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Special Note: Persian Wine Poetry

Persia consisted of lands that are today known as Iran. (We in the West hard-headedly maintained the designation of this area as “Persia” well into the 20th century, long after Iranians referred to their country as “Iran”. )

This area and this culture has a long history of wine poetry, represented here at
vintagewinepoems.com*  by the poets Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) and Hafiz (c. 1320-1389).  Objections to including these poets on this website might come from the Muslim world, where the orthodoxy take issue with any support of alcohol.  Critics point to a long history of religious writings that metaphorically link wine with mystical union with God, and intoxication with spiritual awakening and fervor (including a rich Sufi tradition within Islam).  However, no matter the translation, this poetic tradition undeniably speaks favorably about the everyday use of wine and denounces those who would seek to deny such pleasures.  I would align these religious critics with those fundamentalists from my own Christian tradition who would claim that Jesus’ wine miracle at Cana or the goblet he held at the Last Supper involved some substance other than an alcoholic beverage.

These Persian poets have been widely translated and promoted in the West for generations.  There have been those who have used these wine poems for political purposes, in a convoluted attempt to brand the Islamic world with the label of hypocrisy.  I view such political maneuvers with the same disdain and skepticism as I hold for those theologies that would have us reverse Jesus' miracle at Cana and turn wine into water.

Regardless of your political motivation, your religious affiliation, or your poetic interpretation, a poem that employs wine as a metaphor, whether that finger points to heaven, hell, or mere earthly delights – by my definition – is a wine poem.
 – S.H. Bass   

Also see the Special Notes: 
Hafiz and Omar Khayyam

Sources:
An Essay On Persian Poetry” by Ralph Waldo Emerson in Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and Salaman and Absal (1909) by Edward FitzGerald.
Persian Poetry for English Readers (1883) by Samuel Robinson


____________________________
* Abu Nuwas (757-815) and Mewlana Jalaludin Rumi (1207-1273) are two Persian poets of note who are not presently represented at vintagewinepoems.comThese two poets have also written “wine poems”, but I have found no suitable public domain English translations, nor gained permission for copyrighted translations, to be posted here.  I am working on it!  – S.H. Bass
The Rhyme Makers
Omar Khayyam 1048 to 1131
Omar Khayyam
1048-1131


Hafiz circa 1320 to 1389.
Hafiz
c.1320-1389




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