Persian Poetry Evening

There’s something very special about hearing poetry, not reading it. Hearing it in the presence of others. When you create the conditions to drink in the words, you’re transported to another world. We listened with our minds and even more, with our hearts. 

On Saturday 18th June, the School of Philosophy and Economic Science hosted a wonderful evening, of poetry, music, food and good company. 

Tickets were sold out early on! People attending gathered in the MacLaren Hall to hear poems from Rumi, Saadi, Hafiz, Shabistari and more. Readings were mostly in English with a few short passages in the original language. 


Cast away your existence entirely

For it is nought but weeds and refuse .

Go, clear out your heart’s chamber,

Arrange it as the abiding-place of the Beloved.

When you go forth, He will come in,

And to you, with self - discarded,

He will unveil His beauty.

Mahmud Shabistari


Persian Musician

Two wonderful musicians, @Ruhiya and Zayn Mohammed interspersed the poems with haunting vocal and instrumental Persian music.  Zayn played the Sehtar and Ney flute.  Ruhiya sang and played a drum.






Hold up a mirror before you

And gaze on that other person

. . . . Again look and consider;

Your proper self is here, not there.

What, then, can be this reflection,

This shadow of your face ?

In the same way as light and dark are not connected,

Being is not joined, to Not-Being.


This being human is a guest house

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness

Some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

Empty of its furniture

Still, treat each guest honourably.

They may be clearing you out

For some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice

Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in

Be grateful for whatever comes.

Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.



Persian Food

At the end of the first half, we were all delighted to go down to the refectory and find a beautiful plate of Persian food waiting.  People were happy to sit down at a table and make some new friends.  The main course was followed by Persian cake and tea – all lit by enchanting lanterns with poems written in. 

The second half was love poetry – by this time we were all completely captured! 

Once again music is rising in the air

and my soul opens its arms inviting my heart to dance.

The whole world is smiling, wrapped in a luminous glow. 

The table is set, the guest has arrived,

the scent of new Spring over the green meadows

is overwhelming and I am drunk with love.

The Beloved is the whole sea,

I , a curl of mist on its surface;

He is a precious treasure,

in His light I am just a dust particle, no one.

But please forgive my boasting

for I can split the moon in two

with the light of my Beloved.

I am wild with love!



Let us fall in love again

and scatter gold dust all over the world.

Let us become new spring

and feel the scent of heaven, drift on the breeze.

Let us dress the earth in green,

and, like the sap of a young tree,

let the grace from within sustain us.

Let us carve gems out of our stony hearts

and let them light our path to Love.

The glance of Love is crystal clear

and we are blessed by its light. – _



Audience comments:

A demonstration of work being love made visible! I am astonished. 🌹 🌹

Wonderful to meet so many amazing and young (or at least young at heart)people. The poetry was exquisite, and beautifully read- in fact I’m getting drunk with ecstasy!!

Congratulations everyone! It was a beautifully organised event and a wonderful programme. Full of love and massively appreciated by all. Xxxx

Well done everyone - such a lovely atmosphere and attention to detail. It was a privilege to help out. ❤️  (helper)


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