Rudaki – (Indeed) The Father of Persian Verse

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Here is a collection of some of Rudaki/Rudagi’s poetry. I came across his poetry while endlessly browsing the Internet for heartfelt poetry, similar to Rumi’s. While Rumi talks about divine love, Rudaki talks about human love, which is similar to Hafez’s poetry more than Rumi’s.

Prey For This World

Dear boy, we are nothing but prey for this world.
We are merely finches; death is a hunting bird.
Sooner or later, every rose will die.
Death will crush us under a grinding stone.

This Transient Life

The great men of this world have all died.
They have all bowed their heads to death.
Even those who built palaces
Now lie covered with earth.
From the thousands and thousands of comforts
Were they left with anything but a shroud?
From their blessings they enjoyed what they wore,
What they ate and what they gave away.

The Pen

It’s a cripple who walks, has no ears but talks.
It’s an eloquent mute, sees the world without eyes.
It is sharp as a sword. It moves like a snake.
It has a lover’s body and a darkened face.

Crying For The Beloved

I have the right to moan for my love’s absence,
As the nightingale moans for the red rose, at dawn.
If fate does not deliver you to me,
I will burn fate with the flames in my heart.
When you brighten your face, a thousand
Butterflies will burn around you, as I do.
I will not fit under the tombstone, if
For one moment you sit grieving by my grave.
The world is as it has always been,
And will be the same for ever, my dear.
With one turn it will make a king,
With a throne, a crown, and earrings.
O world, you make them rot under ground,
And the ground piles more torment on them.
Now, bring some of that life-giving wine,
And crush the past under a grinding stone.

Tortured By The Beloved

If I’m not unlucky, how I get involved
With this quick-to-anger woman of easy virtue?
She likes it if I’m thrown to the lions.
I can’t stand it if a fly sits on her.
She tortures me. But my love for her
And loyalty to her never leave my heart.

The Cruel Beloved

My eyes are a sea. The fire in my heart roars.
How can the pupil survive between sea and fire?
She has a crocodile’s bite. She tears at the heart.
She is cruel. I will suffer if I give my heart.

Submission To The Beloved

I want to stroke your amber-scented hair,
Paint with kisses the jasmine petals of your face.
If only you’d place one foot upon this ground,
I’d make a thousand prostrations to its dust.
I’ll kiss the seal on your letter a thousand times
If I see the mark of your signet ring upon it.
Tell them to cut off my hand with an Indian blade,
If one day I try to raise a hand to you.
I was silent when I should have recited poems.
But my tongue now turns with compliments for you.

Rubaiyat VI

When you find me dead, my lips apart,
A shell empty of life, worn out by want,
Sit by my bedside and say, with charm:
“It is I who killed you, I regret it now.”

Rubaiyat IX

We’ve spread our rug in sorrow’s house,
Shed tears. Ours is a heart on fire.
We’ve endured the world’s tyrannies,
We, playthings of evil days.

Rubaiyat X

As with Rudaki, love has made me tired of life.
Tears of blood have turned my lashes to coral.
I fear the pain of separation. I burn
With jealousy, like those who live in hell.

“She said to me: This is God’s paradise, not a garden.
I said: This is a garden, blissful on God’s paradise
but one that is unseen, this one is seen,
that is credit, this is cash,
that is hidden, this revealed,
that earned by prayer, this by eulogy,
that is God’s grace, this the king’s bounty.”

“Kisses are like salt water,
The more you drink, the more you thirst.”

“Though my heart bleeds with pain of parting
pain I endure for you is more joy than pain
each night I ponder, and I say ‘O God,
if such is parting from her, how will union be?’

Works Cited

Lewis, Bernard. Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew Poems. Princeton, NJ: Princeton U, 2002. Print.

Tabatabai, Sassan. Father of Persian Verse : Rudaki and His Poetry. Amsterdam University Press, 2010. EBSCOhost,