Land of Poets

At first I thought the wavy line around a pottery dish was just a pattern. In fact it was more than that and showed a country with poetry at its very heart. The small pottery bowl was in fact engraved with intricate lines of Farsi poetry and verse. As I held it in my hands the shopkeeper smiled and said: “This bowl has a poem. It says that the shade of this bowl reflects the sky which brings joy.”

Earlier I had visited the Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz. Hafez is one of Iran’s most famous poets who was born in 1326 and was renowned for his words about love but also wrote about religious hypocrisy. He lived in Shiraz and his tomb is visited by thousands each year. The poems of Hafez are in most Iranian homes.

Just outside the scented garden where the tomb lies were fortune tellers. Pay them and a tiny canary will pick a verse from Hafez which has a meaning. What it means is down to your interpretation of course.

But perhaps, when I think of travel and journeys the verse from Hafez that come to mind for me is the following from All the Hemispheres:

Leave the familiar for a while.

Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season

Onto the meadow and shores and hills

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