to me,
And in the grace of his form and face the dawn of the morn I seemed to see.
The musk of Ca-thay might perfume gain from the scent those fragrant tresses rain,
While his eyes demolish a faith in vain attacked by the pagans of Tar-tary.
With you, who contemn both love and wine for the hermit’s cell and the zealot’s shrine,
What can I do, for our Faith divine you hold as a thing of infamy?
The tangled curls of thy darling’s hair, and thy saddle and steed are thy only care;
In thy heart the Absolute hath no share, nor the thought of the poor man’s poverty.
Sikandar’s pomp and display be thine, the Qalandar’s habit and way be mine;
That, if it please thee, I resign, while this, though bad, is enough for me.
Pass from the station of “I” and “We,” and choose for thy home Nonentity,
For when thou hast done the like of this, thou shalt reach the supreme Felicity.
This week’s poem can be found here.
Additional summary by Nicholas James Bridgewater
(who is a member of LibriVox and was this week’s Book Coordinator)
Fátimih Baraghání (1814/1817 – 1852), also known by the titles of Táhirih (Arabic for “The Pure One”) and Qurratu’l-‘Ayn (Arabic for “Consolation of the Eyes”) was an influential Iranian poet and Bábí heroine from the town of Qazvín. Her legacy is important to Bahá’ís, as well as supporters of women’s rights in Iran. In 1844, she became the seventeenth disciple or “Letter of the Living” of the Báb (1819-1850). As the only woman in this initial group of disciples, she is often compared to Mary Magdalene. From June-July 1848, she attended the Conference of Badasht where she appeared without a veil in public (a shocking statement of women’s rights) and declared that a new religious dispensation had been inaugurated. Coincidentally, shortly after this, the Seneca Falls Convention (an important women’s rights convention) was held in New York on the 19th-20th of July, 1848. She was executed in Tehran in 1852. Before her death, she said that although she would be killed, they could not stop the emancipation of women. Edward Granville Browne described her thus: “The appearance of such a woman as Qurratu’l-‘Ayn is in any country and any age a rare phenomenon, but in such a country as Persia it is a prodigy—nay, almost a miracle. Alike in virtue of her marvellous beauty, her rare intellectual gifts, her fervid eloquence her fearless devotion, and her glorious martyrdom, she stands forth incomparable and immortal amidst her countrywomen.” This poem is a ghazal composed in the Kámil metre. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. Browne notes that this poem appears to be addressed to the Báb. Browne made a versified translation of the poem, which first appeared in the J.R.A.S. in 1899.