MOSHIRI, FEREYDUN

 

MOSHIRI, FEREYDUN (Fereydun Moshiri, b. Tehran, 30 Šahrivar 1305 Š./10 October 1926; d. Tehran, 3 Ābān 1379 Š./ 23 November 2000), prominent 20th-century poet. (FIGURE 1)

LIFE

Fereydun Moshiri was born to Ebrāhim Moshiri and his wife, Ḵoršid. His lineage on the paternal side extends to Dāvud-Qoli, among the commanders in Nader Shah Afshar’s army, and on the maternal side to the descendants of Ẓahir-al-Dowleh Kermāni. His maternal grandfather, Mirza Javād Khan Ṣadiq Moʾtamen-al-Mamālek, was a poet, and as a child Moshiri was often exposed to his mother reciting her father’s verses. Moshiri studied at Adab elementary school until the second grade, at which point the family relocated to Mashad. He continued his primary school education there at Hemmat School, and he was subsequently enrolled at Shah Reza secondary school. The Moshiri family did not remain long in Mashad, and Fereydun returned with his family to Tehran after completing his first year of secondary school. He first attended Dār-al-fonun and later continued his education at Adib High School (Moshiri, 1998, pp. 9- 11; Šākeri-Yektā, pp. 23-55; Moḥammadi-e Āmoli, p. 20).

Moshiri began to compose verse at an early age. His first poem was published in Irān-e mā (Tehran, 1943-60), a periodical that published such noted poets as Moḥammad Ḥosayn Šahryār and Nimā Yušij (Moshiri, 1999, pp. 456-58; Ṣāḥeb-Eḵtiyāri and Bāqerzāda, eds., pp. 9-10).

In 1945 Moshiri began to work for the Ministry of Post and Telegraph. He continued to pursue his education while employed, enrolling in the ministry’s technical school (Moshiri, 1998, p. 11, 18; idem, 2008, p. 1670). Moshiri received his diploma in 1965 and enrolled at the then Faculty of Literature of Tehran University, but he never completed the course of study, switching to journalism instead (Moshiri, 2008, p. 1671; Ṣāḥeb-Eḵtiyāri and Bāqerzāda, eds., p. 9; Moḥammadi-e Āmoli, p. 25-26). Finally, he abandoned this field as well.

Notable among the magazines that Moshiri worked with were Sepid o siāh, a literary and cultural magazine established by ʿAli Behzādi (1925-2010), and Soḵan, the monthly journal of Iranian studies founded in 1943 by Parviz Natel Khanlari (Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari 1914-1990). His most important contributions were as editor-in-chief, from 1953 until 1972, to the cultural pages of Rošanfekr, a weekly journal founded by Raḥmat Moṣṭafavi in 1953. During this period he was responsible for introducing many promising young poets to the public; the most notable among them were Forugh Farokhzad and Manučehr Ātaši, both of whom subsequently achieved significant fame (Moshiri, 1999, pp. 465-66; Ātaši, pp. 49-52). In 1954, he married Eqbāl-al-Zamān Aḵavān-e Zanjāni; they had two children, Bahār and Bābak (Moshiri, 1998, p. 21; Šākeri-Yektā, p. 80).

In 1955 his first collection of poetry, Tešna-ye tufān (Longing for storm), was published. By way of an introduction he employs a letter from Moḥammad Ḥosayn Šahriār, an article from ʿAli Dašti, and his own recollections. Tešna-ye tufān consists of more than seventy poems, of which one-third are composed in the classical formats, such as quatrains (do-bayti) and rhymed couplets (maṯnavi). The rest are composed in neo-traditional forms, often in a basic pattern of čahārpāra (foursome), which follows an abcb rhyme pattern and indicates, to a certain degree, the poet’s inclination toward modern poetry. This collection was reprinted two years later as Nāyāfta (Unfound), with additional poems (Moshiri, 2008, p. 21).

His second collection, entitled Gonāh-e daryā (The sin of the sea) was published in 1956. Roughly one half of the poems are in the classical formats (see ʿAruż), and once again čahārpāra features prominently. However, there is a poem, “Barā-ye āḵarin ranj,” which is based on a Nimaic meter. The publication of Gonāh-e daryā elicited a critical response from ʿAbd-al-Moḥammad Āyati, the writer and translator (Āyati, pp. 3-10), who identified some flaws in Moshiri's work and ridiculed him with confrontational language. Nader Naderpour, the famous poet, rose to Moshiri’s  defense and answered Āyati’s criticisms (Naderpour, 1956, pp. 23-34). Others subsequently stated their opposition to Naderpour in the press (Šams-e Langarudi, p. 434), The debate between the two camps created quite a maelstrom around Gonāh-e daryā in the media.

Abr (Cloud), Moshiri’s third collection, was published in 1961 and earned the praise of Naderpour for the simplicity of its language and imagery (Naderpour, 1961, pp. 497-500). It was republished in 1967 with additional material as Abr o kuča (Cloud and alley, Moshiri, 2008, p. 1671). Abr o kuča comprises more than fifty poems including his most famous work, “Kuča” (Alley). Although roughly one-third of the poems are in čahārpāra, the collection marks Moshiri’s increasing engagement with Nimaic poetry.

In 1962 Moshiri was appointed a member of Radio Iran’s Council of Writers, and in 1971 he joined the production unit of  Radio Iran’s Musical Council (Moshiri, 2008, pp. 1671-72). In 1978 Moshiri retired from the Ministry of Post, Telegraph, and Telephone (Moshiri, 2008, p. 1672; Ṣāḥeb-Eḵtiyāri and   Bāqerzāda, eds., p. 10). In 1997 Moshiri traveled abroad and participated in nights of poetry reading in four cities in Germany, including Frankfurt and Berlin, and a number of American cities, including Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, and Miami. The events drew the warm applause of the audience (Ṣārem-Aṣlāni, p. 64; Moʿini, pp. 58-62). In 2005, five years after his death on 23 November 2000, a selection of his unpublished works appeared in two volumes, Az dariča-ye māh (From the moon’s window) and Navāʾi hamāhang-e bārān (A song tuned to rain). Both collections, like almost all collections he published during his lifetime, include poems in Nimaic verse, as well as in classical and new traditionalist verse.

Moshiri’s poetry is an invitation to kindness and love, and he is considered among the most widely read Iranian poets of his generation (Taqizāda, p. 253). His poems or fragments thereof have often been set to music (Moshiri, 2005, pp. 68-69; Faḵreddini, pp. 303-4; Bižani, p. 327). At times Moshiri himself set his poems to music (Taʿrif, pp. 317-20).

WORK

Moshiri’s early poems are usually romantic in imagery and tone. The majority of verses in Tešna-ye tufān are on the agonies of unrequited love or laments on the fickleness of the beloved. His next two collections, Gonāh-e daryā and Abr o kuča, which includes one of his most celebrated poems, also deal largely with affairs of the heart.

Bi to, mahtāb šabi, bāz az ān kuča goḏaštam,
hama tan češm šodam, ḵira be donbāl-e to gaštam …
Yādam āmad ke šabi bā ham az ān kuča goḏaštim
(“Kuča,” in Abr o kuča, 2008, pp. 402-3)

Without you in a moonlit night
again, I walked down that alley
I was all eyes, gazing in search of you …
I remembered that night when we walked together that alley
(“Alley,” in Lucky Those Half-Opened Buds, 2007, pp. 46-53)

While with the passage of time Moshiri no longer composed as much amorous verse, erotic love remains, nonetheless, an area of interest, and romantic poetry continues, to the very end, to appear in all of his collections―a characteristic for which Moshiri’s poems are often criticized (Barāheni, p. 1130; Behfar, pp. 138-42).

References to natural elements and forces―birds and flowers, sea and sky, wind and rain, the sun and the moon―abound in Moshiri’s poems (e.g., “Toluʿ,” in Morvārid-e mehr, 2008, pp. 761-62; “Rāz,” in Az ḵāmuši, 2008, pp. 612-13; and “Yek laḥẓa ārāmeš …,” in Āvāz-e ān paranda-ye ḡamgin, 2008, pp. 1387-88). Moshiri’s nature poems, although not fully bereft of urban settings and imageries (e.g., “Šahr,” in Tā ṣobḥ-e tābnāk-e Ahurāʾi, 2008, pp. 1559-61) more often depict idyllic settings. He has written extensively in admiration of spring and its manifestations:

Bu-ye bārān, bu-ye sabza, bu-ye ḵāk
šāḵahā-ye šosta, bārān ḵorda, pāk
Āsemān-e ābi o abr-e sepid,
Barghā-ye sabz-e bid,

ʿAṭr-e narges, raqṣ-e bād,
Naḡma-ye šowq-e parastuhā-ye šād,
Ḵalvat-e garm-e kabutarhā-ye mast…
Narm narmak miresad inak bahār,
ḵoš be hāl-e ruzegār!
(“Ḵoš be ḥāl-e ḡončahā-ye nima bāz,” in Abr o kuča, 2008, pp. 307-8)

The scent of rain, the scent of greens, the scent of soil,
washed boughs, rained on, clean
Blue sky and white cloud,
the green leaves of willow

The perfume of narcissus, dance of the wind,
the passion song of joyful swallows,
the intimate sanctum of intoxicated birds…
Warm seclusion of drunken sparrows,
Gently arrives the spring,
Lucky world!
(“Lucky Those Half-Opened Buds,” in Lucky Those Half-Opened Buds, 2007, pp. 16-20).

Praise of Iran and the expression of love for homeland is another topic encountered in some of his poems (“Iran o javānān,” in Tā ṣobḥ-e tābnāk-e Ahurāʾi, 2008, pp. 1568-70; “Simorq,” in Āvāz-e ān paranda-ye ḡamgin, 2008, pp. 1308-9). He dedicated “Hamiš bā tow…,” one of his most celebrated Nimaic poems, to ‘Irānam, Irān-e jāvdānam’ (To my Iran, my eternal Iran):

Maʿnā-ye zenda budan-e man, bā tow budan ast …
ān laḥẓa-i ke bi tow sar āyad marā, mabād!
Mafhum-e marg-e man
dar rāh-e sarfarāzi-e tow, dar kenār-e tow
mafhum-e zendegistat.
Maʿnā-ye ʿešq niz
dar sarnevešt-e man
bā tow, hamiša ba tow, barā-ye tow, zistan.
(“Hamiša bā tow …,” in Āh, bārān, 2008, pp. 831-32)

The meaning of my life, is to be with you …
that moment which without you passes, let there not be.
The significance of my death,
in honoring you, beside you,
is the significance of life.

The meaning of love too,
in my destiny,
with you, always with you, for you, to live.
(“Forever with you” in Lucky Those Half-Opened Buds, 2007, pp. 136-39)

Although classical schemes have never been absent from Moshiri’s poetry corpus, the majority of his popular or most celebrated poems are composed in Nimaic meters. Examples include “Jām agar beškast …?” and “Kuča” (Abr o kuča, 2008, pp. 386-88; 402-05), and “Jādu-ye bi aṯar” (Bahār rā bāvar kon, 2008, pp. 550-51). Moshiri never tried his hand in free verse, or at least he never published any.

While many of Moshiri’s poems chronicle life’s travails, the dignity he gives to the pains of existence and his accepting outlook on life have a notable presence in his work. In this manner Moshiri affirms life and advocates optimism, without denying the difficulties of existence.

Although long poems, occasionally longer than demanded by the poem’s content, are not few in Moshiri’s collections, many of his poems, often written in short or relatively short classical schemes such as robāʿi or ḡazal, benefit from brevity. Moshiri’s language is relatively straightforward, both in the expressions employed and in his turn of phrase. His poems are generally devoid of obscure or obtuse references and do not convey other meanings than that which first meets the eye (Šafiʿi-Kadkani, 2011, p. 536).

The clarity of Moshiri’s syntax and the grammatically correct phrases and sentences he employs (Šafiʿi-Kadkani, 1968, p. 211), the beautiful and easily accessible imageries of his poems (Behbahāni, p. 141), and the sustained balance between the old and new poetry by which his work is recognized, have earned him the praise of scholars of Persian literature (see Zarrinkub, p.7-9; Riāḥi, p. 397-405; Yusofi, pp. 122-26; Ḵorramšāhi, pp. 189-200). On the other hand, his detractors among literary critics, especially those not inclined toward classical poetry, are not few. Some criticize the emotional overtone of his work as skin-deep and lacking in intellect (ʿĀbedi, p. 155), and others find fault with the didactic overtone of his poems, the position he takes between the traditionalists and the modernists, and his reluctance to experiment with new forms (Amini, p. 156). The relative absence of politically charged imagery in Moshiri’s poems has led some to criticize him for lacking social sensitivity and perspective. Perhaps the most vehement of the attacks on Moshiri is that written by Reżā Barāheni (Barāheni, pp. 1129-34). It should be noted, however, that Moshiri’s last two collections Az dariča-ye māh (2005), and Navāʾi hamāhang-e bārān (2005), published after his death, do include many poems charged with social motifs and ideas. In some of these poems, he even places a finger on specific socio-political problems and joins the ranks of many dissidents in expressing a deep concern over the suppression of ideas and the nation's political inequities.

Moshiri’s literary career, unlike those of many of his contemporaries, did not change shape and content in parallel with the dominant social and political ideas and trends, and instead it followed a smooth path marked by his concern over the dehumanizing materialism of modern time, the ravages of war, and the increased aggression and hatred in the world (“Aški dar goḏargāh-e tāriḵ” and “Kuč,” in Bahār rā bāvar kon; “Ranj,” in Az ḵāmuši; and “Bā zabān-e ašk inak,” in Az diār-e āšti). His call to stay true to humanistic and moral values, gives him a signature voice in modern Persian poetry (Ḵošnām, pp. 329-30). A bilingual collection of Moshiri’s selected poems, entitled Ḵoš be ḥāl-e ḡončahā-ye nima bāz /Lucky Those Half-Opened Buds, 2007, translated by Sara Khalili, was published in 2007 in Tehran.

POETRY COLLECTIONS  

Abr (Cloud), Tehran, 1961.

Abr o kuča (Cloud and alley), Tehran, 1967.

Āh, bārān (Ah, rain), Tehran, 1988 (FIGURE 2).

Āvāz-e ān paranda-ye ḡamgin (The song of that sad bird), Tehran, 1997 (FIGURE 3).

Az dariča-ye māh (From the moon’s window), Tehran, 2005.

Az diār-e āšti (From the land of friendship), Tehran, 1992.

Az ḵāmuši (Of silence), Tehran, 1977.

Bā panj soḵan-sarā (With five poets), Tehran, 1993.

Bahār rā bāvar kon (Let’s believe in the Spring), Tehran, 1968.

Gonāh-e daryā (The sin of the sea), Tehran, 1956.

Laḥẓahā o eḥsās (Moments and sentiments), Tehran, 1997.

Morvārid-e mehr (The pearl of love), Tehran 1986.

Navāʾi hamāhang-e bārān (A song tuned to rain), Tehran, 2005.

Nayāfta (Unfound), Tehran, 1957.

Tā ṣobḥ-e tābnāk-e Ahurāʾi (Till the bright Ahuraic morning), Tehran, 2000 (FIGURE 4).

Tešna-ye tufān, Tehran, 1955.

In addition to his poetry, his oeuvre includes two books entitled Yeksu negaristan o yeksān negaristan: Šarḥ-e aḥvāl o ḥekāyāt-e Abu Saʿid Abi’l-ayr (1966) (on the subject, see Abu Saʿid Abi’l-Ḵayr) and Šekoftanhā o rostanhā: montaḵab-e šeʿr-e moʿāṣer-e Iran (1999), as well as a handful of articles, largely devoted to poetry and poets.

 

Bibliography:

Kāmyār ʿĀbedi, “Zemzemahā-i mobham, yā hemhemahā-i delkaš,” in Ṣāḥeb-Eḵtiyāri and Bāqerzāda, eds., 2005, pp. 152-59.

Maftun Amini, “Maṭālebi parākanda darbāra-ye Fereydun Moširi,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 155-57.

Manučehr Ātaši, “Be češm-e sabz-e Fereydun ke jahān rā sabz mibinad o sabz miḵˇāhad,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 49-52.

ʿAbd-al-Moḥammad Āyati, “Gonāh-e šāʾer,” Enteqād-e ketāb 1/9, Mehr 1335 Š./October 1956, pp. 3-10.

Reżā Barāheni, “Fereydun Moširi: šāʿeri kolli-bāf, tanbal o eḥsāsāti,” in Ṭalā dar mess: dar šeʿr o šāʿeri II, Tehran, 1992, pp. 1129-34.

Simin Behbahāni, “Āyā ejāza dāram?” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 135-46.

Mehri Behfar, “Romāntism-sāntimāntālism dar šeʿr-e Moširi,” in Ṣāḥeb-Eḵtiyāri and Bāqerzāda, eds., 2005, pp. 138-43.

Bižan Bižani, “Āvā-ye mehrbāni,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, p. 327.

ʿAli Dehbāši, ed., Be narmi-e bārān: jašn-nāma-ye Fereydun Moširi,  Tehran, 1999.

Farhād Faḵreddini, “Yār-e mehrbān,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 303-5.

Sara Khalili, Lucky Those Half-Opened Buds, Tehran, 2007.

Bahāʾ-al-Din Ḵorramšāhi, “Az ḵāmuši tā rowšanā-ye Ahurāʾi,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 189-200.

Maḥmud Ḵošnām, “Šāʿer-e anduh o ḵašm o omid!” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 329-33.

Moḥammad Reżā Moḥammadi-e Āmoli, Tarāna-e ābi-e zendegi: Barresi-e zendegi-e ejtemāʿi o adabi-e Fereydun Moširi, Tehran, 2003.

Fereydun Moširi, Bāztāb-e nafas-e ṣobḥdamān: Kolliyāt-e ašʿār-e Fereydun-e Moširi II, 6th ed., Tehran, 2008.

Idem, “Šeʿr yeki az zibātarin čizhā-ye ʿālam ast,” in Ṣāḥeb-Eḵtiyāri and Bāqerzāda, eds., 2005, pp. 64-74.

Idem, Goḏari o naẓari bar aḥvāl-e Fereydun Moširi, Majmuʿa-ye soḵansarāyān-e Iran I, Tehran, 1998.

Idem, “Goft-o-gu bā Fereydun Moširi,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 455-98.

Reżā Moʿini, “Safar-e Fereydun Moširi be Āmrikā,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 57-62.

Nāder Nāderpur, “Gonāh-e fahm-e šomā,” Enteqād-e ketāb 1/9, Mehr 1335 Š./October 1956, pp. 23-34.

Idem, “Rašḥa-i az abr,” Rāhnemā-ye ketāb 4/5-6, Mordād-Šahrivar 1340 Š./August-September 1961, pp. 497-500.

Moḥammad Amin Riāḥi, “Fereydun o šeʿr-e u,” in Pāydāri-e ḥamāsi, Tehran, 2000, pp. 397-405.

Moḥammad-ʿAli Šākeri-Yektā, Āsmāni-tar az nām-e ḵoršid: zendegi o šeʿr-e Fereydun Moširi, čehrahā-ye šeʿr-e moʿāṣer-e Iran 20 I, Tehran, 2005.

Moḥammad Reżā Šafiʿi-Kadkani, “Bahār rā bāvar kon,” Soḵan 18/1, Ḵordād 1347 Š./June 1968, pp. 208-11.

Idem, Bā čerāḡ o āiʾna: dar jost-o-ju-ye rišahā-ye taḥavvol-e šeʿr-e emruz-e Iran, Tehran, 2011.

Behruz Ṣāḥeb-Eḵtiyāri and Ḥamid-Reżā Bāqerzāda, Fereydun Moširi: šāʿer-e kuča-ye ḵāṭerahā, eds., 3rd ed., Tehran, 2005.

Moḥammad Šams-e Langarudi, “Negāhi be se majmuʿa-ye šeʿr az Moširi,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 419-51.

ʿAbbās Ṣārem-Aṣlāni, “Yād-e laḥẓahā,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 63-68.

Ṣadiq Taʿrif, “ Morḡ-e saḥar nāla sar kon,” in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 317-20.

Ṣafdar Taqizāda, “Fereydun Moširi zendegi-e bi ʿešq rā dust nadārad,” in in Dehbāši, ed., 1999, pp. 253-55.

Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Yusofi, “Yād-e mardi bozorg o kam-naẓir,” Češma-ye rowšan: didāri bā šāʿerān, Tehran, 1990, pp. 741-48.

ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Zarrinkub, “Az diār-e āšti,” Kelk 45-46, Āḏar-Dey 1372 Š./November-December 1993, pp. 7-9.

(Saeid Rezvani)

Last Updated: October 3, 2013