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Sunday, 18 January 2009 11:23

Roodaki, Father of Persian Poetry (11)

All researchers of Roodaki's poems are of the opinion that his poems are rhetorically and semantically sweet and beautiful.

His poems could be understood at any time and thus one can analyze his intellectual, literary and moral ideas and beliefs. His poems are not ambiguous for the modern reader in spite of the lapse of 1100 years. Edward Browne, famous British orientalist, who authored the History of Persian Literature, compares Roodaki's poems with those of Shakespeare from the viewpoint of clarity and understandability for the contemporary readers. Browne writes; "What can be said with certainty is that Persian literature, especially poetry, vigorously began in the early 10th century particularly at the time of Nasr the 2nd ruler of the Samanid Dynasty of Bukhara in Central Asia. Today that rich treasure trove of literature has remained with remarkably little change so that the works of poets like Roodaki are clear for Persian speakers, like those of Shakespeare for English speakers."
One of the reasons for the freshness of Roodaki's poems, according to researchers, is their being realistic. Paying attention to the palpable and impalpable realities such as death and satisfaction with one's destiny are among the characteristics of Roodaki's realistic views. The effect of his words in creating sorrow or happiness and the dynamism of his imagination are some of the main characteristics of his realistic wording. Researchers believe that Roodaki's innovation in creating novel images is praiseworthy, for neither in poetic genres nor in creating images did he have a model or experiences of other poets.

Researchers of Roodaki's works believe that the astonishing impact of his words on the reader is due to his wisdom and sagacity together with his almost matchless art and realism. For instance, his elegiac poems which were composed on different occasions are somehow peerless from the viewpoint of impact on the listener. As Professor Saeed Nafisi puts it, "a good elegy is the one that affects the listener intensively even though he does not know the deceased and is not familiar with his characteristics."
Roodaki says:

A dearest died and not just did he die;
Not a frivolous matter is such a departure

A gold treasure was he on the earth;
And this world was so petty in his eyes

His corpse he left on a corner;
And took his soul and wisdom to heavens.

Roodaki's realistic outlook makes him more cognizant of the existing realities which have the colour of sadness and happiness or of friendship and enmity. That's why he shows the right and wise way of confronting the realities of life instead of giving intricate philosophical views and impalpable whims and imagination.
Roodaki's poetic images are also indicative of his realistic and dynamic approach. Poetic images are divided in two categories, namely dynamic and stagnant. Roodaki's poems are of the former category. He is among those poets who are in direct touch with nature and its events, and that's why his description of natural events and phenomena survive till now. He says:

Bring the wine which is like running pure sapphire;
Or like the an unsheathed sword before the sun

Roodaki's look at human being, destiny, and the universe are the main characteristics of his realistic world outlook. In his view this world's behavior is like a dream, but a dream in which everything turns out conversely. He says:

This world's nature is quite like a dream;
Only one knows this whose heart is awake

Its goodness is in place of badness;
And its mirth is in sorrow and bleak.

Unamono, Spanish poet and philosopher, writes: "Poets of all eras have felt the life's water-like nature deep in their hearts and they moaned on it. Pindaroos, the greatest lyric poet of Greece, calls life "Dream of a shadow". Calderon, the Spanish poet of ... century believes that "Life is a dream" and William Shakespeare says: "We ourselves are the dough of freedom".
Roodaki believes that the universe is multidimensional. On the one hand he considers the world unstable and wants his audience to consider it transient. He says:

For the guest of this ephemeral world;
It is not wise to cling whole-heartedly to it

You are doomed to lie beneath the soil;
Though now you are sleeping on velvet

No benefit from the kin and kith;
While you are bound to be lonely in grave.

On the other hand Roodaki believes that the very incredible and unreliable world is the best teacher for human being.

He who hasn't learnt from the lapse of time;
Will not learn from any instructor.

In Roodaki's opinion happiness is in fact to be satisfied with the status quo. He believes that although everyone's life is predestined, satisfaction with fate does not mean total submission to it.
He urges the reader of his poems to look at poor and the deprived and the advantages of one's own, so that he becomes more hopeful and optimistic about destiny.
To have an optimistic view towards life and men one should shun greed so that everybody looks generous. Roodaki says:

Till when you will say;
The world people are greedy?

If you shunned your greed;
You would know that everybody is generous.

The belief in enjoying the present has its roots in Roodak's poems. This was the origin of "Carpe Diem" philosophy which became Khayyam's belief later on.


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