It is with pride and pleasure that we share this poem submitted to us by Her Majesty the Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi. Persian people for centuries have been lovers of poetry, and no one knows this better than she.
The poem, a ghazal, is written by Hafez (1315-1390), the celebrated poet born in Shiraz whose work is regarded as the pinnacle of Persian literature. For him, the garden is an allegory for love and the abode of poetry. Set within a beautiful garden, his tomb is one of the most favored and popular sites in Iran and is visited by thousands of people during Nowruz.
The word “Pahlavi” refers to Middle Persian, the language of pre-Islamic Iran, which for the Sufi Hafez implies an ancient tradition. The “spiritual verse” suggests a mystical undertone; therefore, the words could signify at once a prince addressing his devoted followers, a lover courting a beloved, and the reception of spiritual wisdom.
The nightingale calls us to observe the flowering rose, like the flames of the Burning Bush wherein Moses hears the voice of God. Interestingly, Moses is recognized as a prophet by all three Abrahamic religions, and he is mentioned in the Qur’an more times than any other individual. We especially value the poem’s “message of oneness,” which reflects the universal aspect of Persian gardens as a paradise for all people, a quality that resonates in our cherished Walled Garden at Untermyer Gardens.
We wish to thank the Shahbanou for this beautiful and thoughtful gift of poetry.
Conservancy President Stephen F. Byrns with the Shahbanoo at Untermyer Gardens in 2017